How Kentucky Has Fared Against the Spread in Recent Bowl Games

How Kentucky Has Fared Against the Spread in Recent Bowl Games
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

Bowl games in Lexington have become commonplace under the leadership of longtime coach Mark Stoops, with the Kentucky Wildcats once again making the sport’s postseason.

This year, Stoops’ squad will head to Jacksonville to take on 8-4 Clemson on Dec. 29, marking the program’s first trip to the Gator Bowl since 2020 when the Wildcats beat North Carolina State, 23-21. It’s also the first bowl game for the program since Kentucky sports betting went live in late September.

The Wildcats play a Tigers team that finished the regular season on a four-game winning streak, which is part of the reason why oddsmakers at ESPN BET Kentucky list UK at +175 in the noon Central kickoff. Ahead of this year’s Gator Bowl, BetKentucky.com broke down the numbers on the Wildcats’ last 10 bowl trips to see how UK has fared against the spread.

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Kentucky ATS in Bowl Games

Year Game Result Spread
2023Gator BowlTBA Kentucky +4
2022Music City BowlIowa 21, Kentucky 0 Kentucky +3
2021Citrus BowlKentucky 20, Iowa 17Kentucky -3
2020Gator Bowl Kentucky 23, NC State 21Kentucky -3
2019Belk Bowl Kentucky 37, Virginia Tech 30 Kentucky +1.5
2018Citrus Bowl Kentucky 27, Penn State 24Kentucky +4.5
2017TaxSlayer BowlNorthwestern 24, Kentucky 23Kentucky +8
2010BBVA Compass Bowl Pitt 27, Kentucky 10Kentucky +4.5
2009Music City BowlClemson 21, Kentucky 13Kentucky +6.5
2008Liberty BowlKentucky 25, ECU 19 Kentucky +3
2007Music City BowlKentucky 35, FSU 28 Kentucky -7

Kentucky betting apps list Michigan (+185) as a slight national championship favorite over Alabama (+200). Michigan is a 2-point favorite over the Crimson Tide in the Rose Bowl.

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Kentucky Has Mixed History in Bowl Games

Since 2007, the Wildcats have gone 6-4 in bowl games outright, though UK has struggled to cover the spread with a 4-4-2 record between the 2007 and 2022 editions of the Music City Bowl.

The Wildcats’ biggest upsets during that period were when they beat Penn State as a 4.5-point underdog in the 2018 Citrus Bowl (27-24), followed by UK’s six-point win over East Carolina in the 2008 Liberty Bowl as a three-point underdog.

Conversely, Kentucky has only been listed as the pregame betting favorite three times in its last 10 bowl games, pushing in 2007 as a seven-point favorite over Florida State and failing to clear a three-point spread against North Carolina State in the 2020 Gator Bowl (which Kentucky won 23-21). The Wildcats also pushed as a three-point favorite over Iowa in the 2021 Citrus Bowl, winning 20-17.

The biggest flop Kentucky’s suffered in bowl games since 2007 is when it was shutout by the Hawkeyes, 21-0, in last year’s Music City Bowl as a three-point underdog.

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Author

Christopher Boan is a staff writer for BetKentucky.com. He has covered sports and sports betting for more than seven years and has worked for publications such as ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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