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SEC Weekend Preview: Marquee Matchups on Tap

SEC – Weekend Preview

Four of the five SEC teams currently ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 poll will square off on Saturday.

Auburn and Kentucky, which currently hold down the top two spots in the SEC standings, have tough tests as Arkansas and Tennessee are a combined 29-1 at home.

SEC Conference Weekend Preview
James Gilbert/Getty Images/AFP

Auburn (-900) still has the best odds to win the SEC title followed by Kentucky (+550) and Tennessee (+2300).

Kentucky (+650) and Auburn (+750) rank third and fifth in the current national championship odds according to the latest March Madness predictions.

Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe (+120) has the best odds to be named the national player of the year while Auburn’s Jabari Smith comes in at +3000.

Here’s a look at this weekend’s games in the SEC with some information for those who bet online.

Florida Gators vs Georgia Bulldogs

  • Date, time, TV: Saturday, Noon ET, ESPN2

Florida is looking for its sixth win in a row against Georgia, although the Gators have covered against the college basketball spreads in just two of the last six games. The last four games in the series have been decided by an average of 9½ points, including Florida’s 72-63 victory on Feb. 9 as a 14½-point favorite at home.

Florida has won the last three games as the visiting team and covered in each of them. Three of the last four games in the series have gone under the total.

The Gators dropped three of its last four and failed to cover against the college basketball spreads in six of their last seven contests.

Florida (17-11, 7-8 SEC) saw its previous six games go under the total before Tuesday’s 82-74 loss to Arkansas.

Georgia (6-22, 1-14) has lost its last eight games for its second eight-game losing streak of the season. The Bulldogs have covered in three of those losses while six of their last eight games finished over the total.

Florida’s Colin Castleton is third in the SEC in field goal percentage while Georgia’s Aaron Cook is second in assists per game.

Vanderbilt Commodores vs Mississippi State Bulldogs

  • Date, time, TV: Saturday, 1 p.m. ET, SEC Network

Mississippi State looks to continue its impressive work at home as the Bulldogs have recorded 13 of their 16 wins at home.

Vanderbilt (14-13, 6-9) is 6-0-1 against the spread in its last seven games, although the Commodores lost four of those games to tumble into a tie for 10th place in the SEC standings.

Vanderbilt’s last seven games had finished over the total before Tuesday’s 74-72 loss to Alabama fell well short of the 153½-point total.

Mississippi State’s bid for a third straight win ended with a 10-point loss at South Carolina on Wednesday. The Bulldogs were listed by the Las Vegas odds as a two-point favorite on the road.

Six of the last seven games for Mississippi State (16-12, 7-8) finished under the total.

The Bulldogs had won four of the last five games in the series and the last four at home, but in the most recent meeting in 2021, the visiting Commodores won 72-51 as the 7½-point underdog. It was the third straight time Vanderbilt covered against Mississippi State while four of the last six games went over the total.

The game features two of the top scorers in the conference. Vanderbilt’s Scotty Pippen Jr. is the SEC leader at 19.7 points per game while Iverson Molinar of Mississippi State is third at 18 points per contest.

Kentucky Wildcats vs Arkansas Razorbacks

  • Date, time, TV: Saturday, 2 p.m. ET, CBS

This is a potentially dangerous game for Kentucky, which has been playing without starting guards Tyty Washington and Sahvir Wheeler. The Wildcats had to work to beat LSU 71-66 on Wednesday as a 7½-point favorite at home and have covered in just four of their last 11 games.

Three of the last four games went under the total for Kentucky (23-5, 12-3). The Wildcats are only 5-4 on the road and will face an Arkansas team that is 15-1 at home.

No. 18 Arkansas (22-6, 11-4) has won three straight games and 12 of its last 13. The Razorbacks are tied for third in the SEC standings, just two games behind first-place Auburn.

The Razorbacks have covered in each of its last nine games, with three of the last four finishing under the total.

Arkansas’ 81-80 win as a 1½-point road underdog snapped an eight-game losing streak to Kentucky and was the second time in the last three matchups that the Razorbacks covered.

