ACC/SEC Challenge Odds, Picks | Betting Preview for All 14 Games
Photo by David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Sean Pedulla (Virginia Tech)
The ACC/SEC Challenge gets underway on Tuesday, and no, you’re not dreaming. The Big Ten/ACC Challenge is gone, and in steps the SEC.
Media rights deals are changing everything in college sports, and while it's bittersweet to say goodbye to the history of the old event, the ACC and SEC are two loaded college basketball leagues that could lead to an even better product for fans early in the season.
We have 14 games in total for this event, so each conference will race to be the first to win eight and secure the victory in the challenge. Every SEC team will be in action, while every ACC team (minus Louisville) will play as well.
Here's ACC/SEC Challenge odds and picks, including a betting preview for all 14 games.
Note: Betting lines are unavailable at the time of writing, so each game preview will include my pick to win, along with a pick against the current KenPom game score projection.
Mississippi State (6-0) enters this game as one of the more underrated undefeated teams in college basketball.
The Bulldogs get it done defensively, where they rank fourth in the country in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency through six games.
They hold opponents to just 24% shooting from 3-point range, which poses a difficult matchup for a Georgia Tech offense that ranks 269th in 3-point shooting.
Pick to Win: Mississippi State
Pick Against KenPom Projection: Mississippi State -11
Micah Shrewsberry’s first year at Notre Dame is underway, and it's going to take some time for him to get the Irish back on track.
Notre Dame did secure a great win against Oklahoma State a few weeks back, but this team has a low floor, as evidenced by its loss to Western Carolina.
3-point shooting could be the difference here, as South Carolina ranks 21st in the country in 3-point percentage, making 39% of its shots from deep.
Meanwhile, Notre Dame ranks just 233rd in 3-point defense.
Pick to Win: South Carolina
Pick Against KenPom Projection: South Carolina -11
Two teams that went in opposite directions during Feast Week will meet in a critical contest here.
LSU is up to 72nd on KenPom after wins over Wake Forest and North Florida, while Syracuse is down to 129th after losses to Tennessee and Gonzaga.
Giveaways could be a deciding factor in this one, as LSU’s defense is elite at forcing turnovers.
Syracuse has been good at taking care of the ball though, and JJ Starling and Judah Mintz should be up for the challenge against a team similar in caliber.
Pick to Win: Syracuse
Pick Against KenPom Projection: Syracuse +2
This game has an argument for the most exciting matchup heading into this event.
Miami returns many of the key pieces that helped it make a special run to the Final Four last season, and John Calipari has another loaded class of freshmen superstars to work with in Lexington.
Miami finds itself undefeated at 5-0. Meanwhile, while Kentucky has had moments of brilliance, it hasn't beaten a team ranked inside the top 175 on KenPom — other than Saint Joseph’s (117th), which it needed overtime to beat at home.
Pick to Win: Miami
Pick Against KenPom Projection: Miami +6
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Both of these teams have realistic dreams of making the NCAA tournament this season, and both have shown they have a high ceiling and a low floor.
Missouri has two losses under its belt — including one to Jackson State at home — while Pitt enters this game at 5-1, with the lone loss coming to Florida.
Carlton Carrington has been a freshman sensation for Pitt, and he should be the difference in the Panthers emerging victorious.
But it might not be as easy as the computers think.
Pick to Win: Pitt
Pick Against KenPom Projection: Missouri +9
Ole Miss finds itself undefeated, with a 5-0 record to this point in the season.
The Rebels have narrowly avoided disaster though, with one-possession wins at home over Detroit Mercy and Sam Houston.
NC State enters this one in a bounce-back spot after a loss to BYU.
This is a contrast in styles, as NC State plays at the 16th-fastest tempo in the sport and Mississippi ranks 334th in the same category.
Pick to Win: NC State
Pick Against KenPom Projection: NC State -3
Two very good teams will square off in Tuscaloosa, and while the Crimson Tide will be favored, Clemson has a legitimate shot at pulling off the upset.
