Ball State vs Kentucky Prediction - College Football Picks 9/2/23

Kentucky Wildcats (0-0) vs Ball State Cardinals (0-0)

Game Info: Saturday, September 2, 2023 at 12:00 pm (Kroger Field)

Betting Odds: Kentucky Wildcats -26.5 -- Over/Under: 48.5 Click Here for the Latest Odds

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The Ball State Cardinals will play the Kentucky Wildcats in a non-conference game on Saturday afternoon at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky comes into this season after finishing 2022 with a winning record, while Ball State is looking to get back to six wins after missing out on a bowl game last year. 

Ball State Preview

The Ball State Cardinals were 5-7 last season and they went 3-5 in the MAC. Ball State started 2022 with a 59-10 loss at Tennessee and they will look to get off to a better start here. The Cardinals defeated Murray State, NIU, CMU, UConn, and Kent State last season. Ball State was 4-4 after eight games, but they finished going 1-3 down the stretch. Layne Hatcher is expected to be the starting quarterback and he has had success against Arkansas State and Texas State in his career. Carson Steele was the main offensive weapon for Ball State last year, rushing for over 1,500 yards, but transferred out. There is also not much returning production at wide receiver, so the offense is kind of starting over. The Cardinals defense wasn’t terrible last year, but they did allow 78 points in their last three games. Ball State is returning some starters on that unit, so they should be slightly better than they were last season.

Kentucky Preview

The Kentucky Wildcats went 7-6 in 2022 and they were 3-5 SEC play. Kentucky started the season with four straight wins over Miami (OH), Florida, Youngstown State, and NIU, but went 3-5 to end the regular season. Kentucky did play Georgia very tough in the second to last game of the season, losing by only ten points. The Wildcats did play in the Music City Bowl, where they lost by a score of 21-0 to Iowa. Kentucky’s offense was very inconsistent last year and needs to be much better if they want to compete in the SEC. Kentucky will have Devin Leary under center this season after he transferred from NC State. Leary can sling the ball around and should really help this passing attack. The Kentucky offensive line was a disaster in 2022 and I am not sold on them being better this year. The Wildcats lost most of their rushing production from last year, but they did bring in Ray Davis from Vanderbilt, who had a big season. Most of the wide receiver production returns, so Leary should have some weapons to throw to. Kentucky’s defense was very solid last season and was able to make up for some of the wrongdoing by the offense. 

Kentucky Wildcats Team Facts

  • Kentucky has won each of its last 14 September home games against non-AP-ranked teams.
  • Kentucky has covered the spread in nine of its last 11 games against non-conference opponents at Kroger Field.
  • Kentucky has won the first half in nine of its last 11 games against non-conference opponents.
  • Thirteen of Kentucky's last 14 games have gone UNDER the total points line.

Ball State Cardinals Team Facts

  • Ball State has lost each of its last eight September road games against non-AP-ranked teams.
  • Ball State has failed to cover the spread in each of its last six September games as an underdog.
  • Ball State has lost the first half in four of its last five games against non-conference opponents.
  • Each of Ball State's last seven games have gone UNDER the total points line.

Matchup/League Facts

  • Kentucky ranked 14th among FBS teams for Q3 points allowed per game last season (3.6).
  • Kentucky ranked 16th among FBS teams for Q4 points allowed per game last season (4.6).
  • Ball State ranked 9th among FBS teams for Q3 win percentage last season (.667).
  • Ball State was one of only 20 FBS teams to win 3+ games when trailing at HT last season.


Kentucky comes into this matchup as a pretty big favorite against a Ball State team that has a lot of new pieces. The Wildcats have a new running back and quarterback of their own, so it will be interesting to see how quickly everyone gets on the same page. Kentucky is going to have the athletic advantage and I expect their defense to have a big day here. I think the Wildcats will be able to score 35+ points in this one, while Ball State will get a few scoring plays. Take the over here. 

The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a PickDawgz site consensus.

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