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College Basketball Odds & Picks for Cincinnati vs. Tennessee: Betting Value on the Volunteers

College Basketball Odds & Picks for Cincinnati vs. Tennessee: Betting Value on the Volunteers article feature image

Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: John Fulkerson

  • Tennessee is a seven-point favorite over Cincinnati on Saturday afternoon.
  • The Bearcats have retained some of their typical qualities but have not defended well inside, which won't bode well against this Vols team brimming with potential.
  • Get our full betting breakdown and best bet on Tennessee vs. Cincinnati below.

Cincinnati vs. Tennessee Odds

Cincinnati Odds +7 [BET NOW]
Tennessee Odds -7 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +255 / -335 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 131 [BET NOW]
Time Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET
TV SEC Alternate
Odds as of Saturday morning and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today.

Last season, Tennessee struggled in physical matchups with defensive-minded clubs. Lucky for them, some of the hallmarks of a typical John Brannen team have yet to show themselves this year.

In only their second game of the season, does this talented Vols side have enough to cover the spread against the Bearcats?

Cincinnati Bearcats

This Cincinnati team is a bit of an enigma. They still do some of the typical “Cincinnati things” like limiting opposing offensive rebounds (13th in the nation) and scoring the basketball inside (25th ranked in terms of 2-point percentage).

Unfortunately, there are other metrics that show this team is really missing the grit from last year’s seniors, the Cumberland cousins and Tre Scott.

We just aren’t used to seeing a Bearcat team that can’t guard inside (234th in terms of 2-point FG% against). That could be problematic against a Tennessee side who shares the basketball and often gets good looks inside the arc.

Not only are they giving up too many easy buckets, but Cincinnati is also allowing opponents a parade to the free throw line (285th in the nation in terms of FTA/FGA). This is not a good combination against a team who can both score and limit opposing offenses.

Keith Williams will continue to try to shoulder the load on offense and 7-foot-1 Chris Vogt will continue to protect the rim. However, considering Cincinnati’s lack of perimeter shooting, Williams’ 44.2% effective field goal percentage and Vogt’s lack of lateral agility, you have to wonder how the Bearcats are going to keep this game close.

Williams needs to get his teammates more involved; in particular, Jeremiah Davenport. The question becomes, will he do so?

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Tennessee Volunteers

During the Bruce Pearl days, the dreaded “soft” label was often applied to these Tennessee Volunteers. While Rick Barnes has molded his team into one that looks to grind out victories,  they are still a squad that struggled last season against the defensive-minded foes on their schedule: Florida State, Texas A&M, South Carolina (1-1), Memphis, Wisconsin, Kansas, and this Cincinnati team.

This is Barnes’ best team to date, but that resume is something that must be discussed. The good news on Saturday is this Cincinnati team is not the team they were last year. Tennessee should be able to create space and find open shots on the offensive end.

These shots are going to come from a variety of players.

This is because Barnes has an interesting challenge to his hands: contributors from last season, John Fulkerson, Yves Pons, Josiah Jordan-James, and Santiago Vescavi are back. They all had offensive ratings of 89.5 and higher (Fulkerson at 117.4) and they are all well-versed in the intricate motion offense.

Meanwhile, with a limited preseason, uber-talented 5-star freshmen wings Keon Johnson and Jaden Springer can’t wait to show the country what they can do.

Much like in their season opener, I expect Barnes to lean on experience in this matchup. The freshmen’s time is fast approaching, though. When they get acclimated, this should be a scary basketball team.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

Even giving the points, this might just be a buy-low on Tennessee (in only their second game of the season), sell-high on Cincinnati (coming off their win over Furman).

I see the price on Tennessee continuing to climb in future weeks. Lay this number while you can.

Pick: Tennessee -7.

[Bet Tennessee now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 bonus, including a $500 risk-free bet]

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