Anyone who follows sportsbook odds (betphoenix reviews) has had this Saturday circled on the calendar for a long time. When it was announced that John Calipari was taking over at Kentucky, the talk instantly turned to the meeting between UK and Tennesssee, coached by Bruce Pearl. These two got a heated rivalry started when Calipari was at Memphis, and now, the stakes may be even higher for these SEC powerhouses.
Tennessee vs Kentucky odds – Saturday, February 13, 9:00 PM ET
The No.12 Volunteers (18-5, 6-3) may have gotten caught looking ahead to Kentucky as they were routed 90-71 at Vanderbilt on Tuesday. Tennessee was down by 17 at the half, and they could never recover as they shot just 40% from the field. The free-throw line and rebounding is what killed the Volunteers, as Tennessee was just 13-of-21 at the charity stripe, while Vanderbilt was 37-of-43. The Commodores also outrebounded Tennessee 40-26, although both teams had 12 offensive boards each. J.P. Prince led the way with 19 points, while Wayne Chism added 16 and seven boards for the Volunteers.
The No.2 Wildcats (23-1, 8-1) have shown why they’re one of the top college basketball betting favorites for the NCAA Tournament with a four-game winning streak since they were upset at South Carolina, and the freshman duo of John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins lifted the Wildcats to a 66-55 win over Alabama. Wall had 22 points and 10 rebounds, although his six turnovers earned some postgame criticism from Calipari, while Cousins added 16 points and 13 rebounds for Kentucky, who outrebounded Tennessee 40-29. The Wildcats still need to shore up their foul-line shooting as they were 19-of-31, and they had 16 turnovers as a team, but they held Alabama to 33.3% from the field.
Kentucky should be favored at home on Saturday, as they’re 16-0 at Rupp Arena this year, and the Volunteers have lost eight of their last nine trips to Lexington. Calipari and Pearl split their four meetings when Calipari was at Memphis, and while that state rivalry is huge, this could be even bigger. Tennessee was the SEC favorites before Calipari arrived in Kentucky, and the two took some shots at each other during media week. However, this game will be decided on the court, and specifically in the post. The Volunteers are going to have their hands full keeping Cousins and Patrick Patterson from running wild. The Wildcats are also going to have to control their turnovers and not waste possessions. Finally, the homecourt advantage will be huge in Kentucky’s favor, and Rupp Arena will be rocking on Saturday night.
Free sports betting pick: Kentucky