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College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions for Tennessee vs. Arizona

College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions for Tennessee vs. Arizona article feature image
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Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Arizona’s Kerr Kriisa.

  • Tennessee going head-to-head against Arizona is certainly the most intriguing game on Saturday's slate.
  • Both teams have played well this season, but it'll take a complete team effort to come away with the win tonight.
  • Doug Ziefel looks at the odds and offers up a betting pick below.

Tennessee vs. Arizona Odds

Saturday, Dec. 17
10:30 p.m. ET
ESPN2
Tennessee Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+3.5
-110
148.5
-110o / -110u
+135
Arizona Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-3.5
-110
148.5
-110o / -110u
-165
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

In a loaded Saturday college basketball slate, there’s no question all eyes will be on this marquee matchup as the No. 6 Tennessee Volunteers take on the No.9 Arizona Wildcats.

Each of these teams has gotten off to torrid starts. However, they each have very contrasting styles. It’s not often you get to see the nation’s best offensive team go up against the best defensive team just 11 games into the season.

Tennesse comes into this matchup red hot, as it’s rebounded from an early loss very well. In addition, the Vols’ eight-game win streak is very impressive, as they’ve already taken down the likes of Kansas, USC and Maryland.

As for the Wildcats, their early resume is nothing to dismiss either, steamrolling quality teams such as Indiana, San Diego State and Cincinnati.

However, this matchup will be the toughest task for each club to date. So, who will rise to the occasion and walk out victorious?

Let’s take a closer look to find the best bet to make.


Tennessee Volunteers

The Volunteers may be one of the better teams in the nation, but it’s not because of their half-court offense. They come into this matchup ranked 282nd in effective field goal percentage and are compounding matters by ranking 249th in turnover percentage.

Much of their offense comes from their defense, as they’re excellent at creating turnovers. Although, they will need more than points in transition to beat a team that will outrun them if it turns into a track meet.

The big issue for Tennesse in this matchup is dealing with the size of Arizona. Tennessee has gotten 57% of its points in two ways: at the line and beyond the arc.

Getting to the line is not out of the question, but the Volunteers should be wary inside, as Azuolas Tubelis and Oumar Ballo will tower over their backcourt. Their one opportunity is to extend them by converting 3s early.

Arizona has allowed its opposition to shoot over 34% from deep, which ranks 209th in the country.

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Arizona Wildcats

Tommy Lloyd has turned his Wildcats into an offensive juggernaut. They enter this matchup as the top team in the country in adjusted efficiency, and they also lead the nation in effective field goal percentage.

Coming into the season, I was wary of an offense that relied heavily on Bennedict Mathurin last season. However, they’ve filled his usage just fine.

What makes this Arizona team so imposing is that it can beat teams from anywhere. Tubelis has entered the National Player of the Year conversation with his dominance around the rim.

Although, he’s not alone down there, as Ballo — a seven-footer — has been excellent on the glass and can put the ball in the bucket too.

Then you look at the backcourt. Courtney Ramey and Kerr Kriisa are a pair of long-range snipers, as both players are shooting at least 40% from 3-point land.

Now, with all that being said, the Volunteers are going to be a test for this high-powered offense. They do everything well and are not the top-ranked defensive team in the nation for nothing — but they are a bit overmatched here.


Tennessee vs. Arizona Betting Pick

Since this game opened, the market has started to move heavily in Arizona’s favor. At the time of writing, the Wildcats have jumped from a 2-point favorite to a 3.5-point favorite.

While I believe they will win this game, it’s hard to discount the Volunteers two possessions. So, the best way to play this matchup is to take the Wildcats on the moneyline and avoid any late-game sweat.

Pick: Arizona ML -170 or Better

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