The University of Kentucky football program is enjoying its longest period of sustained success in more than 60 years.
Coach Mark Stoops’ team finished 7-6 last season, and while the season was generally considered a disappointment, the Wildcats still posted its sixth winning season in the last seven years. The only outlier is a 5-6 campaign during the 2020 season impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. They’ve also appeared in bowl games in each of the last seven seasons, representing nearly one-third of the 22 bowl games in the program’s 108-year history.
The only period in UK history that can top the current stretch of success is from 1946 to 1956, in which the Wildcats posted winning records in each of the 11 seasons. Paul “Bear” Bryant coached the first eight of those seasons and led Kentucky to its only appearances in the Cotton, Orange and Sugar Bowls during his tenure.
Many new faces will line up on both sides of the ball this fall for Kentucky. Still, the hope is that with Liam Coen returning from the Los Angeles Rams to serve as the team’s offensive coordinator and highly coveted transfer Devin Leary set to start the season at quarterback the Cats can stay on their winning ways in 2023.
One thing’s for sure, though. The schedule UK faces will be brutally tough. With Kentucky sports betting coming, you'll want to know what to expect for the Wildcats heading into the new season.
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Toughest Stretch of UK’s Schedule Is…
BetKentucky.com created a point system to determine the toughest 3-game stretch of the Wildcats’ 2023 schedule for the upcoming college football season. We awarded 4 points to each opponent that won at least 7 games last season, 3 points to each opponent that won at least 6 games, 3 points for an away game, and 2 points for a conference opponent.
By BetKentucky’s point standards, the final three games of the SEC regular season will be the toughest for UK primarily due to the fact the Mississippi State and South Carolina games are on the road. The game with the Crimson Tide may have the fewest points, but considering Nick Saban’s team is a perpetual national title contender, it will be anything but a breather in Lexington.
However, the fact is that starting in Week 5, when Kentucky hosts Florida, the Wildcats will likely face one of the most demanding schedules in college football. After hosting the Gators on Sept. 30, UK then goes on the road a week later to visit two-time defending national champion Georgia. On Oct. 28, Kentucky then hosts a Tennessee team coming off its first 11-win season since 2021.
And what awaits Kentucky after the SEC regular season ends? A trip to archrival Louisville, where new coach Jeff Brohm will have the Cardinals ready to claim their first win in the series since 2017.
What Oddsmakers Say About UK
Since becoming UK’s coach a decade ago, Stoops has definitely improved the program and helped recruit top-level talent to compete consistently in the SEC. That may very well be the case this year, but oddsmakers at BetMGM have questions about how successful the Wildcats will be in 2023.
According to BetMGM, Kentucky’s odds of +12500, meaning a $100 wager will net a return of $12,5000, are the third highest odds to win the SEC among its 14 teams. UK’s national title odds are only a little longer, +15000. Expect Kentucky BetMGM sportsbook to carry all the odds as soon as they are up and running.
Oddsmakers set the season wins total at 6.5, with the over currently available at -140, meaning a wager of $140 net a profit of $100. Odds on the under are +115.
Kentucky is set to open the season at home against Ball State on Sept. 2. It’s possible Kentucky sportsbook apps may be able to start taking wagers in the Bluegrass State during the college football season. Lawmakers passed House Bill 551 in late March, and Gov. Andy Beshear has said he wants to see sports betting available in some form by the start of the NFL season.
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