This Saturday the Tennessee Volunteers (4-5) will host the No. 12 Kentucky Wildcats (7-2). Kickoff for this SEC East showdown is set for 3:30 EST at Neyland Stadium and will be televised on the SEC Network.

Taking a look at the Week 11 CFB odds, the experts opened up this game at Kentucky -3.5. However, early action on the Wildcats has them currently sitting at -6 with with a total of 42.5

Tennessee vs Kentucky Vegas Betting Line & Game Preview

The Wildcats come into this one off a 34-17 setback at home to No. 6 Georgia, failing to cover as a 9.5-point underdog. Kentucky hung around early, but just couldn’t get their offense going until it was too late. By the time the Wildcats trailed 28-3 late in the 3rd quarter before finally reaching the end zone. The loss eliminated Kentucky from a shot at an SEC East title.

The Volunteers finished up the non-conference portion of their schedule with a less than impressive 14-3 win at home over Charlotte. Tennessee didn’t even score enough to cover the spread, as they closed as 21-point favorites. The Volunteers jumped out to  a 14-0 lead in the 1st quarter, but wouldn’t score again and managed just 192 total yards.

Last year Kentucky snapped a 5-game losing streak in the series, as they defeated the Volunteers 29-26, though it was Tennessee who covered as a 3.5-point underdog.

Free NCAA Football Pick Against the Spread: Tennessee +6

My early lean here would be take the points with the Volunteers and for me it’s all about the spot. I just think Kentucky is going to have a really hard time bringing any kind of energy/emotion to this game. Last week was basically a playoff game for this team, as it was winner-take-all for the SEC East crown. 

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It’s easy for the casual fan to just assume that Kentucky is going to come out and play just as hard as they have all season, but chances are that’s not going to happen. It would be one thing if this was a big time opponent, but Tennessee doesn’t exactly get the juices flowing. I also think it makes it that much tougher to bounce back on the road.

On the flip side of this, the Volunteers have plenty to play for. With last week’s win over Charlotte, Tennessee needs needs to win two of their final three games to become bowl eligible. Might not seem like much given the program’s history, but it would be a nice step in the right direction after going 4-8 last year and this being the first season under new head coach Jeremy Pruitt.

I’m not going to sit here and say the Volunteers are a great team, but 4 of their five losses have come against West Virginia, Florida, Georgia and Alabama. They other was a mere 3-point defeat at South Carolina. Their lone SEC win was an impressive one, as they went into Auburn and beat the Tigers 30-24 as a 15.5-point dog. Tennessee needs a big home win and beating a ranked team like Kentucky would be big for this program.

It’s also worth noting that the Wildcats were a team that really thrived in the role of the underdog. Kentucky is just 1-9 ATS in their last 10 games as a favorite. They are also a mere 1-6 ATS in their last 7 off a double-digit home loss and 1-7 ATS in their last 8 vs a team with a losing record.

I believe had Tennessee looked just a little bit better last week against Charlotte, this line would be a lot different. As bad as it looked, they aren’t the first team to come out flat against a lessor opponent the week before hosting one of the bigger rivals. Give me the Volunteers +6.