Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Kentucky Wildcats – College Basketball, January 12, 2021

By Dean McHugh in College Basketball
| January 12, 2021 4:44 am PDT

This is a crucial game in the Southeastern Conference as a win for either team can push them up three to four places with the standings so tight between the 14 teams. Alabama currently occupies the fifth spot, but they are hot on the leading pack’s trail. A couple of back to back wins could see them enter the mix-up.

The Wildcats are at the foot of the standings, but again, it’s so tight down there that two or three wins for them could quickly move them up to the middle of the Conference and build a platform for a strong finish to the season.

The Wildcats have owned this fixture over the years, winning 12 of the last 13 games against Alabama. Another positive for Kentucky is that the home team has won this matchup on the previous six occasions.

Crimson Tide vs. Wildcats Odds

Crimson Tide (+1.5) -110
Wildcats (-1.5) -110
Crimson Tide To Win +115
Wildcats To Win -134
Over 145 Points -110
Under 145 Points -110

This truly is a close game to call, which is reflected in the betting here. Alabama has only found themselves underdogs in one other game this season, and they managed to come away with the victory in that game.

One thing the bookmakers are expecting, however, is a fair amount of points, so let’s break things down and see if they’re right.

Crimson Tide Analysis

This tidal wave keeps getting bigger and bigger as Alabama’s great form continues. They have won their last five games in a row, including inflicting the first and only defeat of the season against Conference leaders Tennessee. It was a close game at half time with the Crimson Tide leading by just two points. However, they managed to pull away in the second half to win 63-71.

Alabama has only played two games away from home this season, and they won them both against Tennessee and last time out against Auburn, where they edged a high-scoring game 90-94.

Here are the latest betting trends for Alabama:

Against The Spread
  • They have won four of their last five games.
  • Alabama has found life difficult against Kentucky, losing seven of the last ten head to head games.
  • On the road, they have won nine of their last 13 games.
  • Of their last 16 games played in January, they have won 12 of them.
Points Total
  • Five of their last six games played in January have gone over the betting total.

When you look back over the last ten games between these two, one thing stands out by a mile, and that is Alabama needs to start better as they have only averaged a messily 28 first-half points.

Their offense is doing reasonably well this season, especially on the road, as they’re posting some high scores, and they are also rebounding very well. You would have to say that their field goal percentage could be much better, but it’s reasonably even with Kentucky, so it shouldn’t matter too much in this game.

However, they need to move the ball around better as they are averaging just 13 assists per game.

Despite the recruitment of Jordan Bruner from Yale last year, their defense hasn’t done so well, and this is something that will need to improve if they are to go further in the tournament this year.

Jayden Shackelford and Herbert Jones have been the two best offensive players for them as they lead the team’s points and rebounds per game ranking.

Quinerly is the only player listed as questionable for this game, so they can have no excuses should they lose.

Wildcats Analysis

The Wildcats lost six games in a row, and their season appeared to be over before the half waypoint. However, three wins in a row have turned things around, and they now have their sights on moving up the standings.

After losing some close games against Kansas, Notre Dame, and Louisville, the Wildcats managed to get their heads in front and win a couple of close ones against MississippiState and Vanderbilt. This gave them the confidence to put in a real trailblazing performance against Florida last time out, where they won by an impressive 18 points.

Here are the latest betting treats for Kentucky:

Against The Spread
  • They are 13-7 in their last 20 games.
  • Kentucky has won five of their last seven games played on a Tuesday.
  • The Wildcats have lost four of the last five that they have entered as the favorite.
Points Total
  • Eight of their last ten games have gone under the betting total.
  • Only two of the last six games against Alabama have gone under the total.
  • When facing teams from the Southeastern Conference, four of the last five games have gone over.
  • Of their last 12 games played in January, nine of them have gone over the betting total.

Offensively, they have been poor this season. They need to improve across all departments, except for rebounding, where they have been relatively decent. Much like Alabama, they need to move the ball around the court better and work more openings.

However, they have a good defense, which is conceding a respectable 67 points per game on average. They are blocking exceptionally well and have the fourth-highest average per game this season.

The Wildcats had pinned all of their hopes on young Brandon Boston this year, but he has struggled to adapt going from high school basketball to college basketball.

Like Alabama, Kentucky only has one player questionable to play in this game as Clarke recovers from an ankle injury.

Crimson Tide vs. Wildcats Pick

This could be a game of (wild)cat and mouse with not much separating these two teams. Because of that, we could see both teams look to try and control the game and hold onto the ball, which could result in fewer points. I will therefore opt for under the betting total.

Pick
  • Under 145 Points
    -110

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