The No. 9 Tennessee Volunteers travel to face the Mississippi Bulldogs on Tuesday, January 17. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m. ET from Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville, and the game will air on ESPN2.
Let’s take a look at the odds and lines on DraftKings Sportsbook and make some picks.
Tennessee vs. Mississippi State odds
Spread: Tennessee -6.5
Moneyline: Tennessee -280, Mississippi State +235
Tennessee (14-3, 4-1 SEC) is coming off its first loss in conference play, falling to Kentucky 63-56 on Saturday. It was an underwhelming effort as the Volunteers matched their lowest-scoring output of the season, and were outrebounded 43-23 by a Kentucky team that seemed on a path of disarray for the rest of the season. Perhaps the spark they need is a round-two matchup with Mississippi State, whom Tennessee easily handled 87-53 at home earlier this season. A better performance in attacking the glass and a stout defensive performance will be key to a win Tuesday night, as the Volunteers boast the second-best scoring defense in the country (54.0 PPG allowed).
Mississippi State (12-5, 1-4 SEC) will look to snap a two-game losing skid after back-to-back losses to Georgia and Auburn, each by single digits. After winning their first 11 games this season under first-year head coach Chris Jans, the Bulldogs have arguably been brought back down to earth after a short-lived stint in the AP poll. Despite boasting the nation’s fifth-best scoring defense (57.5 PPG allowed), SEC has proven brutal for Mississippi State, with just one win over Ole Miss through five games. After a 34-point loss to the Volunteers in their SEC opener, the Bulldogs will need a sound offensive strategy to counter the nation’s second-best defense.
The Pick: Tennessee -6.5
The Volunteers are 9-8 overall versus the spread this season and just 3-5 when playing on the road, but they have seen this Bulldogs team, back when Tennessee played arguably its most complete game in the SEC opener. After a season-low 14 minutes from senior forward Olivier Nkamhoua in the loss to Kentucky, I expect him to bounce back with a more convincing performance Tuesday night, giving the Bulldogs trouble in the paint. Tennessee won eight straight following its early season loss to Colorado, and won five in a row after a 75-70 loss to Arizona on Dec. 17. Take them to bounce back accordingly and cover with a win in this one.