College Basketball Odds & Picks for Utah vs. Missouri: Expect Utes to Take Down Overmatched Tigers

College Basketball Odds & Picks for Utah vs. Missouri: Expect Utes to Take Down Overmatched Tigers article feature image

Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: Craig Smith

  • Utah takes on Missouri in a battle between the Pac-12 and SEC.
  • The Tigers have been awful this year, as highlighted in losses to UMKC, Liberty and others.
  • Ky McKeon breaks down why all the value lies on the Utes on the road.

Utah vs. Missouri Odds

Saturday, Dec. 18
4:30 p.m. ET
SEC Network/ESPN+
Utah Odds
-114o / -106u
Missouri Odds
-114o / -106u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Two power conference teams in need of wins square off, as Utah travels to Columbia to take on Missouri.

The Utes have seven wins so far this season, but they have lost every significant showdown they've played, including games to BYU, USC and TCU.

Meanwhile, the Tigers have been a disaster all year, allowing 80 points to UMKC and scoring just 45 against Liberty.

Who has the edge in this affair? Find out below.

Utah Utes

This will be just the Utes’ second true road game of the season. Thus far, Utah has played only at USC, where it lost in convincing fashion.

Fortunately for Utah, it gets a Missouri team that is currently the worst power team in the country. New head coach Craig Smith is a wizard and he’s likely to have a game plan to confuse the bejeezus out of the Tigers.

Smith has improved Utah’s KenPom rating from 92 to 73, and that would likely be higher if key guard Marco Anthony hadn’t missed time with injury. Utah is 4-5-1 against the spread overall, but 0-3 against the spread when Anthony sits and 0-4 when Anthony hasn’t started. He is fully healthy for this contest.

With Anthony healthy, the Utes won’t need to worry about Mizzou’s ability to turn them over. Anthony is sure-handed, as are his teammates Rollie Worster and David Jenkins Jr.

In order to stay in this game, Mizzou must make it ugly and force turnovers. That’s a tall order against Utah.

Utah has a substantial size advantage against the Tigers. Sure, Mizzou has a 7-foot-3 center named Jordan Wilmore, but he, to put it politely, sucks out loud.

Wilmore has a 73.3 offensive rating, a 44% FG%, a 33% FT%, a 30% turnover rate and commits 8.8 fouls per 40 minutes. Wilmore is the perfect example of, “I am tall, so I might as well play basketball.”

Branden Carlson is going to eat Wilmore’s lunch inside. Utah plays through Carlson on the block, and the big man can pop to the perimeter, as well. He’ll get the slow-footed Wilmore in foul trouble, and then, when Mizzou goes small, he’ll punish the Tigers’ diminutive backups.

Mizzou has zero answer for Carlson.

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Missouri Tigers

Mizzou is a joke. Bart Torvik ranks the Tigers as the 248th-best team in the country. KenPom ranks them 153rd (down from a preseason ranking of 93rd, which is heavily anchoring their rating).

Coming off of a dismantling at the hands of rival Kansas, Mizzou might be happy to be back at home. However, the Tigers’ attendance this season has been dismal. Their home-court advantage is zero to none.

Mizzou is 3-6 against the spread this season, but that’s even a little misleading. The SMU cover was impressive, though, the Tigers trailed by as many as 13 in the second half and the Mustangs couldn’t hit anything from the floor.

Mizzou’s other two covers this season are against Eastern Illinois and Northern Illinois, two of the worst teams in the country.

Offense has been the Tigers’ main issue. They rank 206th in adjusted offensive efficiency, per KenPom, driven by the 353rd-best 3P% and 325th-best turnover rate. Mizzou has no point guard and no shooters. It's tough to score without either.

The only thing Mizzou does well on offense is rebound. Utah has the horses to combat the Tigers’ scrappiness, though. The Utes are plenty athletic and are bigger than Mizzou.

Defense has been the Tigers' saving grace under Cuonzo Martin, but even this year’s team has struggled. Lack of top-line size and over-aggressiveness that leads to fouling has plagued the Tigers.

Mizzou has been lucky thus far on this end. Opponents are shooting just 61.5% from the foul line against the Tigers this season, the eighth-worst clip in the nation. Utah is a good free throw shooting team and will shatter this current trend.

Utah vs. Missouri Betting Pick

The play is Utah. The Utes will roll over Missouri on the Tigers’ home floor in front of a small crowd.

Smith is the far better coach in this matchup, and the Utes are better on both ends of the floor.

Lay the points with Utah.

Pick: Utah -4.5

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