Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks vs Kentucky Wildcats Prediction, Odds and Preview - 09/04/2021

by Amedeus Mastrangelo

Game Time: 12:00 pm ET, Saturday, September 4, 2021
Venue:  Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington, KY
Where to Watch:  SEC Network


Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings:  Spread: Warhawks +31, Wildcats -31; Over/Under:  55 points
Bet365:  Spread: Warhawks +31, Wildcats -31; Over/Under:  54.5 points
BetMGM:  Spread: Warhawks +31, Wildcats -31; Over/Under:  54.5 points

Season Record

Louisiana-Monroe:  0-0 (Sun Belt Group B)
Kentucky Wildcats:  0-0 (SEC East)
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Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks vs Kentucky Wildcats Preview and Analysis

Recent Form
Louisiana-Monroe:  11 game losing streak
Kentucky Wildcats:  2 game win streak


Warhawks vs Wildcats Prediction

The Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks will be taking on the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday for their first college football game of the schedule. UL Monroe finished in last place of Group A in the Sun Belt last season with a winless record of 0-10, going 0-7 in conference play. They will be on the road for this one where they went 0-5 last season. The Kentucky Wildcats finished in 4th place of the SEC East last season with an overall record of 5-6, going 4-6 in conference play. They will be at home at Kroger Field for this one where they went 3-2 last season. 

The Warhawks are carrying over an 11 game losing streak stretching back two seasons. They finished their last 2 games with losses by more than 30 points each. Their last 6 games in a row have all been losses by double digits. Their offense was atrocious last season as they struggled to move the ball in all departments. They were averaging a 58.2% completion percentage, 229 passing yards, and 1.4 touchdowns per game through the air. They were also averaging 76.7 rushing yards per game and 0.8 touchdowns per game on the ground. Their defense was also awful all season. They were allowing teams a 58.1% completion percentage, 215.3 passing yards, and 2 touchdowns against per game through the air. They also allowed 249 rushing yards and 2.9 touchdowns per game on the ground. Terry Bowden is the new head coach for UL Monroe and he will be starting his first year here after 2 years of not being a head coach. The last team he coached was Akron back in 2018 finishing with a 4-8 record that season after going a 7-7 .500 the year before that. The Akron 2018 passing offense actually averaged less yardage than the Warhawks did last season but their run game was a bit better than UL Monroe. He will definitely have a lot of work to do with this team but there is nowhere to go but up after a winless 10 game season the previous year.

The Wildcats are carrying over a 2 game win streak from last year. They finished their season off strong with a 23-21 win over NC State in the Gator Bowl and a 41-18 win over South Carolina in the previous game. Their offense was not good at all in the passing game but their run game was good enough to get by. They averaged a 59.7% completion percentage, 121.5 passing yards, and 0.6 touchdowns per game through the air. They also averaged 196.8 rushing yards and 1.7 touchdowns per game on the ground. Their defense was alright last season. They allowed teams a 66% completion percentage, 224.6 passing yards, and 1.6 touchdowns against through the air. They also allowed 156.1 rushing yards and 1.6 touchdowns per game on the ground. Mark Stoops is returning for his 9th season coaching this Wildcats team. His last 3 seasons there have been nothing but downhill. After a 10-3 2018 season, he led them to an 8-5 season the next year, and then a 5-6 losing season last year. Last season was their first losing season after 4 straight winning years.He will have to make some changes to shake up this stale program and get them moving in the right direction again.

Both of these teams have some work to do this season. UK come in as a 31 point favorite but have been trending in the wrong direction over the last 3 years. After a winless season for ULM, they have nowhere to go but up and will be hungry to snap that streak with a win this season. The Wildcats did not have a good season last year with their offense as they did not average a lot of yards per game. This spread may be a little steep for them to cover as they might not even be able to score that many points and even if they do their defense will have to hold their opponent to 0 points. ULM should get some points here so there is definitely value on them to cover this large spread.

Warhawks Wildcats Prediction:  Our NCAAF Pick for Saturday, September 4, 2021 (12:00 pm ET start time) is Wildcats 31 Warhawks 10.
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NCAAF Betting Trends

Louisiana-Monroe: 2-2 ATS as an underdog of 21.5 to 31 points the last 3 years.
Kentucky Wildcats: 10-3 ATS in home games the last 3 years.

Key Injuries

Louisiana-Monroe:  None.
Kentucky Wildcats:   J. Williams (DB) Questionable for Saturday due to a possible suspension.

Players to Watch

Louisiana-Monroe: Rhett Rodriguez is one player to watch in this game. He is brand new to this team and will be the starter in this game. He fits well into the offensive system as it is more centered around running. His father is also the OC so he knows the quarterback quite well, obviously, and will know what to call to help him excel on this team.
Kentucky Wildcats: Will Levis is one player to watch in this game. He transferred over from PSU for this season and did not get much playing time over there. He played in 8 games last season completing 33/55 passes for 421 yards and 1 touchdown. He will be looking to be the main guy here and will come to prove his worth in this first game of the season.

Notable Quotes

"I really liked what I saw from the defense. We had a lot of guys flying around the football and making plays. They even caused a few turnovers. Of course, on the flip side, we put the ball on the ground too many times on offense.” - Rich Rodriguez on his team’s effort on their preseason scrimmage at practice.
“New offensive coordinator for us, will be our first, obviously first true test, we’ve had some scrimmages but to get out there and play a full game under a new system, it’s exciting for all of us. Of course, defensively expectations are high, we pride ourselves on continuing to play great defense and we challenge our players to do that. Like we always say game one, everybody’s anxious. It’s always a long off-season through the winter through spring. Players busting their tail all summer, so everybody’s excited to get back out there so we really can’t wait to get going.” - Mark Stoops on their new offensive system and preparation for their first game of the season.

Projected Team Lineups

WR Bloomfield, Jahquan 
WR Carter Jr., Perry 
WR Jackson, Malik 
WR Hodoh, Jonathan 
TE Rasmussen, Zach 
QB Rodriguez, Rhett 
RB Roach, Kadyn 
RB Norman, Charlie 
Kentucky Wildcats
WR Ali, Josh 
WR Epps, Isaiah 
WR Robinson, Wan'Dale 
TE Rigg, Justin 
QB Levis, Will 
RB Rodriguez Jr., Chris 
RB Smoke, Kavosiey 
Louisiana-Monroe: Terry Bowden (1st season)
Kentucky Wildcats: Mark Stoops (9th season)

Weather Forecast

72 degrees F cloudy, 73% humidity, 20% chance of rain, up to 10 mph wind speeds S.

Amedeus Mastrangelo

About the Author:

Amedeus Mastrangelo has been heavily wagering on all sports for years and plays just about everything, including sides, totals, favorites, underdogs, against the spread, alternative spreads, first half, second half, player props, and futures. The bottom line is, if Mastrangelo can see an edge in any way shape or form, then he's going to take advantage.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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