March 3rd 2015 (Posted at 5:00 PM ET)
Today's pick is another 2% wager.
Take the UNDER 127 total points in Kentucky vs. Georgia risking 2% of bankroll.
The Kentucky Wildcats head to Athens, Georgia to take on the Bulldogs in a nationally televised game airing on ESPN. Kentucky is ranked as the number 1 team in the country. They come into this contest undefeated sporting an unblemished 29-0 record! A lot of the media attention has been on whether they can finish not only the regular season undefeated but also if they will be the first team since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers to complete a perfect season! That is a huge amount of pressure to put on a young team that is made up of mostly freshmen and sophomores. While there is no doubt that UK has an abundance of talent, it's important to remember that these are still teenagers so the weight of expectations has surely mounted on their shoulders and will continue to build as the final part of the season approaches. This is the Wildcats' last true road game of the season and we believe the hostile environment will put pressure on them. That can have a profound effect on a player’s ability and cause them to struggle especially with their shots. We wouldn't be surprised to see Kentucky get off to a slow start with a number of their shots not falling in the early going.
What has made Kentucky so dominant this season has not necessarily been their offense, It's their defensive efforts. Kentucky is an extremely long and athletic team and that makes penetrating inside incredibly difficult. Their reach also allows them to close down outside jump shots and their ability to rebound is one of the best in the nation. This makes teams earn each and every point off the Wildcats and is a big reason why they own one of the best defenses in the country, allowing an average of just 52.4 points per road game on the season! Head coach John Calipari is a firm believer of the mantra "defense wins championships" and his Wildcats are proof of that.
For the Georgia Bulldogs, if they are going to have any chance at pulling the upset, they are going to have to do it on the defensive end. Kentucky does not give up a lot of points and Georgia is not a team that is built to win a shootout. The Bulldogs have been solid on the defensive end themselves, holding opponents to just 61.2 points per game on their home floor this season! Kentucky has been a team that has been great at getting to the foul line as that has been a huge advantage in a majority of their contests. They are not a great shooting team but have made up for it by getting free looks at the stripe. Where they have struggled most has been against teams that don't committ a lot of fouls and give away those free points. Georgia will need to be disciplined in their assignments and play solid defense as they often have. When these schools met earlier in the season, the Bulldogs limited Kentucky to just 17 free throw attempts which is 7 less than their seasonal average. They will need to have a similar effort tonight.
We expect both teams to be patient and deliberate with the ball with the two coaches emphasizing defensive concentration. Georgia managed to hang tough in these teams’ first meeting at Rupp Arena and even out-rebounded the Wildcats 36-24 in that contest. They have shown that they can match up with Kentucky and shouldn't be intimidated heading into this contest. The motivation for both sides will be extremely high, which makes picking a winner against the spread tough. Kentucky has shown their ability to lock down on the defensive end while steadily and methodically padding their lead. That could happen once again in this game. Both squads will treat this game like a chess match, with each taking their time and being selective with their shot selection and using as much of the clock as possible.
We found it interesting that despite over 80% of the betting public jumping on the 'Over' as they hope to see a highscoring game, this total has basically stayed where it opened. That tells us that the oddsmakers are expecting points to be at a premium tonight and we tend to agree. 127 points is quite a bit to play with and we actually handicapped this game to have a final score in the neighbourhood of 66-56 which means there's little point in backing either side but good value in betting the 'under'. Given the fact that this game is unlikely to go to overtime, we believe this number is just as basket too high and will fall under the posted total if the referees do not start calling soft fouls at the end of the game.
Other notable facts to consider:
- The Under is 24-11 in Georgia home games over the last 3 seasons.
- The Under is 8-2 this season when Kentucky scored +80 points in their previous game!
- The Under is 5-1 when Kentucky has been a road favorite of 9.5 to 12 points over the last 3 seasons.
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