College Basketball Betting: Kentucky at LSU

College Basketball Betting: Kentucky at LSU

The undefeated and top-ranked team in the nation takes center stage in college hoops on Tuesday night when the Kentucky Wildcats travel to Baton Rouge to face SEC rival LSU. The ‘Cats have escaped a couple of close calls, but for the most part are steamrolling opponents on a nightly basis, due in large part to one of the deepest rosters in recent memory. Ten players average double-digits in minutes and none average more than Aaron Harrison’s 11.5 points per game. As for the Tigers, they are one of five teams battling for second place in the conference. With only an early season win at West Virginia bolstering their tourney resume, a narrow loss or stunning upset would look very good in the eyes of the selection committee. Here’s a preview and prediction of tonight’s action.

KENTUCKY AT LSU +10.5

The Wildcats own the second stingiest defense in college basketball. Only one team, Mississippi, has netted more than 70 points and it took them overtime to do it. They struggled on Saturday to take down the Gators, but the previous seven SEC foes all lost by at least 11 points. John Calipari has embraced the one-and-done trend among phenom freshmen rather than fight it. Devin Booker, Karl Anthony Towns, and Trey Lyles are the latest first-year stars to make an impact. However, it’s the guys who didn’t jump to the NBA after last season’s Final Four run that make this Kentucky squad downright lethal. The Harrison twins and frontcourt duo of Willie Cauley-Stein and Dakari Johnson afford the ‘Cats length and power that no other team in the country can claim. Even without injured Alex Poythress, they still rank second in blocks per game. Calipari can cause matchup nightmares all over the floor. A perfect regular season is well within reach.

What does LSU have to do to prevent becoming the next victims in line? Feed off the home crowd energy, play strong defense, and knock down three-pointers. They also need to remember they beat Kentucky by five last February in the same building. Jordan Mickey dropped 14 in that game, and leads the Tigers this season in both scoring and rebounding; the sophomore forward has totaled 72 points and 44 boards in his last three starts. He’ll need help from frontcourt mate Jarell Martin, who has three double-doubles in his last five games. Mickey and Martin must avoid foul trouble because head coach Johnny Jones doesn’t have the bench to counter Kentucky’s depth. The key players may end up being guards Keith Hornsby and Tim Quarterman, who have combined to hit 73 shots from beyond the arc.

These middle of the week road games can be traps for elite teams. The ‘Cats have looked mortal of late, but they have held four teams to 40 or fewer points, including Kansas. Kentucky is 4-3 ATS on the road. LSU is 6-6-2 ATS at home. Visitors win, home cookin’ covers.

Bet LSU +10.5