Pamela Maldonado gives her best preseason win total for the SEC conference for the 2022 season.
PAM MALDONADO: Well, let's talk about the SEC. I'm Pam Maldonado, and I'm sharing my favorite season win total of the biggest conference in college football. I'm turning to the Kentucky Wildcats, and taking over 7 and 1/2 games at -140 odds. Now, everyone is going to remember the Wildcats last year for having a 10 and 3 season.
That's fantastic, but I'm looking to them and remembering them for a different reason. Excluding Alabama, the Wildcats were only one of three teams to score 13 points on a Georgia defense, and they were only one of two teams who held Georgia to its second lowest point total of the season with just 30. Now, what's good about the Wildcats for the 2022 season is that they are a run-first team. 72nd in passing, 20th in rushing.
Now, why that matters is because their top two running backs aren't making the return, including Chris Rodriguez Jr. who had nearly 1,400 rushing yards and 9 scores the other Russia that's coming back is more importantly quarterback Will Levi. Third in rushing yards on the team, also producing nine rushing scores on the ground.
Now, the one problem that I do have with the Wildcats is that only two starters are returning on the offensive line and they do have a new offensive line coach. They do also lose their top two wide receivers, including one Dale Robertson who accounted for 1900 of their 2900 total receiving yards and 10 of the 24 total receiving scores.
But as I mentioned, they're a run-first team and they're returning back some of the biggest production. Now that's on the offense. Let's look at the defense. Last year, Kentucky was top 20 in total defense, and they do return two of the top three tacklers, but they do lose their number one safety in Yusuf Corker.
On the defense, the problem that I also have with them is they were 112th in takeaways, yet they still managed to win 10 games. The Wildcats were also top 50 in the pass rush, and you know I love me a good pass rush, and they are returning two of the top three pass rushers.
So if I'm thinking that Kentucky is going to have a vulnerable offensive line, then I have to look at the teams that they'll be facing this upcoming season. They do face six teams in the top 40 for rushing defense last year. However, they also have six teams outside of the top 50 for a pass rush. That seems to me like it is a manageable schedule.
So over 7 and 1/2 games is the pick, because they do have road games at Florida and at Ole Miss, who have quarterback changes, but they get home games against Mississippi State who was 130th in the run defense last year. Maybe this year at home, they can actually capitalize. And they do face only Georgia as the toughest opponent on schedule.
So I'm looking to the over 7 and 1/2 games for the Kentucky Wildcats to go back-to-back for double digit wins. Bet $10 and win $200 in free bets by signing up at BetMGM.com/YahooVIP. New customers only, must be 21 or older in terms do apply.