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Kentucky vs UConn Betting Odds - Wildcats, Huskies square off at MSG

Posted by Washington Tucker on 2/5/2014 1:56:05 AM

NCAA Basketball Odds: Pick Kentucky


December is a big month for betting players in the NCAA basketball scene, as top teams begin to test their mettle against one another. Two such teams will go head to head in the mecca of basketball, Madison Square Garden, as Kentucky’s high-paced squad takes on Connecticut in a rare meeting between college powerhouses.


WHAT: NCAA basketball betting – SEC/Big East Invitational
WHEN: Wednesday, December 9, 9:30 PM ET
WHERE: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
KEY STAT: Kentucky beat UConn 87-83 in 2006


Kentucky vs UConn betting odds maker breakdown: THE STORYLINE
Both teams are making their first appearances in the SEC/Big East Invitational, and the undefeated and No.4 Wildcats (8-0) are coming off a big win against North Carolina at home on the weekend. The No.13 Huskies (6-1) had a tough time taking down Harvard on Saturday, and they’ve already lost to a ranked team, falling to Duke on November 27th. In their lone meeting, UConn downed the Wildcats 87-83 in the second round of the 2006 NCAA Tournament.


Kentucky vs UConn betting odds maker breakdown: OFFENSE
The Wildcats are 27th in the nation in points scored at 81.1 points, with four players averaging at least 10.5 points. They struggled in their 68-66 win over North Carolina, with Patrick Patterson dropping 19 points, and John Wall adding 16 points and seven assists, although the freshman did have seven turnovers. The Wildcats got out to a quick start before fading in the second half, but led by the explosive Wall, Kentucky should have no problems scoring points. They’re very efficient, shooting 50.7% from the floor, but with their young guards, Kentucky turns the ball over a lot.

UConn is 66th with 77.0 points per game, powered by senior guard Jerome Dyson, who missed the last few months of the previous campaign with a knee injury. Stanley Robinson’s decision to stay in school is proving to be profitable for the Huskies as he gives them a legitimate inside threat. The pair combined for 42 points in UConn’s 79-73 win over Harvard, but they shot 42.4% against the Crimson, well below their average of 46%.

Betting Edge: Kentucky


Kentucky vs UConn betting odds maker breakdown: DEFENSE
Kentucky’s sportsbook chances hinge on their ability to catch on to John Calipari’s pressure defense, and the Wildcats held a talented North Carolina team to 38.8% from the floor and 16 turnovers. The Wildcats are 21st in the country in opposition field-goal percentage at 36.9%, and it starts on the perimeter, where Wall and Eric Bledsoe hound the opposing guards all over the floor.

The Huskies are always a solid defensive team under Jim Calhoun, and they’re 12th in the country in opposition field-goal percentage at 36.4%. Led by Gavin Edwards and Alex Oriakhi, the Huskies aren’t missing Hasheem Thabeet as much as they thought: UConn leads the nation in blocked shots with 9.9 swats, although they could stand to hit the boards a bit harder.

Betting Edge: Draw


Kentucky vs UConn betting odds maker breakdown: COACHING
Calipari has the Wildcats playing very well in his first eight games at Lexington, and he was very proud of the way they hung in there when the Tar Heels were making a late push on Saturday. Kentucky shot 63.6% from the foul line, and Calipari’s Memphis teams always had a problem at the stripe. But the Wildcats made some clutch free throws, and Calipari trusts that his players will make them when they have to.

Calhoun lost a lot of talent last year, but his Huskies are again one of the NCAA basketball betting favorites to win the Big East, arguably the toughest conference in college hoops. Outside of the senior trio of Dyson, Robinson and Edwards, UConn is pretty young, and Calhoun puts a lot of pressure on his seniors to lead. They usually respond, as well. With two championships and three Final Fours since 1999, the Hall of Fame coach can still get it done in Storrs.

Betting Edge: Draw


Kentucky vs UConn betting odds maker breakdown: BETTING PREDICTION
The Wildcats should be favored at Madison Square Garden for this neutral-site affair, and they’ll look to push the pace against the Huskies, who don’t want to get into a track meet with Kentucky. The backcourt should be fun to watch, as Kentucky’s Wall and Bledsoe will go up against UConn’s Dyson and Kemba Walker, while UK’s Patterson and the Huskies’ Robinson will do battle in the post. It should come down to playmakers, and in Wall, Kentucky has one of the best in the country.

WASHINGTON’S PICK: Kentucky


For more sports betting tips and analysis in college basketball, get your weekly fix in betonline.com’s The Betting Edge. For more on the Kentucky vs UConn matchup, please visit out sports section.


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