Arkansas vs. Kentucky Top Picks for February 7: Can Razorbacks Survive Rupp Arena?

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Anthony Black #0 of the Arkansas Razorbacks makes a pass from under the basket against the Texas A&M Aggies on January 31, 2023. Wesley Hitt/Getty Images/AFP.

NCAAB Pick: Kentucky -5 (-110) at Bookmaker (visit our Bookmaker Review)

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Kentucky -5 (-110)
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The Arkansas Razorbacks had the worst start imaginable to SEC play, going 1-5 in the first six conference games of the year. However, things have turned around with four straight SEC wins. Arkansas clawed its way back onto the bubble for the NCAA Tournament and would likely make it to the big dance if the season ended today.

However, there is plenty of college basketball left to play. The Razorbacks have to play against the Kentucky Wildcats next, a team that has also climbed up the SEC standings.

Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Kentucky Wildcats

Tuesday, February 07, 2023 – 09:00 PM EST at Rupp Arena

This game will be played in Rupp Arena, adding to the intensity of the matchup. Regardless of team success, this is one of the most hostile environments in college basketball. With both teams firmly on the bubble, this could mean a ton once the season comes to a close.

The SEC has four of the 16 true bubble teams at this moment, so don’t be surprised if things get interesting as the season comes to a close. Let’s break down some key things to look for in this matchup before making NCAAB picks.

The Beauty of the Bubble

With both of these teams firmly on the bubble, it’s paramount that they turn recent momentum into future success.

There is a great chance that four or more SEC teams head into the conference tournament with more work to do. The only way for both Kentucky and Arkansas to avoid this fate is to win games like this one down the stretch.

Now, is either team safe if they win this game? No. Still, we could look back and point at this game when deciding who makes the NCAA Tournament. Both teams want to take a step forward, but it’s just as valuable to push an opponent down the ladder.

The interesting piece is that neither team should be in this position. Both of these teams were rated as top contenders in the conference, and they simply didn’t live up to the hype. Both teams put themselves in this situation, and it will be on them to work their way out.

Keys for Each Team

Kentucky is one of the best three-point shooting teams in terms of efficiency, but they rarely shoot from deep. They love to dominate the paint and win with their bigs.

This is a fine strategy, but the post players need to look at open shooters to drain shots. The extra pass out of the post to the corner can be potent if this team takes advantage of it. The looks are there, and the Wildcats need to focus on getting more perimeter shots.

For Arkansas, it’s not realistic to believe they can win the rebound battle on the road. This team is solid at rebounding, but Kentucky has one of the best-rebounding margins in the conference.

Arkansas doesn’t have to win the rebounding battle, but they can’t afford to be destroyed. It needs to be somewhat close for Arkansas to have a shooter’s chance of winning this game in the final minutes.

Arkansas also gets into foul trouble easily, so they must remain disciplined in this game if they want to win. Kentucky rarely gets into foul trouble, and Arkansas can’t afford to have top players on the bench with early fouls.

Arkansas vs. Kentucky: Game Prediction

Kentucky and Arkansas both need this win, and the Wildcats are favored to get it. Based on how these teams match up, I see why.

Kentucky is going to stay out of foul trouble at home, and the Razorbacks will struggle with this all game. Kentucky is also the better rebounding team, so they will win this game in the margins. Give me the Wildcats to cover the spread at the NCAAB odds.

Also, give me the Under. The total line isn’t massive, but it’s enough where both teams need to have a solid offensive performance to hit the Over. I find it more likely that at least one of these teams falters. It’s more likely to be Arkansas, but the point remains.

The Picks

If you want a bet with insane value, look at either of these teams to win the national championship. Don’t bet the house on it, but Kentucky has the talent, and Arkansas has a good track record of winning in the NCAA Tournament. Out of those two, I prefer Arkansas.

For Wildcats fans looking to bet on this game, you can do it at our top Kentucky betting sites.

NCAAB Pick: Kentucky -5 (-110) at Bookmaker

NCAAB Pick: Under 140 (-108) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Under 140 (-108)
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NCAAB Pick: Arkansas National Championship (+6500) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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Arkansas National Championship (+6500)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.