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Kentucky at Arkansas: What bettors need to know

Kentucky Wildcats at Arkansas Razorbacks (-1, 155)

Kentucky’s latest group of fabulous freshmen seems to be coming together on the defensive end in four straight wins. The 16th-ranked Wildcats will try to make it five in a row when they play the second of back-to-back road games at Arkansas on Tuesday. Kentucky held its first two Southeastern Conference foes to an average of 62.5 points, helping to make up for some issues on the other end of the floor.

The Razorbacks dropped their first two in SEC play but proved they could break through a strong defense and hang with a ranked team in an 84-82 overtime loss to Florida on Saturday. Arkansas is especially potent offensively in its own building, where it is putting up an average of 94.3 points in the last four games. The Wildcats are second in the SEC in scoring offense behind the Razorbacks but have a big advantage on the inside with Julius Randle.

TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN

LINE: The Razorbacks opened as 1-point home dogs and now sit -1.

ABOUT KENTUCKY (12-3, 6-5-2 ATS): The Wildcats lead the SEC in rebounding offense thanks in large part to Randle, who averages a double-double at 16.7 points and 10.9 rebounds. The freshman forward failed to reach double figures in scoring in either of the first two SEC games but averaged 12.5 rebounds despite constant attention from the opposition. “You have to understand, he’s in a dogfight.” coach John Calipari told reporters of Randle. “I think right now that he’s the only college player that when he catches the ball, he’s got three guys on him.”

ABOUT ARKANSAS (11-4, 7-5 ATS): The Razorbacks have their own freshman starting forward in Bobby Portis, who will likely combine with Coty Clarke to handle the defense on Randle. Arkansas will not be afraid to run with the Wildcats and let a trio of starting guards lead the offense. Rashad Madden scored a career-best 23 points against Florida on Saturday but sits third on the team in scoring (11.2) behind fellow guard Michael Qualls (12.7 points) and Portis (12.5) in a balanced attack. The Razorbacks lead the SEC in assists (16.7) despite not having a single player average more than Clarke’s 2.2.

TRENDS:

* Home team is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings.
* Favorite is 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings.
* Over is 4-1 in the last five meetings in Arkansas.
* Kentucky is 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings.

TIP-INS:


1. Qualls is just 6-for-33 from the field over the last three games.

2. The Wildcats lost at Arkansas 73-60 last season as Clarke went for 14 points and 12 boards.

3. The Razorbacks lead the SEC with a plus-6.33 turnover margin.

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