NCAA Basketball Betting Preview – Tennessee Volunteers at Missouri Tigers
We are sure that the Missouri Tigers thought that this season was going to take a different path, and although that doesn’t mean they haven’t played well this season, it does leave it up to the imagination as to how could they could have been if they had Michael Porter Jr. in the lineup. But that was not to be, so they have to continue along in the SEC schedule and do what they can possibly earn an at-large ticket to the NCAA Tournament. They could take a big step along those lines on Wednesday night as they square off against the Tennessee Volunteers in a conference game that will begin at 9 PM ET at the Mizzou Arena in Columbia. Keep in mind that if you are a BetAnySports customer, you can take advantage of reduced juice before the game starts, and then stay involved with the action by accessing Live Betting Ultra after the opening whistle.
Tennessee’s big marquee win of the season came against Purdue, which accounts for quite a lot, inasmuch as the Boilermakers have won 14 games in a row and are ranked #3 in both polls. The non-conference schedule for the Vols was challenging, to say the least, and includes losses to both Villanova and North Carolina. Things have been on an uptick lately, however, and after consecutive victories over Kentucky, Vanderbilt, and Texas A&M, they feel very good about themselves. Grant Williams, the top inside threat, exploded for 37 points against the Commodores, and we wonder whether Missouri wants to see him again, seeing as he scored 25 points against them last season and a 90-70 Tennessee blowout. The Volunteers are 12-4 straight-up and 9-5 against the pointspread.
Michael Porter Jr. was, in the opinion of many, the top high school recruit available this season, and Missouri landed him after he pulled out of his deal with Washington, where his father was an assistant coach but was given the axe, along with Lorenzo Romar and the rest of his staff. But Cuanzo Martin, the former coach at Tennessee, hired Porter’s father at Missouri, and it was the right fit, because young Michael and his brother Jontay, who also signed with the Tigers, grew up in Columbia. Things did not work out as well as planned, however; Michael Jr. played only two minutes before suffering a back injury that required surgery, and suddenly his future plans may have changed. He is not sure whether he can return at all this season, and because of that, he may stick around another year at Missouri, instead of going into the NBA Draft, where he might have been the top pick.
In the NCAA basketball betting odds posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, Missouri is the slight favorite:
Missouri Tigers -1.5
Tennessee Volunteers +1.5
Over 141.5 points -110
Under 141.5 points -110
There is no question that Tennessee has played the more challenging competition thus far, as Missouri’s top opponent was probably West Virginia, against whom they had a dozen triples but nullified that somewhat with 20 turnovers in a four-point loss. Saturday’s defeat at the hands of Arkansas was particularly stinging, as they had come all the way back from 18 points down, took the lead, but then lost it back in the waning moments. We would acknowledge that Tennessee, which is 22nd in the metric of “Adjusted Defensive Efficiency,” has the edge on the stop and. But the Tigers are hitting a sizzling 51% at home, and they are also in the nation’s top 20 in terms of three-point accuracy (almost 41%).
Tennessee is a smallish squad, and Missouri might be able to extract an edge on the inside, with Jontay Porter and fellow freshman Jeremiah Tilmon, who is probably one of the better offensive rebounders in the country. Defensive rebounding is one area where Tennessee sometimes encounters problems, and they gave Auburn a lot of second chances in a recent loss to the 17th -ranked War Eagle. Payback is on the Tigers’ minds, and this is obviously a special game for Martin. So we will lay the small number here.
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