NCAA Picks: Missouri vs. Kentucky

Joe Freda

Saturday, February 23, 2013 3:59 PM UTC

Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013 3:59 PM UTC

Which of these SEC foes are in position to heat up here, covering the betting odds for our college basketball picks on primetime ESPN?

The Kentucky Wildcats have been sliding at college basketball betting windows, with a 1-5 spread record since the start of February. John Calipari’s crew takes its floor for Saturday night’s duel with the Missouri Tigers, who are 0-3 ATS in their last trio of spots as a road dog.

Wildcats, Cauley-Stein edge out Vandy

Kentucky shot 51.8 percent from the field in Wednesday’s 74-70 win over the Vanderbilt Commodores, while falling short of cashing as an 11-point home favorite. Wildcats forward Willie Cauley-Stein notched team-highs of 20 points and seven boards, while adding three blocks.

Kentucky’s Ryan Harrow and Julius Mays united for 21 points and 10 assists, adding one steal each. The Wildcats hit 12-of-21 free throws, while outrebounding Vanderbilt, 34-29.

The battle’s combined 144 points lunged above the ‘total’ of 125, lifting the OVER to 5-3 in Kentucky’s last eight games. Wildcats freshman Archie Goodwin sank 7-of-14 floor shots, while finishing with 16 points and six boards.

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Tigers, Bowers upset Gators

Missouri picked up its third win in four games with Tuesday’s 63-60 victory as a 4 ½-point home dog against the Florida Gators. The Tigers rallied with a 37-31 margin in the second half, while holding Florida to 40.7 percent field shooting.

Tigers forward Laurence Bowers put up 17 points, while grabbing a team-high 10 boards. Missouri’s Phil Pressey logged 10 of his side’s 11 assists en route to seven points and three steals.

The contest’s combined 123 points plunged beneath the ‘total’ of 139 ½, moving the UNDER to 3-0 in the Tigers’ last trio of outings. Bowers connected a go-ahead jumper with 1:19 remaining, while mate Keion Bell added a pair of late free throws.


Back the Tigers on the road opened their NCAA Basketball Odds with Kentucky as a 1 ½-point home favorite, while first listing the ‘total’ at 146 ½. The Wildcats finish their homestand with Wednesday’s matchup against the Mississippi State Bulldogs, while Missouri is idle until Thursday’s road date with the South Carolina Gamecocks.

I am adding the Tigers as short dogs to my card of basketball picks for Saturday. Missouri has put up 71.8 PPG in its last four road spots, while facing a Wildcats squad that has not been the same without forward Nerlens Noel.

Kentucky has given up a sizable 79 PPG in its two matchups with Noel out of the lineup. The pair of losing tickets dropped the Wildcats to a 2-7 ATS mark in their last nine spots against squads with winning records.

Missouri’s Phil Pressey has led the SEC in assists (6.9 APG), while mate Alex Oriakhi ranks in the group’s top five for rebounds (8.6 RPG) and field shooting (58.2 percent). The Tigers also lead the conference in free throws (75.1 percent) and rebounds (42.2 RPG), which could be the biggest factors here down the stretch in a tight battle between these rivals.

Look for Missouri to pick up a hard-fought win here, handing the Wildcats another loss in their 5-16 ATS mark over their last 21 duels with SEC foes.

NCAA Basketball Picks: Take the Missouri Tigers +1 ½ ( for your college basketball picks in this one.

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