Tennessee vs. Memphis Odds, Picks: How to Bet Saturday’s In-State Battle

Tennessee vs. Memphis Odds, Picks: How to Bet Saturday’s In-State Battle article feature image
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Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Josiah-Jordan James

  • No. 18 Tennessee squares off against Memphis in Nashville on Saturday.
  • The Tigers are coming off a bounce-back victory against Alabama earlier this week.
  • D.J. James breaks down where the value lies and previews the matchup.

Tennessee vs. Memphis Odds

Saturday, Dec. 18
12 p.m. ET
ESPN2
Tennessee Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-5.5
-110
142.5
-110o / -110u
-235
Memphis Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+5.5
-110
142.5
-110o / -110u
+190
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Memphis and Tennessee has been canceled due to issues related to COVID-19 within the Memphis program.

After a shocking win over Alabama on Tuesday night, the Memphis Tigers head to Nashville for an in-state rivalry game with the Tennessee Volunteers.

Tennessee has important victories over Colorado and North Carolina, but recently played a couple of tune-up games vs. USC Upstate and UNC Greensboro. The Vols are short favorites on a neutral floor but have the best defense in the country — one that can cause mass amounts of chaos for reckless offenses.

This should be the Vols’ key toward a cover on Saturday afternoon.


Tennessee Volunteers

Tennessee forces opponents to utilize much of their shot clock at 17.8 seconds per possession. Even if Memphis is one of the fastest teams in the country, the Tigers will have to alter their game plan to defeat the Volunteers’ defense.

In addition to this, Tennessee coerces teams into mistakes. The Vols rank 14th in overall turnover percentage, with a rate of 25.4%. They average over 10 steals per game, led by Josiah-Jordan James and Santiago Vescovi, who snag about 2.1 steals each per matchup.

Memphis averages 18.4 turnovers per game, so it will make mistakes in the backcourt, especially.

Even if Tennessee had a weak offense in the past, it has the 37th overall offensive efficiency this season, according to KenPom.

Last season, the Volunteers ranked 85th. They had plenty of trouble managing their way back into games if they got down early, but this does not seem to be the case this year.

Much of their offense comes from beyond the arc. They have posts, like John Fulkerson — who does not launch too many outside shots — but he is an outlier.

Olivier Nkamhoua, Kennedy Chandler and Vescovi all average at least 20 minutes per game and 37% from downtown. 37.1% of the Vols’ points are 3s, so these players will need to be on the mark to cover their side of the spread.

Considering Memphis ranks 100th in allowed 3-point percentage, Tennessee should have some success from outside the arc.

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Memphis Tigers

The Tigers are riding high after defeating Alabama, which had wins over both Houston and Gonzaga. However, the Tigers still have a litany of issues on offense.

Yes, head coach Penny Hardaway limited minutes for Emoni Bates, which assisted the Tigers in their victory vs. Alabama, but they have not solved all of their problems.

Memphis still ranks 353rd out of 358 teams in turnover percentage (24.8%). Tennessee is far more elite at turning over teams than Alabama is, so this will become a new hurdle for the Tigers’ offense to overcome.

The Tigers may succeed with offensive rebounding, but they have trouble on the defensive side, ranking 335th.

This will allow Tennessee to gain a lot of second chances. The Vols are a top-50 offensive rebounding team and Fulkerson, James and Nkamhoua all average at least six boards each night. That means Memphis should have its collective hands full.

Finally, Memphis does not shoot many 3s. In fact, it ranks 296th in 3-pointers as part of its scoring distribution. The Tigers will need to make outside shots in order to make up for a potential deficit in this game.

If they are not willing to do so, they will be trading twos for 3s and allow this game to get out of hand.


Tennessee vs. Memphis Betting Pick

Tennessee has the perfect antidote for this Memphis team. It will force many turnovers and will make 3-pointers early with its multiple scoring threats.

The Vols also have the offensive rebounding capabilities to exploit Memphis’ many issues in that category, as well.

Take the Vols at -5.5 and play it to -6.

Pick: Tennessee -5.5 (Play to -6)

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