Tennessee basketball vs. Mississippi State: Odds, picks and prediction

Tennessee Volunteers guard Josiah-Jordan James (30) Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
Tennessee Volunteers guard Josiah-Jordan James (30) Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports /

The Tennessee basketball team will continue its SEC portion of the schedule with a road game against Mississippi State.

The No. 9 Tennessee Volunteers head to Starkville, Mississippi in a Tuesday night SEC battle. The Vols are looking for a bounce-back game after suffering their third loss of the season to Kentucky over the weekend.

Tennessee basketball was outplayed on their home court and lost for the first time at home in two years. Several blown layups and missed rebounds handed Kentucky a huge SEC road win.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs have been struggling recently after a great start, losing five of their last six to enter this game at 1-4 in the SEC standings.

This is a rematch from just two weeks ago when the Volunteers blasted the Bulldogs by 34 at home. Tennessee dominated in the first matchup, and it’s hard to see that changing in this contest.

Tennessee basketball notes

The Vols have been one of the hottest teams in basketball as of late, and Vegas has enjoyed juicing the lines and watching Rick Barnes’ team fail to cover in back-to-back games. Betting on Tennessee over the past several weeks is similar to buying a stock at its highest price. Thankfully for us, their stock just came crashing down after the embarrassment at home against Kentucky.

Many people fail to see what truly happened on Saturday, which will likely cause an overreaction in the betting market. Tennessee failed to overcome one of its worst shooting performances of the season. The team went 3-of-21 from 3-point range (14%), air balling open layups, and rarely got to the free throw line. On top of this, they let Kentucky outrebound them by 20.

After reading this you may think that Kentucky won by 25+, but in reality, they only won by 7. This is because of how incredible Tennessee’s defense is. The Volunteers are the No. 1 defense in the country according to KenPom, and many other statistical geniuses. Their defense also ranks No. 1 in the country in AdjD, EFG%, and 3-point defense, and they are also top-10 in forcing turnovers, and opponent 2-point%, according to Bart Torvik.

Tennessee’s defense should be able to shut down the Bulldog’s offense as they did a few weeks ago, and walk away with a convincing win.

Mississippi State basketball notes

The Bulldogs have been struggling offensively over the past few weeks but seemed to find their footing in the second half against Auburn. They managed to put up 41 points in the second half, and may have turned a corner, but still struggled to get rebounds and lost the game.

MSU sits at 7-9-1 ATS this year, and 12-5 SU. More importantly, in their last 10 games, they are 1-5 ATS at home.

However, the boost of offense in the second half of the Auburn game could be the change they were looking for.

Tennessee basketball odds and pick vs Mississippi State

MSU is ranked outside the top 225 in most of the key offensive metrics. This includes EFG%, AdjO, 2-point%, and 3-point shooting. Tennessee is coming off of a loss, and will likely shut down this already weak Bulldog offense.

I see no chance for this weak Mississippi State offense to cover such a short spread against the No. 1 defense, and I think that sportsbooks are tremendously overreacting to a fluke of an offensive game last weekend by the Vols.

Pick: Tennessee Volunteers -6 (-130). I would play this to -9.5.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

All For Tennessee
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