Arkansas guard Moses Moody (5) against Missouri during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Fayetteville, Ark. Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)
- The Tennessee Volunteers look to bounce back from their first loss of the season as they host Arkansas on Wednesday as betting favorites
- The Razorbacks have enjoyed a red-hot start, but are coming off a decisive loss to Missouri, and are winless in three straight visits to Tennessee
- We’ve got you covered with all the odds and trends ahead of this clash of SEC rivals at Thompson-Boling Arena
Tennessee will try to rebound from its first SU loss of the season on Wednesday, when the Volunteers host the Arkansas Razorbacks as 7.5-point favorites. Tennessee saw its SU record drop to 7-1 with last weekend’s 71-63 loss to Alabama as 10-point home chalk. The Razorbacks are also coming off their first SU defeat of the season, a stunning 81-68 loss to the visiting Missouri Tigers that snapped a steady season-opening nine-game SU win streak.
Here’s a look at the odds and trends ahead of Wednesday night’s matchup at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Arkansas Razorbacks vs Tennessee Volunteers Odds
|Arkansas Razorbacks||+7.5 (-108)||+290||O 142.5 (-112)|
|Tennessee Volunteers||-7.5 (-112)||-360||U 142.5 (-110)|
Odds as of Jan. 5th at FanDuel.
Vols Humbled in Loss to Crimson Tide
The Volunteers dominated during their season-opening seven-game win streak, claiming victory by double-digit margins in six of those contests, and also going 6-1 ATS during that stretch. However, the team came crashing down to earth with this past weekend’s loss to Alabama, which also marked their first outright defeat while pegged as double-digit home chalk since January 2014.
Alabama upsets No. 7 Tennessee, 71-63 in Knoxville.
Vols shot just 19% from three(4-of-21) in their first loss. https://t.co/1sKLHMYjsA
— Clayton Collier (@Local24Clayton) January 3, 2021
The loss to the Crimson Tide has impacted the Vols’ position in the AP Top 25 rankings, where they now sit at No. 9 after peaking last week at No. 7. In addition, Tennessee’s defeat at the hands of Alabama marks a huge step back after the team dominated in a 73-53 rout of No. 12 Missouri just three days earlier.
2021 Naismith College Basketball Player of the Year Odds Tracker
Tennessee Tops on Defense
Despite the loss, the Volunteers remain a dominant force on defense. Tennessee is currently perched as No. 1 in the nation in points allowed per game, with just 54. That is also reflected in the KenPom ratings, where they sit No. 1 in adjusted defensive efficiency. John Fulkerson and Josiah-Jordan James have been particularly effective, with the two guards each averaging over six rebounds per game.
This #Vols hoops defense reminds me a bit of Bama’s secondary in football. So good at playing as physically as possible without getting whistled for it.
But it’s a fine line in hoops and some nights will feature a lot of whistles. Depends on the crew.
— Wes Rucker (@wesrucker247) December 31, 2020
However, points have come at a premium for the Volunteers, with leading scorer Victor Bailey Jr. averaging just 13.0 points per game. Tennessee managed to run up the score in one-sided victories over Tennessee Tech and St. Joseph’s, topping 100 points in each of those contests. But the club has averaged just 69.3 points per game in their other six outings to date, with the UNDER paying out in each.
Razorbacks Aim to Extend Red-Hot Start
After mowing down lightweight opponents in each of their first eight contests, the competition has stiffened considerably for the Razorbacks in their past two outings. The team continued to roll in their first conference matchup of the season a week ago, tallying a 97-85 win in Auburn as 3.5-point road chalk to improve to 6-2 ATS this season.
Razorbacks Rewind: Arkansas (9-0, 1-0 SEC) earns best start in 27 yrs, 97-85, at Auburn
– Examining Hogs’ grinding 10-0 run late that eased uncertainty of soft non-con
– Stats that mattered
– Sills & gang come thru
– Next: Mizzou, TN
FREE @ Hogville: https://t.co/QO27Q17xUI pic.twitter.com/W5rWHYBOQh
— Kevin McPherson (@ARHoopScoop) December 31, 2020
However, the Razorbacks failed to live up to their billing as 6.5-point home favorites in this past weekend’s loss to Missouri, which also extended their SU losing streak against nationally ranked opponents to three games.
Can Youthful Razorbacks Halt Slide vs Vols?
The upside for Arkansas has been the team’s impressive offensive performance. The Razorbacks rank ninth in the nation in points scored per game, with 88.5, and have steadily rewarded sports bettors taking the OVER during a 4-0-1 run in totals betting. Freshman guard Moses Moody has impressed in his Razorbacks debut, racking up a team-leading 16.9 points per game, capped by his first career double-double in Saturday’s loss to the Tigers.
Moses Moody is averaging 16.9 PPG & 5.6 RPG 👀🔥
Projected 1st round pick in the 2021 NBA draft! @moses_moody3 pic.twitter.com/u4qXVyf1Ex
— Courtside Films (@CourtsideFilms) December 30, 2020
Arkansas fans are delighted with the team’s hot start, and with good reason. Sporting a talented youthful roster, the Razorbacks have dominated when expected, and look well positioned to carry that success over into their conference schedule. However, the Razorbacks must first overcome a three-game SU and ATS losing streak in Tennessee, and can expect to face a bad tempered Vols squad that will be aiming to avoid posting consecutive SU defeats on home hardwood for the first time since early February.
The Picks: Volunteers -7.5 (-112); OVER 142.5 (-112)
Daniel has been writing about sports and sports betting for over 23 years. The seasoned pro has contributed to the likes of Sports Illustrated, Sportsnet, NESN, Bleacher Report, OddsShark, the Globe and Mail, and The Nation magazine.