College Basketball Predictions: Vanderbilt Commodores vs. Kentucky Wildcats

Vanderbilt Commodores at No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats
Saturday, 2/24/12, 12:00 PM EST, TV:  CBS
Opening Point Spread:  Kentucky -11.5
Current Betting Line:  Kentucky -11.5
Opening Total:  138.5
Current Total:  138.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Kentucky Wildcats have won 50 consecutive home games

Vanderbilt has rattled off three consecutive wins since dropping a 69-63 decision to the Kentucky Wildcats as 4.5-point home underdogs.  The Commodores have been fantastic on the road during Southeastern Conference play over the last four years, picking up 16 wins in that span.  Junior guard John Jenkins is definitely the player to watch offensively, leading all conference players in scoring 19.2 points per game.  He has scored 20-plus points in three consecutive games.  Vanderbilt is 21-7 ATS on the road over the last two-plus years.

The Commodores are 44-135 in this particular series against the Wildcats, including a 14-78 mark in games played in Lexington.  Vanderbilt has a ton of experience on its roster, especially within the starting five, as that particular group has amassed 416 career starts.  Rupp Arena is the only arena that the senior class has not won in.  “I didn’t know that,” commented Commodores center Festus Ezeli about not winning inside Saturday’s venue.  “Last year, we got close, we lost by a point.”

Kentucky enters this SEC showdown with the nation’s longest active win streak of 19 games, coming off a solid 73-64 win over the Mississippi State Bulldogs as 9.5-point road favorites.  The Wildcats have five players averaging double figures in scoring, with freshman center Anthony Davis leading the way in averaging 13.8 points per game.  The program also owns the nation’s longest home winning streak at 50 games, including 49 of those wins inside Rupp.  Kentucky is 1-5 ATS as a home favorite of 9.5 to 12 points and the “under” is 4-2 in that particular situation the last two-plus years.

The Wildcats are a dominating 67-2 when playing at home as the top-ranked team, which should fit nicely with the Commodores being winless in eight tries away from home versus the nation’s No. 1 squad.  Kentucky’s 13-0 start in conference play is the program’s best start in league play since the 2003 team ran the table in the league.  Defensively, the team leads the SEC in allowing just 58.2 points per game, while also pacing all squads in allowing opponents to shoot 36.3 percent from the field.

Bettors will likely back the Commodores due to their 7-2 ATS mark on the road against winning home teams, while the Wildcats are 3-12-1 ATS in their last 16 home games.

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