SEC Betting Picks: #1 Kentucky Wildcats at LSU Tigers

#1 Kentucky Wildcats at LSU Tigers
Pete Maravich Assembly Center – Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Saturday, January 28, 2012, 4:00 pm Eastern, TV: SEC Net, MSG
Opening Line: Kentucky -9
Current Line: Kentucky -9 1/2
Opening Total: 130 1/2
Current Total: 132
Opening Money Line: Kentucky -525 / LSU +415
Current Money Line: Kentucky -525 / LSU +415

Kentucky has won 12 games in a row. The Wildcats travel to Baton Rouge as 9.5 favorites over LSU in SEC action Saturday .

The #1 Kentucky Wildcats are 20-1 and have won 12 straight games since a one point loss at Indiana last month. The Wildcats won at Georgia 57-44 Tuesday night to  move to 6-0 in the SEC. Now, the Wildcats travel to Baton Rouge to take on the 12-8 LSU Tigers. The Tigers lost at Mississippi St Wednesday night 76-71 to fall to 2-4 in the SEC. Kentucky leads the series 80-24 against LSU, including 28-16 in Baton Rouge. Kentucky won last year’s meeting 82-44 in Lexington.

Kentucky is coached by John Calipari. The Wildcats have wins over  Kansas, Penn St, Old Dominion, St. John’s, North Carolina, Louisville, South Carolina, Auburn, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Alabama.

LSU is coached by Trent Johnson. The Tigers have wins over Western Kentucky, Georgia Tech, Houston, Rutgers, Boise St, Marquette, Ole Miss, and Auburn. LSU has losses to Coastal Carolina, Northwestern, South Alabama, Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, and Florida.

Kentucky is outscoring opponents 78-59 this season. The Wildcats are shooting 48.3% from the field and 37.1% from 3 point range. Kentucky is in the top 20 nationally in scoring and field goal percentage. The Wildcats make 71.2% from the free throw line. Kentucky is 10th nationally in rebounding with 40.1 boards a game, with a rebounding margin of +7.7. The Wildcats average 13.3 assists, 12.9 turnovers, 6.7 steals, and 9.3 blocks a game. Kentucky opponents are shooting 36.2% from the field and 31% from 3 point range. The Wildcats are first nationally in opponents’ field goal percentage. Kentucky forces 13.6 turnovers a game.

Kentucky has 6 players averaging double digits in scoring.  Guard Doron Lamb averages 13.7 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.9 assists a game. He is shooting 46.3% from 3 point range. Freshman forward sensation Anthony Davis averages 13.2 points, 10.3 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 4.7 blocks a game. He leads the Wildcats in rebounds, steals, and blocks.  Michael Kidd-Gilchrist averages 13.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.2 blocks a game.  Terrence Jones averages 11.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.2 steals, and 2.1 blocks a game. Darius Miller averages 10.3 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.2 assists a game.  Marquis Teague averages 10 points, 2.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists to lead the team, and 1.1 steals a game.  Guards Jon Hood and Sam Malone are both out indefinitely with knee injuries.

LSU is outscoring opponents 67-62 this season. The Tigers are shooting 40.8% from the field and 34.6% from 3 point range. LSU makes 70.3% from the free throw line. The Tigers average 38 rebounds and have a rebounding margin of +1 LSU averages 12.7 assists, 13 turnovers, 7.6 steals, and 3.7 blocks a game. LSU opponents are shooting 40.2% from the field and 31.3% from 3 point range. The Tigers force 16.2 turnovers a game on defense.

LSU center Justin Hamilton averages 13.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks a game to lead the team in all three categories. Andre Stringer averages 10.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.2 steals a game. He makes 36.8% from 3 point range. Anthony Hickey averages 10 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2.3 steals a game. He leads the Tigers in assists and steals. Ralston Turner averages 8.9 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.4 assists a game. Storm Warren averages 8.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.3 steals a game. Forward Johnny O’Bryant III averages 7.8 points and 6.1 rebounds a game. Reserve forward Jalen Courtney is questionable with the flu for Saturday’s game.

LSU is 11-6 against the spread and the total is 7-10 this season. Kentucky is 5-14-1 ATS and the total is 7-12-1 this season. The road team is 9-3 ATS recently in this series. Kentucky is 5-15-1 ATS as a favorite and overall, 1-4 on the road, as a road favorite, and in road games against teams with winning home records, 2-9-1 against teams with winning records, 2-13-1 after a straight up win, 1-7-1 as a favorite of 7-12.5 points, 2-15 after allowing 50 points or less, and 0-8 in Saturday games. The Tigers are 6-2 ATS after a straight up loss, 11-4 against teams with winning records, 8-3 as an underdog, including 5-2 as an underdog of 7-12.5 points, and 20-47-3 in Saturday games.

Though Kentucky is one of the hottest teams in the country, they aren’t covering on a regular basis. They have an abysmal record against the spread for such a talented team. They have a habit of letting inferior teams hang around when they could easily destroy them. This looks like a game Kentucky wins but lets LSU cover the 9.5 point spread.

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