It’s rare you will see Kentucky’s football team ranked higher than its men’s basketball team. That’s the case right now, though, as the No. 14 Cats had one of their best-ever seasons on the gridiron. They look to close it out in style against No. 12 and NCAAF Betting favorite Penn State on New Year’s Day in the Citrus Bowl.
How to Bet Kentucky vs Penn State 2019 Citrus Bowl Odds & Game Info
- When: Saturday, 1 PM ET
- Where: Camping World Stadium, Orlando
- TV: ESPN
- Live Stream: WatchESPN
- Radio: TuneIn
- 2019 Citrus Bowl Odds: PSU -6.5 (Total 47.5)
It’s the sixth all-time meeting between the Nittany Lions and Wildcats and the first since Penn State’s 26-14 win in the 1999 Outback Bowl. Penn State leads the all-time series between the teams 3-2. The Nittany Lions are also 3-2 in five previous Citrus Bowl appearances, with the most recent coming in 2010 against LSU. Kentucky will be making its Orlando bowl debut.
- Partly Cloudy: 26°C/79°F
- Humidity: 61%
- Precipitation: 1%
- Cloud Cover: 32%
- Wind: 7 mph SSW
- Stadium Type: Open
Why Bet on Kentucky?
UK had a shot to play in its first SEC title game but lost a winner-take-all game for the SEC East vs. Georgia on Nov. 3. Still, UK’s 9-3 record is the team’s best since 1977. Kentucky has won 10 games just twice in program history.
The Wildcats rank eighth nationally in scoring defense at just 16.3 points allowed per game and allow just 181.3 passing yards per game, good for 17th nationally. Linebacker Josh Allen was the SEC Defensive Player of the Year. He ranks fourth in the FBS with 14 sacks, tied for 10th with 18.5 tackles for loss and tied for first with 5 forced fumbles.
Allen also won several national defensive player of the year awards and was a first-team All-American. Twelve of his 14 sacks have come in the second half of games, including eight in the fourth quarter. In five of UK’s wins this season, Allen had a sack in the fourth quarter that was crucial to the Wildcat victory, including two sack/fumble/UK recoveries on the opponent’s final possession of one-score games. Kentucky’s rugged rush defense allowed 109 yards per game rushing and 3.3 yards per carry over the Wildcats’ first eight games, but 236 yards per game and 6 yards per carry over their final four games.
Running back Benny Snell is turning pro but won’t skip this game. This season, he rushed for 1,305 yards and 14 touchdowns – both totals second in the Southeastern Conference – and has earned All-America honors in the process. He’s already set school records for total touchdowns, points in a season and touchdowns in a season. Snell is also just 107 yards away from becoming UK’s all-time leading rusher.
SEC underdogs have fared very well in bowl games of late; in the past 20 bowl games in which an SEC team has been at least a 6-point ‘dog (dating back to 1999), the SEC team is 16-4 ATS with 11 outright wins.
Why Bet on Penn State?
Penn State is making a bowl appearance for a fifth consecutive season and 49th time overall, ranking the Nittany Lions tied for ninth all-time in bowl appearances. Penn State’s 62.5 winning percentage in bowl games (29-17-2 record) is No. 5 nationally among teams with at least 20 bowl appearances.
PSU might be a bit disappointed having not reached a third straight New Year’s Six bowl, but they’ll still have a chance to win at least 10 games for the third consecutive season. Penn State was expected to contend for the Big Ten title but ultimately fell short after two close late losses to Ohio State and Michigan State and a blowout 35-point loss to Michigan.
The Nittany Lions have thrived this season on the strength of one of the nation’s top defenses. Penn State has held opponents to 20 points per game on the year and ranks second nationally in sacks and fourth nationally in tackles for loss.
PSU is paced by running back Miles Sanders, who ranks 15th nationally and second in the Big Ten with 1,223 rushing yards this season. Penn State has also seen steady production from quarterback Trace McSorley, who has thrown for 2,284 yards and rushed for 723 yards and a team-high 11 touchdowns.
McSorley is poised to become the first Nittany Lion quarterback to attempt a pass in four bowl games. McSorley looks to add to his school career bowl records of 64 completions, 97 passing attempts, 738 passing yards, and eight touchdown passes.
Penn State is tied for ninth in FBS in scoring offense in the second half, averaging 19.0 points. Clemson leads averaging 22.69 points. Penn State is also fourth in FBS in fourth-quarter scoring, averaging 11.75 points. Ohio State leads averaging 13.23 points.
Penn State is 23-22-0 all-time against current SEC schools. The Nittany Lions are 12-7 vs. SEC teams in bowl games, with the most recent meeting resulting in a 24-17 loss to Georgia in the 2016 Gator Bowl.
Kentucky vs Penn State 2019 Citrus Bowl Betting Trends
- Wildcats are 3-12 ATS in their last 15 non-conference games
- Wildcats are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS win
- The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Kentucky’s last 9 games
- Wildcats are 9-3 SU in their last 12 games
- Nittany Lions are 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 non-conference games
- Nittany Lions are 15-5-1 ATS in their last 21 games following a ATS win
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Penn State’s last 5 games
- Nittany Lions are 5-1 SU in their last 6 games
Expert 2019 Citrus Bowl Prediction for Kentucky vs Penn State
PSU wins by a touchdown.