Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#719 Kentucky 136 vs.
#720 Arkansas -2
Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 4:00pm EST
Written by Blake V.

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#719 University of Kentucky
#720 University of Arkansas
12-4
14-2
7-9
10-6
8-8
4-11-1
74
74
63
61

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No. 10 Kentucky will look to bounce back from an upset loss when the Wildcats travel to one of the SEC’s hottest teams on Saturday afternoon. Arkansas is 14-2 and is in second place in the conference standings. Kentucky fell to 12-4 and is tied with the Razorbacks in the standings after losing to South Carolina on Wednesday night.

Wildcats coming off wild loss

Kentucky was playing well heading into Wednesday night’s contest against an inconsistent South Carolina squad. The Wildcats were on a four-game winning streak that included victories against No. 3 Louisville, Missouri, Georgia and Alabama. Their streak came to a screeching halt when South Carolina banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to win the game. Freshman Jermaine Couisnard out-played all of Kentucky’s young talent, scoring a career-high 26 points in his first start for South Carolina.

The Wildcats are led by freshman guard Tyrese Maxey, who is scoring 13.9 points per game and is dishing out 3.0 assists per game. He has been a decent outside shooter, knocking down 20 of 66 from beyond the arc. Sophomore guard Immanuel Quickley is scoring 13.7 points per game and is grabbing 3.8 rebounds per contest. He has been the best shooter from beyond the 3-point line, drilling 28 of 66 for a 42.4 percent clip. Sophomore guard Ashton Hagans is the team’s leading distributor, dishing out 7.3 assists per game to go along with 13.1 points per game. Junior forward Nick Richards is Kentucky’s leading rebounder, grabbing 7.7 boards per contest.

Arkansas playing well

Arkansas handed Vanderbilt its 23rd-consecutive SEC loss on Wednesday night. The Razorbacks had no problem with the Commodores in the second half, despite only leading by six at halftime. Arkansas outscored the SEC’s bottom-feeders by 14 after intermission en route to a 75-55 win. The Razorbacks have not lost a home game this season. Arkansas shot 48.4 percent from the field on Wednesday, while holding Vanderbilt to a 39.6 percent effort. The Razorbacks did leave some points at the charity stripe, making 8 of 15.

The Razorbacks are led by junior guard Mason Jones, who is scoring 18.1 points per game and is grabbing 6.1 rebounds per game. He is also dishing out a team-high 3.6 assists per contest and has made 31 of 91 from beyond the arc. Sophomore guard Isaiah Joe is another scoring weapon, adding 17.8 points per game and 4.5 rebounds per outing. Joe is not afraid to shoot from downtown, making 63 of 176 for a 35.8 percent clip. Senior guard Jimmy Whitt Jr. is scoring 14.8 points per game and is grabbing 5.3 rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Desi Sills is also in double figures, scoring 10.0 points per contest.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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I think Kentucky will learn from Wednesday’s loss to South Carolina. Young teams sometimes tend to lose focus down the stretch, and the Gamecocks took advantage of that. There is a reason Kentucky has won seven in a row against Arkansas and has covered in six of those seven games. This match-up also works very well for the Wildcats, because both teams are guard-heavy. When it comes to the paint play, Richards is a much better player than Bailey. I think Kentucky will bounce back from the loss to South Carolina with a resounding win on Saturday afternoon.

Prediction: Kentucky +1

Full-Game Total Pick

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These teams tend to play under the total. Five of Arkansas’ last six games against Kentucky have gone under the number. The Razorbacks have been shaded to the under all season, with 12 of their last 17 games going under. They are one of the best defensive teams in the country, coming in at No. 12 in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency. The offense tend to struggle for spurts, which is the perfect recipe for the under. Kentucky likes to slow the ball down this season, ranking No. 204 in KenPom’s adjusted tempo ratings.

Prediction: Under 137
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Written By Blake V.

Blake is a lifelong sports fan and hoops junkie. Prior to joining our team at Winners & Whiners and StatSalt, Blake worked for several newspapers and websites. He enjoys combining his beat writing expertise with the knack for finding the winning edge in a matchup. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.