LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — I’m not the only one wondering whether Kentucky or Louisville will be favored when the teams meet Saturday at 2 p.m. in the KFC Yum! Center for their annual basketball rivalry game.
My guy in Las Vegas is equally uncertain.
Brian Edwards, vegasinsider.com senior handicapper, told me that his numbers project Kentucky as a 2 1/2-point favorite but that he would not be surprised if the line tilts toward Louisville. Smells like a coin flip to me.
I asked Edwards for his thoughts on the game, and he was willing to contribute.
Enjoy. This is what Brian Edwards wrote:
Line will probably be out around 2:30-ish Eastern Friday: http://www.vegasinsider.com/college-basketball/odds/las-vegas/
UK's odds to win the national title are currently 14/1 at Sportsbook.ag. Those are the sixth-shortest odds behind Duke (+180 'chalk'), Gonzaga (9/1), Michigan (10/1), Kansas (12/1) and UVA (12/1). Louisville has 150/1 odds to win it all.
I think we'll see a very tight line. My number is Kentucky -2.5, but I won't be surprised if Louisville is the short favorite.
A few notes...
Louisville (9-3 straight up) is unbeaten in eight home games with a 3-3 spread record. Chris Mack's team has lost to three ranked teams by 15 combined points, including a 77-74 overtime loss to Marquette. The Cardinals also lost to Tennessee (92-81) and dropped a 68-67 decision at Indiana. Since the loss to the Hoosiers, U of L has responded with three straight wins but is 0-2-1 against the spread in those victories.
Kentucky is playing its first true road game. After getting smashed by Duke in the season opener, John Calipari's squad won seven straight games by double-digit margins, but it went just 3-4 ATS. On Dec. 8, the Wildcats lost 84-83 to Seton Hall in overtime. Since then, UK has thumped Utah 88-61 as a 15.5-point home 'chalk' and beat UNC 80-72 as a 2.5-point underdog last Saturday.
Kentucky is No. 15 at KenPom.com, while Louisville is No. 38. U of L has three quality wins over Lipscomb (#58 KenPom), Seton Hall (#55) and Michigan St. (#6). As for the 'Cats, they have a pair of Top-100 triumphs over UNC (#7) and UNC Greensboro (#93).
UK spanked Louisville 90-61 as a five-point home favorite at Rupp Arena last season. In the last encounter at KFC Yum! Center on Dec. 21 of 2016, the Cards captured a 73-70 win as 1.5-point home underdogs. That's the only game in which U of L has covered the number since 2012, as the 'Cats are 6-1 ATS (5-2 SU) in the past seven head-to-head showdowns.
The 'under' is 7-3 in UK's last 10 trips to Louisville. Also, the 'under' has cashed at a 15-6 clip in the last 21 games in this bitter rivalry.
Thanks, Brian. I hope you learned something.
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