Jump on Missouri -14 at Kentucky

Published on Tuesday, 11/5/13, at 8:37 a.m. Eastern.

By Brian Edwards

As of early Tuesday morning, most betting shops had Missouri favored by 14 for Saturday’s game at Kentucky. I don’t think this way-too-short number is going to be around long, so bettors would be wise to jump on Gary Pinkel’s team right now.

Missouri has won eight games by 15 points or more this season and in its only other game, the Tigers led South Carolina by 17 early in the fourth quarter before Connor Shaw rallied the Gamecocks to a comeback victory.

Mizzou might get senior quarterback James Franklin back this week, but I still like this play if Maty Mauk gets his fourth straight start. Mauk threw three TD passes without an interception and rushed for 114 yards in last week’s 31-3 blowout win over Tennessee.

Franklin was dressed and could’ve played against UT, and media members from both Mizzou and Tennessee reported that Franklin looked sharp in warm-ups. Franklin separated his shoulder in an Oct. 12 win at Georgia and the injury was considered to be 3-5 weeks. He has a 14/3 TD-INT ratio and can beat UK with his legs, too.

Missouri senior CB E.J. Gaines returned to the lineup against UT after missing back-to-back games with an injury. Gaines had an interception to bring his season total to four, which is tied for the SEC lead.

Even though he was ‘questionable’ to play, RB Henry Josey ran 16 times for 74 yards vs. the Vols. If Franklin returns in Lexington, Missouri will be in as good a shape health-wise as any team in the country. (Maybe these things do even out after Pinkel’s squad was decimated by injuries in its 2012 SEC debut.)

Kentucky is 0-3 against the spread as a home underdog this year, losing by 14 to Louisville, by 17 to Florida and by 41 to Alabama. The 2-6 Wildcats will be without two of their best WRs, Alex Montgomery and Ryan Timmons, who have combined to make 43 receptions for 432 yards and four touchdowns. Both players went down with injuries last weekend.

Another UK wide receiver Javess Blue is ‘questionable’ after taking a ball to the face in warm-ups last week that blurred his vision and kept him out of a win over Alabama St. Blue has 28 catches for 345 yards and two TDs.

This is total speculation on my part but I could see Franklin practicing today, getting upgraded to ‘probable’ and the line subsequently heading north of 14. But again, I’m all over Mizzou even if Franklin doesn’t go at UK.

Click here to check out my Top 25 Power Rankings going into Week 11.

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