NCAA Basketball Picks: Tennessee vs. Kentucky

Joe Freda

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 12:28 PM GMT

Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013 12:28 PM GMT

Can the Kentucky Wildcats bounce back at basketball betting windows as double-digit ‘chalk,’ or will the Tennessee Volunteers pick up a ‘back door’ cover? Read our free sports picks on tonight's game to find out which squad we are backing.

The Kentucky Wildcats fell to a 5-2 ATS mark in their last seven ‘board’ battles with Saturday’s 83-71 defeat as 15-point home ‘chalk’ against the Texas A&M Aggies. John Calipari’s squad remains at Rupp Arena for Tuesday’s matchup with the Tennessee Volunteers, who have a 3-1 spread record in their last four games away from home.

[gameodds]14/217359/43/us[/gameodds]

Wildcats, Noel shocked by Aggies

Kentucky allowed Texas A&M to hit 52.5 percent of its field buckets in Saturday’s setback, including a 9-for-19 clip outside the arc. Wildcats forward Nerlens Noel logged all seven of his side’s blocks, while finishing with team-highs of 11 boards and six assists.

Noel’s mate Archie Goodwin led the Wildcats’ scoring with 17 points, uniting with guard Ryan Harrow for nine turnovers. Kentucky knocked down 17-of-22 free throws, while outrebounded by the Aggies, 32-27.

The duel’s combined 154 points soared above the ‘total’ of 127, lifting the OVER to 3-1 in the Wildcats’ last four games. Noel added four steals, while sinking 4-of-6 buckets from the floor en route to 15 points. 

Volunteers edged out in Tuscaloosa

Tennessee logged a third straight loss in Saturday’s 68-65 defeat to the Alabama Crimson Tide, while holding on to cash as a 6 ½-point road dog. The Volunteers connected from the field at 47.3 percent, while sizably edging Alabama in boards, 38-22.

Volunteers forward Jordan McRae piled in a team-high 21 points, hitting 8-of-14 floor shots. McRae’s mate Kenny Hall grabbed eight rebounds, while held to four points in 24 minutes of action.

The battle’s combined 133 points jumped above the ‘total’ of 121, moving the OVER to 3-0 in the Volunteers’ last trio of matchups. Tennessee went a costly 8-of-16 at the charity stripe, while recording 16 turnovers compared to Alabama’s seven.

Back Tennessee on the road

NCAA Basketball odds makers first opened Kentucky as a 12-point home favorite, while first setting the ‘total’ at 136. Early wagers on Tennessee and the UNDER dropped the numbers to 11 ½ and 135, respectively.

I am agreeing with the early ‘steam’ here, adding the Volunteers to my College Basketball picks as big dogs. Tennessee has collected at an 8-2 ATS mark in its last 10 spots that followed a defeat, while cashing with a 9-3 spread record in its last dozen affairs against Southeastern Conference foes.

Volunteers junior Trae Golden ranks fourth in the SEC for assists (4.1 APG), while Tennessee’s Jarnell Stokes is sixth in boards (7.7 RPG). Golden and Co. also come in fueled with revenge after dropping both of last season’s battles with the Wildcats, including a 69-44 spanking in Lexington.

Kentucky began the year holding its visitors to low octane at Rupp Arena, but saw itself lit up by the Aggies. The Wildcats’ setback  extended the team’s slide to 0-5 ATS in its last five contests against SEC rivals, and look over valued again in this spot.

Look for the Volunteers to find the rims just enough to collect for sports bettors here,  with three of their last four matchups decided by single digits.

NCAA Basketball Pick:  Tennessee Volunteers +11 ½
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