College Basketball Betting: Arkansas at Kentucky

College Basketball Betting: Arkansas at Kentucky

Top ranked and undefeated Kentucky is running out of chances to chalk up a regular season loss. At 28-0, they are the consensus favorites to cut down the nets in April, and have a legitimate shot to post the eighth unblemished record in the history of college basketball. Not since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers has a collegiate team ran the table. John Calipari’s charges have run roughshod over an admittedly weak SEC, but also have impressive victories against Kansas, North Carolina, and Louisville. Up next on the docket will be No. 18 Arkansas, Saturday afternoon at famous Rupp Arena. Winners of seven straight, the Razorbacks represent a stiff challenge, despite having zero wins versus Top 25 opponents. Here’s a preview and prediction for today’s matchup.

ARKANSAS AT KENTUCKY -14.5

With road losses to Clemson, Tennessee, and Florida, and no signature victories to date, it’s a wonder the Razorbacks are sitting at 19 in the RPI rankings. Beating up on the dregs of the SEC won’t catch the attention of the selection committee, but a shocking upset at Kentucky sure as hell will. For that minor miracle to happen, they must get huge efforts from the inside-outside duo of Bobby Portis and Michael Qualls. Portis has the low post repertoire and long range touch to frustrate the Wildcats’ deep, athletic frontcourt, but Portis is just one guy. If he lands in early foul trouble, the onus of keeping the score close falls on Qualls, Rashad Madden, and Anthlon Bell, all of whom are capable of getting hot from beyond the arc. Problem is, Arkansas is terrible on defense, so forcing turnovers and converting easy baskets will be a priority. Calipari is only 2-4 when facing Arkansas, including a pair of defeats a season ago.

Kentucky has taken everyone’s best punch and survived, even in close games. They rank second in the nation in defense, and are nine deep on the bench. Balance and size is what makes this team so lethal. Eight players average 20-plus minutes and none are netting more than Aaron Harrison’s 11.2 points. They crash the glass, block shots, and execute an unselfish brand of ball rarely seen at the college level. If they have a weakness, it would be perimeter shooting; freshman Devin Booker is their best pure three-point sniper, but he’s far from consistent. With four big men 6’10” or taller, few opponents can contend with their prowess in the paint. Freshman Karl-Anthony Towns has been a handful of late with four double-doubles and 13 rejections in his last seven games. Intimidation is also a weapon they can utilize, although considering Arkansas’s recent success in the series, it’s unlikely that will be a factor.

The Razorbacks are 14-13 ATS overall and 5-5 ATS on the road. The Wildcats are 14-12-2 ATS overall and 9-8-1 ATS at home. Even though Arkansas is overrated and entering a hostile environment, this is a lot of points. Look for the visitors to put up a fight.

Bet Arkansas +14.5