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Tennessee basketball: Betting advice for Vols at South Carolina

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Last week’s overreaction to Tennessee basketball only beating the Ole Miss Rebels on the road by four turned into a ridiculously low spread for the Vols as they hosted the Mississippi State Bulldogs this past week. If you took our advice, it would’ve paid off on both.

The Vols beat MSU 87-53 despite just being a 9.5-point favorite. Now, the overreaction is swinging the other way, as at 12-2, ranked No. 8 in the AP Poll and No. 9 in the Coaches Poll, they get set to visit a .500 team. UT faces the South Carolina Gamecocks Saturday afternoon.

Given South Carolina’s issues, FanDuel has Tennessee basketball as a 16.5-point favorite with the over/under set at 127.5. With the way the offense emerged for the Vols Wednesday, their elite defense and South Carolina’s offensive woes, this makes sense.

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This spread is actually tough. Rick Barnes’ team is significantly better than South Carolina and will probably win, but honestly, there’s not enough of a sample size of them on the road to gauge how well they’ll perform.

In just two road games this year, the Vols are 0-2 against the spread. Now, to be fair, the spread for them at Ole Miss was too favorable given what Ole Miss does defensively.

Meanwhile, their other road game was a five-point loss to the Arizona Wildcats, who are currently No. 5 in the AP Poll and No. 4 in the Coaches Poll. They were 3.5-point underdogs in that one and lost after a series of questionable calls in the game.

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UT is much healthier now, and the offense is coming together since nobody is having to shoulder too much of a defensive load anymore. That’s a good sign for them to dominate.

On the other hand, South Carolina is undefeated at home. One of their wins is over the Clemson Tigers, who are 12-3. So what do we make of all this?

Well, looking at Clemson’s body of work, they haven’t beaten anybody, so they are much worse than that 12-3 record indicates. South Carolina, meanwhile, hasn’t played anybody else worth talking about at home.

Add in the fact that South Carolina hasn’t won a home game by more than 15 points, and honestly, that home record is overrated. Tennessee basketball going 0-2 against the spread on the road is also overrated.

With Josiah-Jordan James back, the Vols’ offense coming together and South Carolina giving up over 70 points a game, take Tennessee -16.5. They’ll continue their red-hot streak into Saturday.

The game will hit the over 127.5 because of the Vols’ scoring. Playing at home, South Carolina will score a bit more than Mississippi State will too, so take Tennessee basketball to cover, and take the over.

Note: All lines are from FanDuel and subject to change; All rankings are based on College Football Playoff rankings

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