Tennessee at Kentucky odds, picks and prediction
The No. 23 Tennessee Volunteers (11-4, 2-2 SEC) and No. 17 Kentucky Wildcats (13-3, 3-1) will battle in a Saturday matinee at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky. Tip-off in the SEC rivalry tussle is slated for 1 p.m. ET. Below, we look at the Tennessee vs. Kentucky odds and lines and make our expert college basketball picks, predictions and bets.
Rankings courtesy of the Ferris Mowers Coaches Poll powered by USA TODAY Sports.
Tennessee owns the second-best defense in the SEC (60.7 points per game), but the Volunteers - albeit against a tough slate - haven't kept pace offensively of late. In a stretch that includes road games at No. 25 Alabama and No. 12 LSU, the Vols have gone 2-2 over their last four games. UT has shot just 39.0% from the field (27.8% from distance) over that 2-2 span.
The Wildcats head into Saturday's game with more momentum. Kentucky has won six of its last seven. UK has shot a robust 51.5% from the field and 40.3% from beyond the arc in those seven contests. Overall, the Wildcats are 11-0 at home.
Tennessee at Kentucky odds, spread and lines
- Money line: Tennessee +165 (bet $100 to win $165) | Kentucky -205 (bet $205 to win $100)
- Against the spread (ATS): Tennessee +4.5 (-108) | Kentucky -4.5 (-112)
- Over/Under (O/U): 142.5 (O: -110 | U: -110)
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Tennessee at Kentucky odds, lines, picks and predictions
Kentucky 75, Tennessee 69
Tennessee has the better defense; Kentucky has the better offense. But there are some hidden areas where some betting leverage can be had.
The Vols defense cranks out a lot of steals: look for ball security to be a UT advantage. But in rebounding, distance shooting and getting points at the line, the check marks go in the UK column. There is also the question of how much a plus-turnover ratio will be for the Vols. Some of their past performances lead to the thought they may just feast on weak ball-security teams. And Kentucky ranks top-50 in the nation in turnover avoidance.
The lean is small - and in this case for conservative bettors perhaps worthy of a line watch looking for a tag in the 190s - but there is leverage on a chalky KENTUCKY (-205).
UK is 5-1 ATS in its last six games as a favorite.
With Kentucky being home, the favorite in a game that gets close and determined by tosses from the charity stripe, there is a sliver of room to operate with KENTUCKY -4.5 (-112).
The Over is 5-1 in the Vols' last six games against winning teams. And the Over is 4-1 in UK's last five games as a home favorite.
Figure this game as a slight lean as a betting choice all the way around because there is a light sway toward the OVER 142.5 (-110) here. These teams play toward the faster end of the tempo scale. Usually, pace slows down for teams as they head into league play; that has not been the case for the Volunteers or Wildcats.
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