The No. 22 Tennessee Volunteers open up their Thanksgiving "Feast Week" tournament at Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas against the Butler Bulldogs on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. ET.
After losing a surprising matchup in Nashville vs. Colorado back on November 13, the Volunteers re-grouped back home and throttled Florida Gulf Coast by 31 to improve to 2-1. They'll face a 3-1 Bulldogs squad that destroyed The Citadel 89-42 in their last game, and come off wins of 28 and 47 points respectively.
Butler's offense has lit up the scoreboard in their wins this year, scoring no less than 89 points in their three victories, but only 62 in their road loss to Penn State on November 14.
The Battle 4 Atlantis has already seen some wild finishes in the early going. Should bettors expect another in this SEC vs. Big East showdown?
Here are the latest odds from Imperial Arena in the Bahamas:
Tennessee vs. Butler Odds, Spread and Total
Tennessee vs. Butler Prediction and Pick
The KenPom prediction makes this a 12-point advantage for Tennessee, but oddsmakers clearly are buying on Butler, opening at 8-points and seeing the number drop to 6.5/7 depending on the book.
I tend to agree with them. The Bulldogs are taking really smart, efficient shots so far this year, ranking fifth in the country in effective field goal percentage and 2-point percentage.
The question becomes, can they score on a very talented Tennessee defense. The Vols rank third in the nation in KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency this year, and have held opponents to just 26.9% from the 3-point line, and only 44.4% from 2. They also are physical and get into passing lanes with ease, ranking third in the country in steal%.
What got Tennessee in trouble was when they let their foot off the gas pedal in the second half vs. Colorado, getting outscored 46-32 in the final two minutes. They also weren't great from 3-point range, shooting just 27%.
On a neutral site, Butler won't be phased, after already playing a full-on road game at Penn State this year. Between the Vegas' support, as well as their solid defense and ability to force turnovers and limit offensive rebounds, I think they can keep this one within 7-points to cover.
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Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.