The Toledo Rockets travel to Lexington in Week 1 for a matchup against the Kentucky Wildcats. Kickoff is set for 12:00 PM EST on Saturday, August 31st at Kroger Field and the game will be televised on the SEC Network.

Taking a look at the Week 1 college football odds, Kentucky opened as an almost two touchdown home favorite earlier this week. That line has come down a little bit over the last couple of days, as the Wildcats are currently listed at -12. The total for the game is sitting at 58.5 points.

Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: Kentucky vs Toledo

Toledo had a fairly successful season in 2018, finishing with a respectable 7-6 record overall and a 5-3 record in MAC conference play which left them in a tie for 2nd place in the MAC West division. They also got an invite to play in the Bahamas Bowl against FIU but fell just short, losing 35-32. The Rockets look to have a lot of depth on offense moving forward, as QB Mitchell Guadagni appears to be back at 100%  health after breaking his collarbone. He will battle it out with Eli Peters, who filled in admirably during his 11 game appearances by chipping in with 1,837 yards passing and 18 touchdowns. Toledo also has a lot of options on the ground, as the dynamic duo of Bryant Koback and Shakif Seymour combined for over 1,450 yards and 19 touchdowns. Overall, the offense averaged a very impressive 40.4 points per game on 444.2 yards of total offense.

Things didn’t go quite as smoothly for the Rockets on the defensive side of the ball in 2018, as they allowed opponents to average a healthy 30.5 points per game on 432.3 yards of total offense. They were especially bad defending against the pass, giving up 257.7 yards per game through the air (102nd overall).

Kentucky had their best overall season in 40 years in 2018, going 10-3 overall and finishing in a tie for 2nd in the SEC East division. The Wildcats then emerged victorious in the Citrus Bowl, beating a tough Penn State squad 27-24 despite giving up 17 unanswered points in the 4th quarter. QB Terry Wilson will be back under center for Kentucky after throwing for 1,889 yards and 11 touchdowns on a 67.2% completion rate. The biggest change on offense for the Wildcats will undoubtedly be at running back, as the departure of Benny Snell Jr. will leave a huge void in the backfield. Asim Rose will likely get the bulk of Snell’s touches moving forward after averaging 6.2 yards per carry last season. As a whole, the offense averaged 26.6 points per game on 361.5 yards of total offense.

The Wildcats were extremely impressive on defense last year, holding opponents to an average of just 16.8 points per game on 332.8 yards of total offense. They did a fantastic job against the pass, as they managed to surrender only 181.3 yards per game through the air (14th overall).

NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: Toledo +12

While I’m most likely going to stay away from this particular game entirely, I think Toledo currently offers the most value considering just how significant the loss of Snell Jr. potentially could be for the Wildcat offense. I’m not going to predict an outright upset by the road underdog, but I do think that they can keep this one close enough to cover a double-digit spread. The Rockets have a balanced offense and plenty of depth at the quarterback position, while the defense will be hard-pressed to perform any worse than they did in 2018.

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While the loss of Snell Jr. will be tough for the offense to deal with, the Kentucky defense that was so strong in 2018 also has several significant holes to fill. Josh Allen, who won National Defensive Play of the Year honors, is off to the NFL after getting drafted by Jacksonville. The defense will also be without six other former starters who had significant roles in both the secondary and the defensive line. Ultimately, I think that this new-look Kentucky team should do enough to come away with a home victory here in Week 1, but it may be a lot closer than people think. Give me the Rockets to cover!