Mississippi State vs Tennessee Odds & Prediction: The Spread Pick to Make

Mississippi State vs Tennessee Odds & Prediction: The Spread Pick to Make article feature image

Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images. Pictured: Dalton Knecht (Tennessee)

Mississippi State vs Tennessee Odds

Friday, March 15
1 p.m. ET
Mississippi State Odds
-110o / -110u
Tennessee Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAB odds here.

The SEC Tournament quarterfinals are here, and we get another matchup between the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Tennessee Volunteers.

These two met up in early January, and Mississippi State got the best of Tennessee at home. That was an offensive outlier for Mississippi State, and I wouldn't expect it to be repeated this time around.

Let's dive into the matchup.

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Mississippi State Bulldogs

Mississippi State needed a comeback effort to get by LSU. The Tigers play at a very fast pace, but the Bulldogs stymied them by slowing the game down and relying on their tough defense.

That won't work against Tennessee.

While Tennessee has relied heavily on its defense in years past, its offense has taken another step this season, meaning it has no problem playing at different tempos.

The Bulldogs already beat the Vols, but the matchup came in Starkville. Also, Dalton Knecht — Tennessee's best player — was hobbled for most of the early portion of the season (even if he scored 28 points in that game).

The Bulldogs will need to focus on Dalton Knecht to have any shot at slowing down Tennessee.

Regardless, the Bulldogs will once again be asked to elevate their offensive prowess. This is a problem for multiple reasons, as they're not a great offensive team and they face one of the best defensive teams in the entire country.

Tennessee Volunteers

We get to see the top-seeded Volunteers for the first time since their regular-season finale loss. I'm not sure what we want to make of that game, as the Vols were 8.5-point favorites at home against a very solid Kentucky team.

Tennessee was coming into that game off two straight wins, one of which was a win over South Carolina that clinched the SEC title. Sure, losing as an 8.5-point favorite at home is never a good sign, but Tennessee wasn't in a truly motivating spot.

The Vols are one of the few teams that thrive on defense in today's game. This season, the Vols ranked inside the top seven in opponent effective field goal percentage and opponent 2-point percentage.

But their offense has also taken another step this season with Knecht (21.4 PPG) leading the show.

Mississippi State vs Tennessee

Betting Pick & Prediction

Tennessee has too many avenues for success, even at this number. We often see top seeds in conference tournaments blow out their first opponent since that team is typically coming off a game the previous day.

Mississippi State doesn't have the firepower to go 40 minutes with this Vols. It will need to shoot 3s at a high level and hope to get hot if it wants any chance of moving on.

That's a very volatile strategy, and it's not the best way to keep up with Knecht and the Vols.

Pick: Tennessee -9

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May 22, 2024 UTC