Kentucky vs Ole Miss Odds, Prediction: 2 Ways to Potentially Play This SEC Affair
Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images. Pictured: Matthew Murrell (Ole Miss)
Kentucky vs. Ole Miss Odds
-110o / -110u
|Ole Miss Odds|
-110o / -110u
In the return to SEC play, Kentucky looks to get back on track with a victory at Ole Miss on Tuesday night.
Both programs lost in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge over the weekend, with the Wildcats falling to No. 8 Kansas to snap their four-game winning streak.
Meanwhile, the Rebels are reeling over the last month, losing nine of their last 10 to sit at 9-12 overall and 1-7 in the SEC.
This should be a perfect spot for the visitors to get back on track against a squad that is struggling with multiple injuries.
The betting market has really started to get behind coach John Calipari’s team in recent weeks. After entering the Tennessee game as a double-digit underdog, the Wildcats closed as a favorite at home against the Jayhawks.
Beyond the impressive win over the Volunteers, Kentucky has been playing its best ball over the last few weeks, picking up dominant wins over Texas A&M, Georgia and Vanderbilt.
One key player during this stretch has been center Oscar Tshiebwe, who leads the team in scoring (16.6 PPG) and rebounds (13.7 RPG). His value truly shows when crashing the offensive glass, where the senior big man averages the most offensive rebounds per game in the country (5.5).
Going up against an Ole Miss squad that is 245th in the nation in defensive rebounding (according to Bart Torvik), this will definitely be a spot where Calipari’s program will attack.
Who is going to be available for the Rebels in this contest? In the blowout loss over the weekend at Oklahoma State, coach Kermit Davis was without Matthew Murrell, Daeshun Ruffin and Malique Ewin.
Ewin has not made much of an impact in his freshman season, but Murrell and Ruffin are arguably Ole Miss’ two best players. Murrell is the only Rebel to average double figures this season, while Ruffin is the second-leading scorer on the team.
Someone who has been stepping up in their absence is Jaemyn Brakefield, who is averaging 11.5 points to go along with 4.9 rebounds per game in SEC play. Brakefield will also be one of the key big men who will be trying to contain Tshiebwe.
At this point in the season, it will take a pretty long run of victories for Ole Miss to have a chance of receiving an invite to any postseason play, but everyone in the SEC likes to give Kentucky their best shot.
Kentucky vs. Ole Miss Betting Pick
The handicap for this game comes down to the status of Murrell and Ruffin.
Here is how I would bet on this matchup based on the different scenarios.
If either Murrell or both suit up, I would play the under on the Rebels’ team total of 65, which has value to 62.5. This is still the same squad that ranks outside the top 220 offensively in EFG% (291st), 2-point% (221st) and 3-point shooting (327th).
In the SEC contests where the duo has played, Ole Miss is averaging just 61.9 points per game, failing to top this total in five of seven games.
For the scenario, if neither is available, I would turn my attention to backing Kentucky on the spread of -5.5, which I would bet to 9.5. This is also how I would play it if Murrell is out by himself.
You just have to look at how the team performed in the last two contests to see how important the two are. The Rebels lost to Missouri by 12 at home without their leading scorer before falling to the Cowboys by 22 points without the duo, allowing both programs to top 80 points.
This could be a letdown spot for the Wildcats after playing Kansas this past weekend, but the fact that they lost makes me think that Calipari will have his team ready to go in this one.
You will need to be following the beat writers and news on Twitter as the lines will move quickly.
Pick: Ole Miss TT U65 (Play to 62.5) | Kentucky -5.5 (Play to -9.5) Based on Player Availability Above
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