College Basketball Odds, Picks and Predictions for Missouri vs. Kentucky (Wednesday, Dec. 29)
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- Kentucky hosts a struggling Missouri team to open up SEC play.
- The Wildcats have a +64 point differential over the last two games and are finding their rhythm.
- College basketball betting analyst Tanner McGrath explains why you shouldn't overthink your bet on this matchup.
Missouri vs. Kentucky Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
SEC play is back Wednesday, with the whole league getting their conference seasons started.
This is one of the lesser-intriguing games. Mizzou has been playing uninspired basketball to start this season, and this could be a “name your number” spot for Kentucky.
The Wildcats are 9-2 and fresh off their biggest win of the season against North Carolina. But is coach John Calipari’s team fully prepared for SEC play?
Mizzou is officially lost.
That is specifically true on the offensive end. Missouri’s 44.6 eFG% is the lowest of any Power-6 team and 315th nationally. Moreover, the Tigers are hitting just 24.3% of their 3-point attempts, which is worse than all but three teams.
Mizzou doesn’t just fail to score, the Tigers often don’t get a shot up. They average over 15 turnovers per game and are an astounding 332nd in non-steal turnover rate.
This team is just throwing the ball away at this point.
I could go on and on about how pathetic the Tigers are, but it’s pointless. Mizzou is scoring less than 68 points per game, which ranks outside the top-275 teams.
The defense hasn’t been much better. Mizzou is allowing a 54.1 eFG%, which is also the worst of any Power-6 team and 316th nationally.
Therefore, the tough losses have come in bunches. A 14-point loss to UMKC was followed up with a 23-point loss to Florida, which was followed up by a 21-point loss to Liberty.
And it doesn’t get easier for the Tigers.
#Mizzou dropped to 151st on KenPom after the loss today. The Tigers’ next 19 games are against top 100 teams, 17 of them against teams in the top 65.
— Power Mizzou (@PowerMizzoucom) December 12, 2021
Mizzou’s 6-6 record includes two quality wins: an overtime victory against SMU and an eight-point win over Utah.
It’s a bit of a mixed bag for this Wildcat team.
There were high hopes for Calipari & Co. entering the season, but Kentucky has just one KenPom top-100 win so far. The Wildcats pair that with losses to Duke and Notre Dame.
However, there’s no doubting the talent on this roster.
It starts with Oscar Tshiebwe, who currently ranks second in KenPom’s Player of the Year rankings.
The season is young, but Tshiebwe is putting together the greatest rebounding campaign of all time. He currently paces all Division I players in both offensive rebounding rate and defensive rebounding rate, pulling down a cool 15.5 per game.
But he’s also the team’s leading scorer (16.1 PPG) and is adding a combined 3.1 steals and blocks per game.
Rupp Arena rebound record ☑️
Nation’s leading rebounder ☑️@Oscartshiebwe34 named @marchmadness National Player of the Week 👏💪 pic.twitter.com/zVzejEpFim
— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) December 27, 2021
The West Virginia transfer is tearing up the SEC and he might be the key for Kentucky come March.
It’s worth watching TyTy Washington Jr., as well. He’s young but he’s playing like a veteran. The freshman is scoring 14 points per game, but is doing so with a 122.6 ORtg and a 56.4% true-shooting mark.
All in all, Kentucky has an elite statistical profile. But the big wins will have to come in conference play, because the ‘Cats resume is particularly average at the moment.
Missouri vs. Kentucky Betting Pick
Mizzou is 1-3 ATS as a road dog this season. Against really good teams — KenPom top-40 in this instance — Mizzou has lost by an average of 28.
Kentucky is far from perfect, but Calipari will beat down on little guys when he wants. The Wildcats beat Ohio by 18, Albany by 25, North Florida by 34 and Western Kentucky by 35.
The Wildcats might be starting to get into a rhythm, too. They have a +64 point differential over the last two games.
In the end, this cap is motivated by two things.
- Calipari’s Wildcats need to beat up on the little guys considering their underwhelming resume.
- Missouri is just that bad.
At anything better than 20 points, I’ll be playing Kentucky.
Pick: Kentucky -19 (Play to -20)
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