On Tuesday night, the #3 Kentucky Wildcats, who have won six straight games, head to Tennessee to face the 18th-ranked Volunteers in a key SEC clash at Thompson-Boling Arena at 9 p.m. ET. The Wildcats have been on a tear of late, with two of their victories coming against Top-25 opponents, #5 Kansas and #23 Alabama, while Tennessee has won four straight games and is 13-0 at home.
Kentucky Wildcats Betting Preview: Kentucky Eyes SEC Title and Sweep of Tennessee
The Kentucky Wildcats have positioned themselves for a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament with six games remaining in the SEC regular season. The Wildcats have rattled off six straight victories and are 21-4 overall and 11-2 in SEC play this season. A #1 seed is a strong possibility if the Wildcats run the table and make a deep run in the SEC tournament.
The Wildcats beat SEC rival Florida 78-57 at home on Saturday. The Wildcats improved to 15-0 at home this season. Kentucky has outscored opponents by an average of 12.5 points per game during this six-game winning streak. With his nation-leading 18th double-double against Florida, Oscar Tsbiebwe extended his campaign for a probable National Player of the Year honor. Tshiebwe finished with 27 points and 19 rebounds, continuing his dominance over anyone before him.
The last time the Wildcats squared off with Tennessee, Kentucky made quick work of one of the best defensive teams in the nation. Kentucky hit 78.6% from the field in the first half of that 107-79 win, including four of six from beyond the arc. The Cats made 38 of 56 shots (67.9%).
Tennessee Volunteers Betting Preview: Vols Look to Stay Undefeated at Home
Tennessee has been playing exceptionally well recently. The Vols have won seven of their last eight games since losing to Kentucky in late January, including the last four in a row. Tennessee most recently defeated Vanderbilt 73-64 in Knoxville on Saturday. UT was led by Zakai Zeigler (16 points), who was followed by Josiah-Jordan James (14 points, 10 rebounds).
With a 73-64 triumph over Vanderbilt on Saturday, the Volunteers won their seventh straight SEC game despite shooting only 38% from the field; Tennessee outrebounded the Commodores 41-31. Furthermore, they showed off their tremendous defense, limiting Vanderbilt to only 41% shooting from the field. Tennessee had four players in double figures, including 16 points from Zakai Zeigler, who came off the bench. Josiah-Jordan James scored 14 points, John Fulkerson added 12 points, and Santiago Vescovi added ten.
Tennessee is now 13-0 at home this season and will host Kentucky on Saturday. The Volunteers don’t have a lot of sizes, but they make up for it by rebounding as a team, averaging 36 a game, three more than their opponents. The Vols also force more than 17 turnovers per game while committing just over 11. They’ll have to try to make the huge Wildcats make mistakes.
Betting Odds and Lines
MyBookie has the Tennessee Volunteers listed as the -1 point home favorite, while the total number of points is at 139.5 in the latest odds.
Free Betting Pick
Kentucky is a nightmare matchup for the tiny but aggressive Volunteers. The Volunteers shot 53 percent from the field overall and 48 percent from the 3-point line in the first encounter, but still lost by 28 points. The Wildcats shot a whopping 68 percent from the field and 61 percent from behind the three-point line. Kentucky also scored 36 points in the paint, 32 points off turnovers, and 27 points on the break.
Despite the Volunteers being a strong defensive team and undefeated at home, I expect the Wildcats to have a significant rebounding advantage in this game. In the first matchup, Kentucky dominated the Volunteers at their own game, forcing them into 20 turnovers while only committing 11. Tennessee will come out aggressive in this encounter, but they’re just 7-6 ATS at home.