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Betting Preview: No. 18 Tennessee vs. Kentucky

Photo by Anne Newman/RTI

No. 18 Tennessee has dominated Kentucky at Neyland Stadium over the last several decades.

The Vols have won their last 17 home games against the Wildcats. They will be looking to extend their winning streak as 6-point favorites on Saturday afternoon.

“We opened Tennessee -6 and the total at 46,” Westgate SuperBook risk manager Edgar Federico said. “The spread is still -6 and the total is still 46.”

Despite the lack of line movement, bettors have been taking the Vols and the ‘over’ throughout the week. Some books bumped the line down to 5.5 on Tuesday, but the SuperBook remained steady at -6.

“As of right now, we don’t want Tennessee and the over,” Federico said.

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There was one large bet on the Vols early in the week. The bettor decided to ‘buy the hook,’ meaning he or she wagered on Tennessee -5.5. The juice was -120 instead of the standard -110 price tag.

“The biggest bet we took was that $3,600 bet (on Tennessee -5.5),” Federico said. “Everything else has been your typical $25 parlay. Tennessee and the over.

“…I think $3,600 is going to be the biggest bet we are going to see on that matchup this week.”

History says Tennessee is the correct side in this matchup. The Vols have covered the spread in 11 of their last 13 games against Kentucky.

The Wildcats are coming off their first cover of the season, easily covering as 2.5-point favorites against Mississippi State last week. They had previously failed to cover in losses to Auburn and Ole Miss.

Tennessee has had an opposite start to the year, covering the number in wins against South Carolina and Missouri before losing in blowout fashion last week. The Vols were 11.5-point underdogs against Georgia and the Bulldogs were too much in the second half.

Their College Football Playoff odds took an expected yet significant hit after dropping to 100/1 prior to last week’s loss.

“On the bright side, if you want to bet them (Tennessee) to win the championship you can get them 1000/1,” Federico said.

Kentucky and Tennessee have both been money makers for bettors over the last two years. The Wildcats are 13-5 ATS in their last 18 games, while the Vols have gone 7-3-1 ATS in their last 11 games.

If bettors are going to cash their ‘over’ tickets in this game, they will need to buck a trend that has seen Tennessee go ‘under’ in six of its last eight contests.

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