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A Clash of Titans Sees No. 1 Tennessee Visiting No. 5 Kentucky

Tennessee vs Kentucky Betting Odds

The No. 5 Kentucky Wildcats wrap up their two-game homestand by welcoming the No. 1 Tennessee Volunteers to Rupp Arena. Kentucky is looking to get back in the win column after having its 10-game winning streak snapped on Tuesday, while Tennessee is aiming to pick up its 20th win in a row. The Vols have won two of the last three games with the Wildcats but are a 3.5-point underdog in tonight’s game with the total opening at 145 points.

Shark Bites
  • Kentucky is 10-1 SU and 8-3 ATS in its last 11 games.
  • Tennessee is 19-0 SU and 11-7-1 ATS in its last 19 games.
  • The total has gone UNDER in eight of Kentucky’s last 10 games.

Tennessee vs Kentucky Game Center

Vols face their first ranked opponent since early December

You have to go all the way back to Nov. 23 to find the last time Tennessee faltered when it was defeated 87-81 in overtime by then-No. 2 Kansas in the NIT Season Tip-Off. Since then, the Volunteers have rattled off 19 straight victories, including a 76-73 triumph over then-No. 1 Gonzaga in the Air Force Reserve Classic in early December.

Lighting up the scoreboard hasn’t been an issue for Tennessee as it pours in the fift-most points per game this season at 85.4 which actually climbs to 87.7 on the road. It is an extremely strong shooting team, hitting 51.2 percent of its shots ranking second in college basketball, getting the bulk of its scoring from inside the arc where it shoots 57.7 percent ranking fifth.

Meanwhile, on the defensive side of the ball, they have been just OK, giving up 68.7 points per game ranking 93rd, but that jumps to 76.9 ppg on the road. The Vols do a great job defending around the rim, limiting its foes to a 43.8 shooting percentage from two-point range which is the 10th-best percentage, but it allows its opponents to shoot 34.1 percent from downtown ranking 158th and that climbs to 38 percent away from home.

Wildcats look for quick Rebound after a loss on Tuesday

Tonight’s game was really shaping up to be a war before Kentucky had its 10-game winning streak snapped by No. 19 LSU on Tuesday as the Wildcats fell 73-71. However, this game still has a lot on the line as Kentucky looks to remain near the top of the AP poll and knocking off Tennessee would go a long way in doing that.

The Wildcats have been quite good offensively this year, averaging 78.4 points per game ranking 44th and that increases slightly to 79.6 ppg at home. Don’t expect many splashes from downtown from the Wildcats as they take the 19th-fewest three-point attempts per game, which drops to the 11th-fewest at Rupp Arena. That being said it does well in those shots, hitting 35.3 percent of their attempts ranking 124th in the nation. Inside the arc, though, they have the 92nd-best shooting percentage at 52.7 percent.

The defense has been quite stingy at home for Kentucky as it surrenders just 61.5 points per game which are the 29th-fewest in the nation and overall it ranks 35th with 65.5 ppg. It does a tremendous job defending inside the arc, restricting its opponents to a 44 shooting percentage which is the 12th-lowest and that drops to 42.4 at home. However, it is vulnerable to the three-ball as its foes are shooting 35.4 percent from downtown ranking 230th.

Is an UNDER in store for tonight’s game?

Kentucky’s defense has been really good this season, but can it slow down Tennessee’s strong offense? Bovada has tonight’s total opening at 145 points. The Wildcats have gone UNDER in eight of their last 10 games with only one game going OVER 145 points.

On the other hand, the Vols have gone OVER in seven of their last 11 games with only three games going UNDER 145 points. This game really could go either way, but ultimately, I think it will go OVER I think Tennessee is going to push the pace and Kentucky will be right there and they will go OVER 145 points.

My take on Tennessee vs Kentucky

I like Tennessee to cover the 3.5-point spread. I think it’s simply too many points for this type of matchup. Both teams are very evenly matched, getting the bulk of their scoring from inside the arc, and Tennessee shoots 57.7 percent from two-point range while Kentucky hits just 52.7 percent from that area of the floor.

Meanwhile, defensively, the Vols restrict their foes to a 43.8 shooting percentage from two-point range and the Wildcats, 44 percent. Tennessee is also better at shooting and defending the three ball, however, Kentucky is a better rebounding team. Again very close match, I just think 3.5-points are too much.