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Kentucky vs. Alabama Picks, Predictions: Saturday’s Marquee Betting Guide

Kentucky vs. Alabama Picks, Predictions: Saturday’s Marquee Betting Guide article feature image
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Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Cason Wallace (Kentucky)

Kentucky vs. Alabama Odds

Saturday, Jan. 7
1 p.m. ET
ESPN
Kentucky Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+6
-115
147
-110o / -110u
+205
Alabama Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-6
-105
147
-110o / -110u
-245
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

The Alabama Crimson Tide look to stake their claim at the top of the SEC as they host the Kentucky Wildcats.

Speaking of the Wildcats, John Calipari’s bunch has gotten off to a shaky start after lofty preseason expectations. However, this could be their opportunity to redeem themselves and make a statement under the national spotlight.

However, Kentucky reclaiming its place at the top is much easier said than done. The Crimson Tide have built one of the most impressive resumes in the country, and adding Kentucky to it will make them serious title contenders.

So, can the Wildcats step up with their season hanging in the balance? Or will the Crimson Tide continue their march to the top?

Let’s take a deep dive to find out.


Kentucky Wildcats

Kentucky’s been tested similarly to the Crimson Tide, but the difference is the Cats have yet to pass any of the tests. Losses to Michigan State, UCLA, Gonzaga and a surging Missouri team have knocked them out of the top 25.

Although, it was not all that long ago these same Wildcats were KenPom‘s No. 1 team. They are a uniquely built team with a good mix of veteran experience and ultra-talented freshmen.

It all starts in the middle with the reigning National Player of the Year, Oscar Tshiebwe. The Wildcats’ big man is a dominant force in the paint and will be a challenge for the freshman frontcourt of Alabama.

However, with multiple scoring threats on the outside, Alabama cannot overcommit to shutting down Tshiebwe.

Cason Wallace, Sahvir Wheeler and Antonio Reeves each shoot above 40% from beyond the arc. While the Crimson Tide have been excellent at defending the 3, they do allow a high volume of perimeter shots, and the Wildcats could make them pay.

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Alabama Crimson Tide

Through 14 games, the Crimson Tide have shown how electric they can be on the offensive end of the floor. Much like Kentucky, the focal point of their offense is their big man, but Brandon Miller offers a diverse skill set.

Miller has burst onto the scene in freshman season, averaging 19.1 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. That’s also while shooting 44% from beyond the arc.

His ability to stretch the floor will be key for the Crimson Tide, as it could draw Tshiebwe out of the paint. Although, Alabama would much instead fire from the perimeter than drive inside.

Over 45% of the Tide’s field goal attempts have been 3s, but the issue is that they’re 116th in 3-point percentage. This style of offense produces a ton of variance, and they are bound for regression.

Not only could the Wildcats benefit from shooting regression, but they also have the ability to limit second chances. Much of Alabama’s style is dependent on volume, and Tshiebwe will limit the number of offensive rebounds for the Tide.


Kentucky vs. Alabama Betting Pick

At first glance, this is a spot where the Crimson Tide could have plenty of success. The Wildcats have not shown much ability to defend the 3, and Bama has been very efficient on both ends.

However, the intangible factor of Kentucky’s need to play up in this spot could amplify its edges. Tshiebwe will be a significant factor on both ends, and his presence will help open things up for the Wildcats’ perimeter shooters.

While I’ve been fading Kentucky in recent matchups, this is a spot where we can bet on it to show up.

Pick: Kentucky +5.5 (Play to +4)


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