NCAA Basketball Picks: Louisville vs. Kentucky Preview

Jeff Grant

Friday, December 27, 2013 8:49 PM GMT

Friday, Dec. 27, 2013 8:49 PM GMT

The Louisville Cardinals will visit intrastate rival Kentucky Saturday, as the two teams battle for bragging rights in the Bluegrass State. Let’s take a closer look at the NCAA basketball odds for this non-conference matchup at Rupp Arena.

Nearly perfect

Louisville has compiled a nearly perfect 11-1 SU record to open up the 2013-14 campaign, with its only loss coming on a neutral floor against the North Carolina Tar Heels on Nov. 24.

The Cardinals lead the nation with a +9.4 turnover margin, which has led to an average of 23 points on the offensive end.

The program is 56-27-1 ATS in its last 84 road games versus a team with a winning home record.

Read our sportsbook reviews before placing your bets!

Growing pains

Kentucky entered the season with the least experienced roster in major college basketball, but it has still managed to win nine of its first 13 games, while going 4-5-1 ATS versus lined opposition.

The Wildcats rank first nationally in offensive rebounding percentage—a statistic that’ll likely continue due to their definitive height advantage in this matchup.

Success in December

College basketball handicappers will need to take a long look at the road team in this affair, considering the Cardinals are 24-4 SU in December since the start of the 2010-11 campaign.

Senior guard Russ Smith has been along for the ride over that span, while he’s averaging 16.8 points per game this season. He led the team with 21 points in last year’s 80-77 home win against Kentucky as seven-point home favorites.

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Dominant at home

The Wildcats have put together a dominating 75-2 SU record at home under head coach John Calipari, including wins in their last 16 games in that situation.

Kentucky has a good chance of improving that mark if it stays out of foul trouble—something it was unable to do in a road loss against Tar Heels earlier this month.

Prediction

I’ve established a handicapper line of a Pick ‘Em in this affair, which means that sports bettors should support the underdog right before tipoff as their NCAA basketball picks.

Recommendation: Back the Underdog

[gameodds]14/253182/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

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