Odds & Pick for Missouri vs. Tennessee College Basketball: Bet Another Low-Scoring Matchup
Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Rick Barnes (left) and John Fulkerson (right).
- The Tennessee Volunteers will take on the Missouri Tigers for the second time this season on Saturday night.
- The last time these two teams me, only 126 total points were scored, and BJ Cunningham sees more of the same coming this time around.
- Check out Cunningham's full betting preview complete with a pick and updated odds below.
Missouri vs. Tennessee Odds
Tennessee looks to rebound from a blowout loss at Florida when it hosts 19th-ranked Missouri on Saturday night.
Missouri has been one the biggest surprises in the SEC this season, starting the season 9-0 before losing at home, 73-53, to Tennessee in December.
Its defense has stepped up, while its offense has sputtered during conference play. The Tigers will need their offense to produce better than it did in their first meeting with the Volunteers.
Tennessee has been dominant all season but was embarrassed in Gainesville on Tuesday, losing 75-49.
Now that Kentucky has fallen by the wayside, Tennessee is the best team in the SEC and is favored to win the regular-season title.
However, another loss to drop it to 4-3 in conference play could be detrimental to its title hopes.
When Missouri has the ball
For Missouri’s offense to be successful, it has to shoot a high percentage inside the arc.
The Tigers are the No. 1 offense in the SEC in 2-point percentage at 57%, per KenPom. Over 41% of their shot attempts come at the rim, and they are shooting a cool 67.3% on those shot attempts, per Hoop-Math.
The problem for Missouri in this matchup is that Tennessee is one of the best teams in the country at defending shots at the rim, allowing only 50.2%.
The Tigers offense also shoots a dismal 27.3% from 3-point range. That was their issue in the first matchup, as they made a total of three shots from beyond the arc.
Tennessee is one of the best defenses in the country because it’s fundamentally sound.
The Vols rank second in the nation in terms of defensive efficiency. Where they excel is turning opponents over, as they’re top-10 in the country in turnover percentage. In the first meeting between these teams, Tennessee forced a whopping 21 turnovers, so the Tigers need to hold onto the ball better if they’re going to avoid a sweep.
When Tennessee has the ball
The Volunteers offense is designed to get the ball inside to their two best players, Yves Pons and John Fulkerson. The two combined for 24 points the last time these two teams met and are a real matchup problem for Missouri.
However, since SEC play began, the Tennessee offense has really taken a step back, as it’s averaging only 1.02 points per possession. The main problem has been its 3-point shooting, which ranks 10th in the conference at 30.3%.
Another major issue going into Saturday is the status of star freshman Jaden Springer, who is questionable to play. He’s by far the team’s best 3-point threat at 56.2%, so without him, the Vols are going to struggle to find consistent shooting from deep.
The Tigers defense could also be a problem.
Missouri’s defense has been stout during conference play, allowing only 0.96 points per possession. In fact, in the first matchup, the Tigers allowed the Volunteers to score only 1.04 points per possession.
The reason Mizzou’s successful is because it defends the opposing team’s shot at an elite level, allowing only 27.4% from 3-point range and 45.4% from inside the arc.
However, the main issues the Tigers have run into this season is not turning opponents over all while allowing a ridiculous 36.9% free-throw rate in conference play.
So, if the Volunteers want to have success offensively, they have to get to the free-throw line more than seven times as they did in the last meeting.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Despite winning by over 20 points in the last contest, the Vols offense wasn’t that efficient. This is a matchup of two of the top three defenses in the SEC, so I think we will see another low-scoring affair like we did the first time around.
I have only 128.78 points projected for this matchup, so I think there’s a little bit of value on under 131.5 points.
Pick: Under 131.5 points or better.