Kentucky vs. Tennessee Prediction, Odds and Key Players for Saturday, March 9 (Back the Wildcats)

College basketball betting preview, prediction and best bet for Kentucky-Tennessee. 

Mar 6, 2024; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Zvonimir Ivisic (44) fives guard Rob Dillingham (0) after a play against Vanderbilt.
Mar 6, 2024; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Zvonimir Ivisic (44) fives guard Rob Dillingham (0) after a play against Vanderbilt. / Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
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No. 4 Tennessee has aspirations of a deep March Madness run after winning its first outright SEC title since 2008. The Volunteers, coming off a Sweet 16 appearance last season, wrap up the regular season on Saturday afternoon at Thompson-Boling Arena against No. 15 Kentucky.

Kentucky is in a four-way tie for second place in the SEC with South Carolina, Auburn and Alabama. They’ll need an upset of Tennessee, a projected No. 1 seed in bracketology, to improve on its seeding ahead of next week’s SEC Tournament. Can Kentucky hang within the big number Saturday afternoon? Here’s the betting breakdown of the SEC clash with a best bet. 

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Kentucky vs. Tennessee Odds, Spread and Total

Kentucky vs. Tennessee Betting Trends

  • Kentucky is 17-13 ATS this season
  • Tennessee is 16-13-1 ATS this season
  • Kentucky is 5-1 ATS as an underdog this season
  • Tennessee is 14-10-1 ATS as a favorite this season
  • The OVER is 22-8 in Kentucky games this season
  • The OVER is 16-14 in Tennessee games this season

Kentucky vs. Tennessee How to Watch

  • Date: Saturday, March 9
  • Game time: 4 p.m. EST
  • Venue: Thompson-Boling Arena
  • How to watch (TV): CBS
  • Kentucky record: 22-8 (12-5 SEC)
  • Tennessee record: 24-6 (14-3 SEC)

Kentucky vs. Tennessee Key Players to Watch

Kentucky

Rob Dillingham: The freshman guard is averaging 15.1 points per game while shooting 48.5% from the field on a Kentucky offense that is one of the best in the nation. After going just 7-of-20 from the field in his previous two games, Dillinham turned in 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting in Kentucky’s 16-point win over Vanderbilt on Wednesday. 

Tennessee 

Dalton Knecht: Before he takes his talents to the NBA, Knecht is hoping to lead the Volunteers on a March Madness run, which could include the program’s first-ever Final Four appearance. Knecht has put together an SEC Player of the Year-caliber season in leading Tennessee to a regular-season conference crown. The senior guard is averaging 20.7 points per game while shooting over 40% from beyond the arc. 

Kentucky vs. Tennessee Prediction and Pick 

Start with the obvious: this is a matchup between two of the best offenses in the country. Kentucky is third in the nation in points per game (89.7) and clock in at No. 8 in offensive efficiency, according to KenPom. Tennessee is No. 20 overall in KenPom and averages 80.2 points per game. 

In the first matchup, each team shot just under 40% and hit 12 three-pointers each in a shootout that Tennessee pulled out in Lexington, 103-92. Tennessee is one of nine teams in the country to have a top-25 offense and defense in KenPom. The Volunteers’ defense is No. 2 in effective field goal percentage, No. 6 at defending two-point shots and No. 19 against perimeter attempts, but Kentucky’s offense can match up with anyone while playing at the No. 13 tempo in the nation. Kentucky’s up-tempo attack doesn’t hurt its ball security, either, as the Wildcats are top-10 in the nation in turnover percentage.

Tennessee might be an efficient offense, but they are not prone to shooting spells. The Volunteers are outside of the top-100 in every major shooting metric as they excel at crashing the offensive glass (No. 78 in offensive rebounding) and hitting free throws. 

Kentucky has been better outside Rupp Arena, winning four of its last five road games and going 6-3 ATS on the road overall. The Wildcats have enjoyed the underdog role, as well, going 5-1 ATS when getting points with a trio of outright victories. Take the points with Kentucky down to +8.

Pick: Kentucky +9


Game odds update periodically and are subject to change.