Arkansas vs. Tennessee Odds & Picks: Why to Bet Volunteers (March 5)
Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Josiah-Jordan James
- Tennessee and Arkansas meet in an SEC battle early on Saturday.
- The Razorbacks have been on fire for the latter half of the season, but there may be betting value on the Volunteers today.
- Mike McNamara breaks down the game and shares his top picks below.
Arkansas vs. Tennessee Odds
-114o / -106u
-114o / -106u
We’ve got a showdown in the SEC on Saturday as Tennessee welcomes Arkansas into Knoxville in a game that features two teams currently tied for second place in the league at 13-4.
Additionally, both the Volunteers and the Razorbacks are still alive for a regular season title and the No. 1 overall seed in the SEC Tournament. Whoever wins on Saturday would need South Carolina to upset Auburn for that to happen.
Saturday’s matchup will feature the two hottest teams in the conference going head to head. Arkansas has lost exactly one time since January 8th, and you won’t be able to find another team in America on a more impressive run than the Hogs are right now.
As for Tennessee, the Vols have won eight of their last nine, with the lone loss coming in Fayetteville to the Hogs 58-48. Saturday presents an opportunity for Tennessee to avenge that loss and secure its 14th SEC victory.
Who has the decisive edge in this showdown at noon in Knoxville? Let’s get into it.
An improved offense and an ultra-reliable defense has been the formula for Arkansas during this wild run it has been on. One thing worth pointing out is just how many impressive victories the Hogs have notched are in the process.
The victim list includes Kentucky, Auburn, Tennessee, Florida and a sweep of LSU.
It helps when you have someone you can give the ball to at the end of the game, and trust that he is going to make a play far more often than not. JD Notae has been that guy for the Razorbacks.
The senior guard is averaging just under 19 points a night, dishing out roughly 3.5 assists, and delivering time and time again when Eric Musselman needs him most. Notae’s brilliance was on full display against Kentucky, when the Jacksonville transfer went for 30 points and 8 assists in a massive win over the Wildcats.
In the earlier matchup against Tennessee, Arkansas was able to completely stymie the Volunteers’ offense. Tennessee went 4-of-24 from the three-point line and shot just 27% from the field.
You’d certainly expect the Vols to shoot it a little bit better on Saturday in their home building, but if Arkansas can once again guard the arc and pressure the ball, they could have more success against Tennessee’s attack.
It was expected to be strong season for Tennessee on the defensive end of the floor in 2021-22. That has been the hallmark of Rick Barnes’ teams throughout his time in Knoxville.
But what has allowed this year’s group to ascend into the top 15 in the country and in the discussion for a three-seed in the NCAA Tournament is a vastly improved offense.
The freshman duo of Kennedy Chandler and Zakai Zeigler deserves a lot of credit for the turnaround. Both have done a great job of taking care of the ball and making plays for this offense.
Veteran Santiago Vescovi also deserves plenty of praise. The junior is making just under 40% of his 3-point attempts, and has also become a much for efficient all-around scorer.
The Volunteers are a very strong rebounding team, particularly when it comes to attacking the offensive glass. Generating some second-chance points on Saturday will go a long way in helping the Vols outpace Arkansas.
As mentioned above, in the first matchup between these teams, nothing really came easy for Tennessee. Expect Barnes to have his team playing more aggressively with a focus on getting to the rim. Getting Jaylin Williams in some foul trouble would really help open things up, as Williams does an outstanding job of altering shots on the inside.
Arkansas vs. Tennessee Betting Pick
Tennessee has not lost at home all season, and I just don’t see that changing on Saturday. Thompson-Boling Arena will be absolutely rocking, and I expect the Vols to shoot it far better than they did two Saturdays ago in Fayetteville.
Despite losing that matchup, Tennessee won the rebounding battle and forced double-digit Arkansas turnovers. Both of those are repeatable on Saturday, and the Vols’ togetherness on defense should once again give Arkansas problems in the half court.
Since the calendar turned to 2022, Arkansas has lost exactly one game by more than one point, but despite that, I’m willing to lay the points here and back the Vols at home.
I would also endorse Tennessee as a great ML parlay piece, if you don’t feel comfortable laying the spread, in what could be another tight game.
Barnes has done a heck of a job thus far in his time in Knoxville, and Saturday is an opportunity for his team to make another statement as the plot thickens in March. I think it will do just that.