Kentucky vs Texas A&M Betting Odds
After a slow start, John Calipari’s Wildcats are back among the college hoops elites. Kentucky most recently beat down on Tennessee last Saturday, putting up 109 points on Rick Barnes’ top-5 defense.
However, Kentucky shouldn’t overlook this game. The Aggies are on an eight-game win streak and are 15-2 this season. That record includes marquee victories over Arkansas and Notre Dame.
But despite being a solid team, do the Aggies have enough to compete with Kentucky?
Kentucky Wildcats Odds
Despite ranking fifth in KenPom, 10th in BartTorvik, and 12th in the AP Poll, some may consider Kentucky slightly underrated.
Mostly because Kentucky doesn’t have many big, resume victories. The Wildcats are just 2-3 in Quad 1 opportunities this season, and they only have one extra Quad 2 victory.
But by looking at the ‘Cats statistics so far, it’s clear this is one of the best teams in the nation.
Kentucky is fourth in offensive efficiency, 12th in effective field goal percentage, and first in offensive rebounding percentage. The ‘Cats are also top-25 nationally in 2-point defense, opponent free-throw rate, and effective field goal percentage allowed.
When the Wildcats are playing well, they are very difficult to match up with. Oscar Tshiebwe is the most dominant big man in the country. TyTy Washington leads a backcourt that’s adept at both assisting Tshiebwe or driving to the rim themselves. Plus, Davion Mintz and Keion Brooks can take anyone off the bounce.
Predictably, Kentucky paces the nation in field goal percentage at the rim (76.9%).
That was clear against Tennessee, as the Wildcats made 27 of their 38 2-point attempts (71%) and 20 of their 21 free-throw attempts (95%).
Good luck stopping Kentucky going forward.
Texas A&M Aggies Odds
The Aggies have won a lot of games. Does this mean they’re good?
I don’t think so.
The Aggies are 12-0 in Quad 3/Quad 4 wins while being 2-2 in Quad 1/Quad 2 wins. TAMU has played exactly one Quad 1 team, Wisconsin, and lost by 11. The Aggies are 15-2 but are mostly an average college basketball team.
And there’s likely regression coming for Texas A&M. The Aggies are 344th in free-throw shooting and 129th in 2-point shooting, yet they are 34th in 3-point shooting. A 37.4% clip for a team that’s largely devoid of shooters is unsustainable.
ShotQuality’s metrics agree, wherein it has Texas A&M with an 11-6 SQ record.
Moreover, Texas A&M is very undersized, running 6-foot-8 and 6-foot-5 in the frontcourt. If the Aggies can’t shoot, they don’t have many reliable ways to create baskets. Believe it or not, Texas A&M is dead last in post-up points per possession (.294).
Kentucky vs Texas A&M Prediction and Pick
My pick: Kentucky -7 (-115 at PointsBet)
The Aggies’ smaller-sized roster does not bode well against Tshiebwe.
The West Virginia transfer is the most dominant big man in the nation and has overpowered interior defenses much greater than this one.
Moreover, Kentucky is still due for more positive shooting regression while TAMU is due for more negative. Even though Kentucky is laying seven points in a conference road matchup, it’s worth asking if that line is cheap.
I believe it’s very cheap for this Wildcat team, who I currently power rank as one of the top five teams nationally.
I’d be willing to lay -9.5 with the Wildcats as I believe they win this one by double digits.