The Kentucky Wildcats are set to face the Tennessee Volunteers. Check out our college basketball odds series, which includes our Kentucky Tennessee prediction, odds, and pick.
Kentucky looked like a team in trouble when it lost at Notre Dame in the nonconference portion of its schedule. Yet, so much has changed since that December game. The Fighting Irish are now at the top of the ACC alongside Duke. Kentucky has transformed itself into an elite team. Everything seems possible and attainable for coach John Calipari. Kentucky suffered injuries at several points along the way this season, but with TyTy Washington healthy, it's clear this team can compete for the national championship. Washington was injured in both the LSU and Auburn games, two contests the Wildcats lost precisely because he wasn't on the floor and able to guide a Kentucky offense which depends on big man Oscar Tshiebwe and needs shooter Kellan Grady to be his best self. Washington makes all the pieces fit. Without him, Kentucky struggles to score and find continuity in its halfcourt sets.
Kentucky has won road games at Kansas and Alabama in recent weeks. This team has a lot of momentum and even more self-belief. College basketball odds analysts would tell you that when making a Kentucky Tennessee prediction, you shouldn't overcomplicate your thought process, given how well Kentucky is playing right now.
The other side of the coin when considering a Kentucky Tennessee pick is to think about the power of revenge and the sting of embarrassment. Tennessee was humiliated by Kentucky in January, 107-79. Tennessee's weakness is its offense, and more specifically, its perimeter shooting, but in Rupp Arena a few weeks ago, Kentucky shredded the Vols' normally robust defense. It was as bad as Tennessee has played on defense — and as well as Kentucky has played on offense — all season long. The Vols remember that beatdown, and you know they're going to be supremely fired up at home in Thompson-Boling Arena, ready to make a mid-February statement and improve their NCAA Tournament seeding. Tennessee won its two games last week over Mississippi State and Vanderbilt, but the Vols weren't especially convincing. They know they need to bring their very best to this game against Big Blue.
Courtesy of FanDuel, here are the Kentucky-Tennessee odds:
College Basketball odds: Kentucky-Tennessee Odds
Kentucky: +2 (-110)
Tennessee: -2 (-110)
Over: 140 (-110)
Under: 140 (-110)
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Why Kentucky Could Cover the Spread
The Wildcats are locked in and focused. They can win with dazzling offensive displays but can also win in the mud and thrive when games get ugly and rugged. Their blowout of Tennessee was a pretty and elegant offensive game, but they certainly can win a slugfest. Oscar Tshiebwe has been an absolute beast in the paint and on the glass for this team. No one would be surprised if he had a 20-point, 15-rebound game to lead the Cats over the Vols.
Why Tennessee Could Cover the Spread
The Vols might not win a best-of-seven-game series against Kentucky, but that has never been how college basketball is structured. Tennessee is going to spill the fuel tank and go all-out in this game. The Vols can throw everything they have at Kentucky and win outright, which will very likely mean they will cover the small point spread.
Final Kentucky-Tennessee Prediction & Pick
Tennessee will be supremely motivated, but motivation isn't enough. Oscar Tshiebwe is a national player of the year candidate. TyTy Washington makes this team connected and integrated at both ends of the floor. Kentucky is the better team, playing better ball. That trumps Tennessee's motivation and home-court advantage.
Final Kentucky-Tennessee Pick: Kentucky +2