Conference play rolls on with a handful of marquee teams taking the floor in hopes of bolstering their standing in their respective leagues.
Kentucky has been dynamite at home this season and will look to shake off an overtime loss at home over the weekend with a strong outing against Mississippi State, who bolsters an elite defense, but one that hasn't traveled so well away from home. Can one of the best offenses in the nation out-pace the Bulldogs in front of BBN?
I'm also looking at another SEC home favorite in LSU, who may be in line for a strong performance against an overrated Ole Miss team.
Here's two bets I'm on for Wednesday's card, you can find all my bets in real time on my betstamp (@rw33)
Year to Date Record: 47-41-3 (+2.22U)
Best College Basketball Bets Today
- Ole Miss vs. LSU (-3)
- Mississippi State vs. Kentucky (-7)
Ole Miss vs. LSU Prediction and Pick
Chris Beard's Rebels enter 15-1 on the backs of incredible three-point shooting (40%, sixth best in the country), but the team remains just 70th in KenPom's adjusted efficiency metric. Most of that revolves around the team beating only two teams inside the top 50, both of which came at home, and favorable shooting variance on both sides of the ball.
The Rebels are due to come back down to Earth, allowing .07 points per possession less than expected through 16 games, and LSU might be the team to hand it to them with the team's ability to control the game on the interior and Ole Miss' looming three-point regression on both sides of the ball.
Ole Miss has been crushed on the glass all season, 337th in defensive rebounding rate, and now faces an LSU team that is 136th in offensive rebounding rate and has several capable big men like seven-footer Will Baker generating second chances.
Further, the visitors are due a four percent drop in three-point shooting and a four percent rise in opponent three-point shooting, per ShotQuality.
LSU has been able to create enough offenses against compact SEC defenses like Texas A&M already this season, winning as double-digit underdogs, that I believe the team can solve Beard's no-middle defense and win on the margins to cover and hand Ole Miss a rare, but justified loss.
PICK: LSU -3
Mississippi State vs. Kentucky Prediction and Pick
In a battle of Kentucky's top 10 offense against Mississippi State's top 10 defense, give me the offense to prevail at home.
The Bulldogs have faced two elite conference offenses already in league play, outlasting Tennessee at home before failing to slow down the top offense in the nation in Alabama in Starkville over the weekend. It won't be easier now on the road against the Wildcats, who are trotting out likely the most efficient backcourt in the country right now.
UK is third in the country in turnover percentage while checking in 11th in effective field goal percentage. The team has some frontcourt questions, but the guard play amongst Will Sheppard and Rob Dillingham, flanked by the likes of Antonio Reeves is as dangerous as the Bulldogs will see.
Mississippi State is built on its elite defense and dominant big man Tolu Smith, who has a favorable matchup against a raw UK frontcourt, but I'm not sure the Bulldogs offense can generate enough offense to keep up in a likely track meet.
Kentucky's defense has flaws, but the unit is compact and does a great job of shutting off driving lanes for opponents, which is an issue for Mississippi State, who is shooting 32% from beyond the arc this season and is 255th in turnover rate on the year.
Off a loss on the road, I'll side with Kentucky dictating the pace and running the visitors off the floor en route to a cover.
PICK: Kentucky -7
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
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