SEC Tournament Quarterfinals Best Bets: Kentucky Giving Too Many Points To Vandy

profile image of Matthew.Jordan
Oscar Tshiebwe of Kentucky defends the shot of Jordan Wright of Vanderbilt on March 01, 2023 . Andy Lyons/Getty Images/AFP

NCAAB Pick: Arkansas +1 (-110) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)  

BetOnline logo
Arkansas +1 (-110)
Visit Site

Picks Summary:

  • Arkansas +1 (-110)
  • Vanderbilt +8.5 (-110)

The SEC Tournament’s quarterfinal round is Friday from Nashville, and two ranked teams will take the court in it for the first time in the night session as No. 18 Texas A&M faces Arkansas and No. 23 Kentucky takes on Vanderbilt.

Here is our NCAAB pick for each with odds from our top-rated online sportsbooks.  

Remember, fans from the Lone Star State who want to wager on this game should check out our top-rated Texas betting sites.

Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Texas A&M Aggies 

Friday, March 10, 2023 – 07:00 PM EST at Bridgestone Arena

Arkansas is the No. 10 seed and Texas A&M is the No. 2 – also ranked No. 18 in the country. The winner faces either No. 5 seed Tennessee or No. 4 Missouri (my presumption would be the Vols) in the semifinals on Saturday. 

We previewed Arkansas’ game on Thursday against No. 7 Auburn and recommended the Razorbacks at +1 as they are a different team since touted freshman and sure-fire 2023 NBA lottery pick Nick Smith Jr. returned from injury. The Hogs beat the Tigers 76-73.

Auburn went on a 15-6 run for a 73-72 lead with 41 seconds remaining for its only lead since scoring the game’s first two points. Smith Jr. answered with a jumper from the corner with 20 seconds to go, and then Davonte Davis forced a turnover and added a pair of free throws with 12 seconds remaining to cap the scoring. Auburn’s Wendell Green Jr. missed a three at the buzzer.  

Smith scored 14 for the Razorbacks, including 12 in the second half, and Davis had seven points and a career-high-tying 10 rebounds. Anthony Black led the Hogs with 19 points, adding six rebounds and six assists. Coach Eric Musselman used a starting lineup of Black, Smith Jr., Davis, Ricky Council IV, and Kamani Johnson for the first time this season. Council IV scored his 1,000th career point on his first basket of the game. 

A Buzz in the Building in Nashville

Texas A&M has been way better than expected under Coach Buzz Williams, finishing a game behind Alabama for the SEC regular-season title but knocking off the visiting Tide 67-61 in the finale last Saturday. The Aggies’ only loss in their past nine games was at Mississippi State. That run includes a 62-56 home win over Arkansas, although the Razorbacks won the first meeting at home 81-70 on Jan. 31. 

Williams was named the SEC Coach of the Year and guard Wade Taylor IV was one of two unanimous selections to the all-league first team. The sophomore averaged 16.3 points, which ranked No. 5 in the SEC while leading the league in free throws made with 152. He ranked fourth in assists (126) and fifth in steals (56). 

It’s only the second time the Aggies have earned a double-bye at the SEC Tournament. The 2015-16 team was the top seed and won it. Perhaps consider a first-half under here as well. The Aggies allowed an SEC-low average of 26.7 first-half points in conference play and limited opponents to 30 or fewer in 13 of 18 SEC games, including the past three. 

  • The Razorbacks are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 Friday games. 
  • The Razorbacks are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 neutral site games. 
  • The Razorbacks are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight-up win. 
  • The Aggies are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games. 

NCAAB Pick: Arkansas +1 (-110) at BetOnline   

Vanderbilt Commodores vs. Kentucky Wildcats 

Friday, March 10, 2023 – 09:00 PM EST at Bridgestone Arena

The final game of the quarterfinal round features the sixth-seeded Commodores and the third-seeded Wildcats, who are also ranked No. 23 nationally. I will be fascinated to see the split of the fans because Vanderbilt is located in Nashville, but Kentucky fans travel like no other. Not sure how much they care about the SEC Tournament, though, when UK had a moderately disappointing season. 

Let’s be clear that I give Vanderbilt little to no chance of winning this game. I might have if star center Liam Robbins was available, but he suffered a season-ending injury in a 68-66 upset at Kentucky on March 1. The 7-footer averaged 15.0 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists this year.

Incidentally, that was the Commodores’ first win at Rupp Arena since 2007. I promise you Kentucky will not take the ‘Dores lightly this time

Vandy beat LSU 77-68 on Thursday without Robbins for a fourth straight win, but LSU is quite terrible. Tyrin Lawrence had 22 points and Jordan Wright scored 15 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. Freshman forward Lee Dort had been out since mid-January due to injury but returned and had two points and two rebounds in eight minutes off the bench. Vandy never trailed LSU.  

“Lee is a big body, just gets rebounds and tries to finish us out. I think he brought that with the minutes he had,” Coach Jerry Stackhouse said. Vandy might get invited to the NIT with its recent excellent play.  

UK Well Rested After Double-Bye

Kentucky had the double-bye to the quarterfinals and obviously will be in the NCAA Tournament no matter what happens this weekend. Three of Coach John Calipari’s players, Cason Wallace, CJ Fredrick, and Sahvir Wheeler, are dealing with injuries but all are expected to play.

Wallace was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team after averaging  11.7 points, 4.2 assists, and 3.5 rebounds during the regular season.

He missed UK’s last game, an 88-79 win at Arkansas last Saturday. Antonio Reeves scored a career-high 37 points in that one. He was named SEC Sixth Man of the Year.  

Kentucky leads the league with 31 SEC Tournament titles. The Wildcats are 135-28 all-time in the SEC Tournament, including a 46-11 record in the quarterfinals. Those latter two numbers will improve to 136-28 and 47-11, but there are too many points on the table for UK at NCAAB odds. Kentucky will face either Arkansas or Texas A&M in the semifinals.  

  • The Commodores are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning straight-up record. 
  • The Commodores are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 neutral site games. 
  • The Wildcats are 3-13 ATS in their last 16 neutral site games. 

NCAAB Pick: Vanderbilt +8.5 (-110) at BetOnline 

BetOnline logo
Vanderbilt +8.5 (-110)
Visit Site

*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.