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No. 12 Kentucky Aims to Continue Dominance Over Georgia

Kentucky vs Georgia Betting Odds

The Georgia Bulldogs are hoping a sold-out Stegeman Coliseum can lead them to a victory over the No. 12 Kentucky Wildcats for the first time since 2013. Georgia has been on a win-one, lose-one streak over its last four games, but has won its last three home contests. Meanwhile, Kentucky is riding a two-game winning streak and is a 7-point favorite in tonight’s game with the total opening at 147 points.

Shark Bites
  • Georgia is 6-3 SU and 7-2 ATS in its last nine games.
  • Kentucky is allowing the fewest opponent rebounds per game in the nation this season (28.2).
  • Kentucky is 12-3 SU but 6-9 ATS in its 15 games this season.

Kentucky vs Georgia Game Center

Wildcats continue to climb the rankings

Kentucky began the season atop the AP poll rankings but an opening-game 118-84 beatdown at the hands of Duke caused the Wildcats to plummet down to 10th and an overtime defeat to Seton Hall furthered the free fall down to 19th. The Wildcats have won five of their last six games and have moved back up to 12th in the AP poll. Their lone loss in that span came on the road at Alabama in a narrow 77-75 defeat, and the Wildcats are just 2-3 in games away from home this season.

Kentucky is averaging 80.9 points per game for the No. 25 mark in the nation and gets most of its output from inside the arc, as just 22.8 percent of its points come from three-point range to rank 340th out of 353 teams. The Wildcats have tremendous depth with nine players averaging double-digit minutes per game and seven of those players are racking up five or more points per game.

Additionally, they have four forwards who are in a rotation combining for an average of 32.7 points and 21.6 rebounds per game, led by Reid Travis’ 13.2 points and 6.5 boards per game. With this great ability to clean the glass, they are limiting opponents to just 28.2 rebounds per game, the fewest in the nation. Kentucky also creates 15.1 turnovers per game, the 61st-best average in the country, which isn’t good for the Bulldogs, who cough up the ball an average of 16.1 times per game – only 21 teams in the NCAA are more turnover-prone.

Bulldogs have been good at home this season

Georgia is tipping off against its third ranked opponent in its last four games, looking to end its streak of five straight losses to ranked teams. The Bulldogs are 0-4 SU this year vs teams ranked in the AP Top 25 with an average losing margin of 19.5, but that drops to 8.5 in its two home games vs ranked teams, including a slim 76-74 defeat to then-No. 20 Arizona State in mid-December.

Like Kentucky, Georgia elects to work the ball to its big men for offense as only 26.6 percent of its points come from long range. Most of the scoring is coming from a pair of sophomore forwards in Rayshaun Hammonds (13.9 ppg, 6.7 rpg) and Nicolas Claxton (12.6 ppg, 9.5 rpg). The strong play by their forwards has helped the Bulldogs secure 41.6 boards per game to rate ninth in the nation, setting up an excellent battle vs the Wildcats, who are holding opponents to a nation-low 28.2 rebounds per game.

Keeping points off the board is a bit of a struggle for Georgia as it ranks 190th for points allowed per game at 73.2, but it is restricting foes to just 39.4 percent shooting from the floor, which is the 20th-lowest percentage in the nation. The Bulldogs allow their foes to take 66.9 shots per game, the third-highest average in college basketball and a figure that’s inflated due to the number of turnovers they commit.

Should you be on the OVER?

Two teams that have a similar style of play collide with the majority of tonight’s points likely getting scored inside the arc and Bovada has the total opening at 147 points. Georgia has been a reliable UNDER play recently, with five of its last seven games going UNDER, but the average combined score was 150.57 over that span. Meanwhile, Kentucky has gone OVER 147 points in five of its last seven games. Both teams turn the ball over a lot and I think that’ll provide plenty of uptempo, fast-break points that will carry tonight’s OVER.

My take on Kentucky vs Georgia

I like Kentucky to cover the 7-point spread. I think this game could be close at the half but Kentucky has more depth with its forwards and eventually it will be the fresher team pulling away. Meanwhile, Georgia ranks 332nd in turnovers per game and Kentucky creates the 61st-most turnovers per game, which is going to give it extra opportunities to pile on the points.

Additionally, the Bulldogs surrender the third-most shot attempts per game, which doesn’t bode well against a team like the Wildcats that scores 80.9 ppg, the 25th-most in the nation. Lastly, one of the areas of success for Georgia is its rebounding, but it’ll have a tough time against Kentucky, which gives up the fewest opponent boards per game. I think that will limit the Bulldogs’ scoring and help the Wildcats cover the spread.

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