College Basketball Odds, Pick & Preview for Ole Miss vs. Kentucky (Tuesday, March 1)
Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images. Pictured: John Calipari (Kentucky)
- We know -- barring a miracle -- Kentucky will defeat Ole Miss at home, but will it cover the large number of almost 18 points?
- The Cats have struggled as large favorites this season, especially in mid-week SEC games.
- Keg breaks down the matchup and offers up his best bet.
Ole Miss vs. Kentucky Odds
|Ole Miss Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
After a tough road loss and a wild February overall, Kentucky returns home to take on the Ole Miss Rebels Tuesday night.
Kentucky went 6-2 last month, which is nothing to feel down about, especially with those two losses coming to Arkansas and Tennessee on the road.
The Wildcats have also had to fight through some injuries over the last month, but with everyone now (mostly) healthy, Kentucky will look to finish out the year undefeated at home.
Overall, Kermit Davis and his Rebels have had a tough year, winning just four conference games. Their most recent loss came on Saturday, as the Texas A&M Aggies beat them by 10 and were up by as many as 25 points in Oxford.
Barring an act of god, Kentucky should be able to take care of Ole Miss at home and ink a perfect record at Rupp this year.
The real question is: can it cover the number?
Kentucky boasts a massive lead in the all-time series at 108-14, while John Calipari is 12-2 against the Rebels in his tenure.
The Wildcats are just 9-8 ATS at home this season, while Ole Miss is 5-3 on the road.
Ole Miss has lost six of its last seven games, with the lone win coming on the road at Georgia — one of only two teams worse than the Rebels in conference play.
But that isn't for a lack of effort or talent.
Ole Miss is fourth in SEC play in effective field goal and 3-point percentages. The Rebels rank inside the top-150 in offensive and defensive efficiency, per KenPom.
The Rebels are not a "bad" team; they just play in the SEC against seven teams ranked inside the top-50, per KenPom.
The Rebels' offense has been led by Jarkel Joiner, who averaging 14.1 points per game. He's one of only three players averaging in double digits for Ole Miss, but don't let the Rebels' scoring average of 68.5 points per game fool you. Any of these Rebels are capable of going on a tear.
Sophomore Matthew Murrell put up 20 points against A&M on Saturday, while earlier this season, he went off for 31 against rival Mississippi State. Joiner had a 33-point night against Alabama in a 97-83 loss on Feb. 9.
And as I mentioned, the Rebels are one of the better shooting 3-point teams in the league.
I get cold chills thinking about all the inferior teams that turn in 60% 3-point shooting games at Rupp.
Limiting Joiner and Murrell will be at the forefront of the Wildcats' game plan, and I think they'll be able to do so. Again, I don't think this game is as much about winning or losing as it is about how Kentucky plays, and if it can cover the number against an inferior opponent.
The Cats lost by only two to the Razorbacks, which, in my opinion, is pretty impressive. That is especially true with two players easing their way back from injury against a team that has lost only one game at home all year.
Kentucky had TyTy Washington Jr. and Sahvir Wheeler in the lineup against Arkansas, but both came off the bench and seemed to struggle to find the rhythm they had before missing time.
However, Oscar Tshiebwe had yet another astounding performance, while Keion Brooks Jr. contributed 14 points.
Kentucky will be honoring grad transfers Kellan Grady and Davion Mintz for Senior Night at the game Tuesday night.
With it being its last home game of the season, I expect Kentucky to show out in a big way. However, Kentucky has been less than impressive during mid-week games at home the entire season, failing to cover the spread in its last three.
Ole Miss vs. Kentucky Betting Pick
Kentucky should be at full strength against Ole Miss. TyTy and Sahvir may have come back a little too soon against Arkansas, but I think they are back as full participants here — unless they re-aggravated their injures.
I expect Kentucky to use this opportunity against an inferior — yet still competitive — opponent to prepare for postseason play.
This season, Kentucky has been a favorite of more than 10 points at home against an SEC opponent multiple times. It only covered once in that scenario — when it was a 20.5-point favorite against Missouri.
I believe this team shows out in a big way for its final home game of the season, though.
If this number is too high for you — which is more than fair considering the Cats' track record so far this year, not only as a big favorite, but specifically during these mid-week games — the over is worth a consideration.
This season, Kentucky has surpassed the total 10 times in 18 home games, while Ole Miss has gone over the total six games in a row. I would take the over at anything 144 or better.
Finally, I would regret if I didn't mention this, as I'm upset with myself for not catching on sooner or betting it on Saturday against Arkansas.
Last week, I started looking into player props for the postseason and saw DraftKings had Tshiebwe to score 20 points and record 15 rebounds against LSU at +300. His rebound total was even money at 14.5. Not only were the lines low in my opinion, but they were being offered at a great price.
Tshiebwe averages 16.6 points and 16 rebounds per game at home. Player totals are not out yet, but it's something I'll be monitoring in a game in which I think he, and the whole team, have an above-average offensive performance.