The Tigers are 5-0, with two top-100 wins over UAB and Boise State.
Alabama owns the top-ranked offense in the country, and it has the same look and feel of the other explosive offenses Nate Oats has built in his tenure.
The Tide lost by 11 to Ohio State on a neutral court during Feast Week, and Clemson’s offense is good enough to keep up in this game, even if Alabama ultimately prevails at home.
Pick to Win: Alabama
Pick Against KenPom Projection: Clemson +10
The gauntlet continues for Tennessee, which returns home from the Maui Invitational only to immediately head to Chapel Hill to face North Carolina.
The Vols lost their last two games in Maui to Purdue and Kansas, which is nothing to be ashamed about. But it's worth noting that Dalton Knecht struggled mightily in the second halves of both of those games.
After the overtime loss to Villanova in Atlantis, the Tar Heels rebounded nicely with a blowout win over Arkansas to finish last week at 2-1.
How much success the UNC offense has against Tennessee's top-ranked defense will be what decides this one.
Pick to Win: Tennessee
Pick Against KenPom Projection: Tennessee +2
Another great matchup awaits here, as Texas A&M’s toughness goes up against the grind that is the Virginia defense.
A&M enters this game with some health concerns, as it trailed Iowa State by as many as 21 points in its last game without two of its three best players. Ultimately the Aggies came back to win, which speaks to their resolve as a team.
Virginia has scored just 97 points in its last 80 minutes of basketball against Wisconsin and West Virginia, so the Cavs will need more to keep up with Wade Taylor IV in this one.
Pick to Win: Texas A&M
Pick Against KenPom Projection: Texas A&M +1
One of the most pleasant turnarounds of the young season has been the new-look Florida Gators under Todd Golden.
The Gators have two top-100 wins already, blowing out Florida State and Pittsburgh. And even their losses have been quality performances, with a three-point defeat to Virginia and a 95-91 loss to Baylor to cap off Feast Week.
Florida ranks 16th in the country in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, and it should have unlimited success against the 144th-ranked defense of Wake Forest.
Pick to Win: Florida
Pick Against KenPom Projection: Florida -4
The wheels are falling off the Muss Bus right now, as Arkansas has now lost three of its last four games, with the only win coming in double overtime over Stanford.
Duke hasn’t been at its best either, needing a second-half comeback to beat Southern Indiana in its last game.
The Blue Devils have more high-end talent and are more balanced.
That means Arkansas will need great performances from its best players to keep up, which will be tough after Tramon Mark was hospitalized after a hard fall during the last game.
Pick to Win: Duke
Pick Against KenPom Projection: Duke -3
Both of these teams have now lost their last two games, and it's been a bunch of uninspiring basketball.
Vanderbilt was run out of the gym by a horrible Arizona State squad, and Boston College blew a seven-point lead with three minutes left to Loyola Chicago.
The Vanderbilt defense is the weakest unit on either side here, as it ranks just 229th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency.
Dynamic Boston College big man Quinten Post should get whatever he wants in this game.
Pick to Win: Boston College
Pick Against KenPom Projection: Boston College +1
The Seminoles will host the Bulldogs fresh off of their most impressive performance in years, an overtime victory over Colorado, which ranks 35th on KenPom.
Georgia’s offense has really struggled to start this season, as the Bulldogs are making just 29% of their shots from 3-point range and are 296th in Effective Field Goal %.
Both teams like to play fast, which should play right into the Seminoles’ hands — since they're home and are the better team.
Pick to Win: Florida State
Pick Against KenPom Projection: Florida State -5
Auburn has been on a roll lately, winning four consecutive games entering this contest. All four wins have come against teams outside the KenPom top 100, and they came by comfortable margins.
Virginia Tech will need to bounce back after its first true stinker of the season, as it was blown out by 34 points by Florida Atlantic.
The Hokies have some great performances against good teams this season though, with wins over Boise State and Iowa State.
They should cover here, even though Auburn should win.
Pick to Win: Auburn
Pick Against KenPom Projection: Virginia Tech +10
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