Arkansas & Missouri Lay Points In SEC Hoops Tuesday

Missouri Tigers

Jay Pryce

Tuesday, February 20, 2018 2:39 PM UTC

Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018 2:39 PM UTC

Arkansas (-4) is favored over Kentucky for the first time since January 2014, and Missouri (-10) opens as double-digit chalk hosting Ole Miss in SEC hoops action Tuesday. Lay the points in each. Here’s why:

Kentucky at Arkansas (-4)

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Free NCAAB Pick: Arkansas -4Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

Bettors have to go back to the ill-fated 2012-13 Kentucky (18-9 SU, 11-16 ATS) squad, which fell in the first round of the NIT to Robert Morris, to uncover the last time a John Calipari team tipped off underdogs seven times prior to postseason play. That is the total number the young Wildcats have caught points on the NCAAB odds board in this campaign, spotted plus-4 at Arkansas (19-8 SU, 14-13 ATS) Tuesday. Unranked, Kentucky has dropped four of its last five games.

There are a slew of weaknesses with Calipari’s current crew of former high-school All-Americans, namely their inexperience and lack of diversity. Five freshmen start. Nearly all are natural forwards, few possess great ball control, and outside shooting feeble. The Cats, in fact, take the fifth fewest 3-pointers per possession (25.0 percent) in the country.

The Razorbacks, meanwhile, are on fire, wining four in a row and by double digits in each. Experience and defense is the difference. Four first-team seniors are allowing 64.5 points per game on a paltry 34.4 percent shooting during the run.

Offense is the team’s best strength. It posts 77.9 points per game on 47.2 percent from the floor against SEC competition. Guards Jaylen Bradford (18.6 ppg) and Daryl Macon (17.0 ppg), thesquad's two top points-getters, rank among the top five scorers in conference.

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24 hours out. 💪

— Razorback Basketball (@RazorbackMBB) February 20, 2018

This game boils down to Kentucky’s ability to handle the Hogs’ press and trap scheme. Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson rotates nine players regularly, keeping intense pressure on both ends of the court. The young Cats, which rank last in the SEC with a 0.952 assist-to-turnover ratio, have struggled to maintain control and composure versus similar. Since starting conference play, Kentucky is 1-5 SU and ATS against opponents forcing 14 turnovers or more per game, the offense putting up greater than 68 points once. That occurred in the Big12/SEC Challenge in a win over West Virginia (83-76). Arkansas nabs 14.3 takeaways per contest.

Kentucky tends to play better in the open court, which Arkansas invites. Whether it can get through the waves of pressure to take advantage is debatable. Experience and home-court advantage win out here. The home team is 6-2 SU and ATS in the series since Anderson took over coaching duties for the Hogs—Kentucky won both neutral-court encounters. Lay the points with Arkansas.

Ole Miss at Missouri (-9)

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Free NCAAB Pick: Missouri -9Best Line Offered: at Heritage

Ole Miss (11-16 SU, 9-17 ATS) has hit rock bottom, losing seven straight by 15.0 points per game. The program announced last week that the board and longtime head coach Andy Kennedy agreed to part ways at season’s end. The divorce came sooner. Kennedy, often praised for getting the most out of few resources in Oxford, stepped down immediately following a 17-point rout at rival Mississippi State (79-62) on Saturday. Assistant coach Tony Madlock will serve as head coach through the SEC Tournament.

During the horrid seven-game run, the Rebels are averaging just 66.3 points per game on 37.4 percent shooting. They have failed to reach their projected team total in six straight by an 8.0 average. The defense is rolling over as well, allowing 81.3 points per game on 46.9 percent from the floor.

Missouri (18-9 SU, 14-12 ATS) is in a four-way tie for third place in the SEC after a 64-63 loss at LSU Saturday snapped its five-game win streak. The team is a shoe-in for the NCAA Tournament, ranking No. 24 in the latest RPI ratings. Don’t think an easy invitation to the Big Dance will sap motivation. Cuonzo Martin’s men are desperate for a top four conference finish. They’ll receive double byes in the SEC Tournament as a reward.

The Rebels are rudderless and ready to start next year anew. It’s difficult to envision them rallying for a competitive game and taming the Tigers in this spot. Ole Miss is winless in SEC road play, going 0-7 SU and 2-5 ATS. The average scoring margin is -14.0, losing by double digits in five. Its two lone covers occurred in a pair of games in which it bettered the spread by more than 4 points in their prior effort. The failed to match the number by 9.5 points in Starkville. Mizzou wins 77-63 and pushes for those double byes. Lay the points.

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