Kentucky has won the last three games played at Arkansas and covered in each of them. Three of the last four games between the Wildcats and Razorbacks finished under the total. The last meeting was the first in the series to finish as a one-possession game since 2014.

Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe leads the SEC (and the nation) with an average of 15.3 rebounds per game, while Jaylin Williams of Arkansas is second in the SEC at 9.6 boards per contest.

Texas AM Aggies vs Ole Miss Rebels

  • Date, time, TV: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network

Each of the last five games in the series went under the total, with the home team winning each time. Each of the last three matchups was decided by at least 10 points.

The Aggies have covered against the spread in three of the last four meetings.

Texas AM (17-11, 6-9) has won two of its last three games and covered in both of those victories. Eight of the Aggies’ last 10 games finished over the total.

Ole Miss (13-15, 4-11) has dropped five of its last six games, although the Rebels covered in the last two. They are 10-6 at home going up against a Texas AM team with only three road wins.

Texas AM is second in the SEC with 10.4 steals per game. Ole Miss in third in the SEC in 3-point percentage.

Auburn Tigers vs Tennessee Volunteers

  • Date, time, TV: Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN

Auburn is looking to snap a two-game road losing streak, although winning in Knoxville is never an easy task, especially facing a Tennessee team that is 14-0 at home.

No. 3 Auburn (25-3, 13-2) is just 1-4-1 against the spread in its last six games and a matchup with nationally ranked Tennessee might make it hard to improve that number.

Auburn (+175) has the fifth-best chance to reach the Final Four according to the March Madness odds.

Despite recent losses to Florida and Arkansas, both on the road, the Tigers are still holding onto the top spot in the SEC standings.

No. 17 Tennessee (20-7, 11-4) has won five of its last six games, although the Volunteers are just 2-2 against the spread in the last four.

For those thinking ahead to the release of the March Madness brackets, Tennessee just jumped over Auburn in the NCAA’s NET rankings: the Volunteers are ninth and the Tigers 10th.

Auburn has won the last six games in the series and covered in each of them while the last eight matchups between the teams went over the total.

The Tigers won the last three games in Knoxville by 10, 20 and 22 points.

Auburn’s Walker Kessler leads the SEC with 4.7 blocked shots per game. Tennessee’s Kennedy Chandler is the SEC leader with 2.3 steals per contest.

South Carolina Gamecocks vs Alabama Crimson Tide

  • Date, time, TV: Saturday, 6 p.m. ET, SEC Network

This is a showdown against teams tied for fifth place in the SEC standings. Alabama could have the edge thanks to a 12-2 record at home while South Carolina is just 4-5 in true road games.

This could be a fast-paced game since Alabama and South Carolina rank third and fourth in field goal attempts per contest.

South Carolina (17-10, 8-7) has covered in its last five games and has won four games in a row, with two coming by three points or less. Seven of the Gamecocks’ last eight games went over the total.

No. 24 Alabama (18-10, 8-7) has won its last three games decided by three points or less. The Crimson Tide won three of its last four but failed to cover in each of those games.

Alabama has won six straight games against South Carolina, although the Gamecocks have covered in the last two.

South Carolina’s last win at Alabama came in 2009 but it has covered in three of the last eight contests played in Tuscaloosa.

Each of the last three games have been decided by six points or less.

Missouri Tigers vs LSU Tigers

  • Date, time, TV: Saturday, 8:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network

LSU has won six games in a row against Missouri but is just 3-2-1 against the spread in those matchups.

Four of the last six games between the teams have gone over the total. Missouri hasn’t won at LSU since joining the SEC.

LSU is looking to return to the win column after losing to South Carolina by two points and by five points at Kentucky in its last two games. Both of those games came on the road, but LSU is back home where the Tigers are 13-2.

Seven of the last nine games for LSU (19-9, 7-8) finished over the total.

Missouri (10-18, 4-11) has lost four games in a row and covered in just one of them. The Tigers have lost four of their last five road games.

LSU is 11th and Missouri 12th in assists per game and both have negative assist/turnover ratios, so ball security will be a key in this one.

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