Kentucky vs Vanderbilt Picks and Predictions: Commodores Ride Matchup Edge to Cover

The Wildcats haven't been as formidable on the road, and run into a team that they don't match up well against in the Commodores. Find out why Vandy's edge could force the favorites into an uncomfortable spot with our Kentucky vs Vanderbilt picks.

Shawn Wronka - Contributor at
Jan 11, 2022 • 15:23 ET • 4 min read
Scotty Pippen Jr Vanderbilt Commodores college basketball
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The No. 18 Kentucky Wildcats will travel on Tuesday to pay a visit to the Vanderbilt Commodores for a SEC showdown. Kentucky followed up its road loss to No. 21 LSU last week with a fifteen-point "get right" win against Georgia on Saturday. Vanderbilt has won four of its last five after a shaky 5-4 start, and faces its first ranked opponent of the season.

Continue reading for our free college basketball picks and predictions for Tennessee vs. LSU on Tuesday, January 11th for more.

Kentucky vs Vanderbilt odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

Kentucky opened as six-point road favorites but have since moved to -8.5. The total opened at 138 and has steadily climbed a whopping seven points to its current number of 145.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until tip-off and be sure to check out the full college basketball odds before placing your bets.

Kentucky vs Vanderbilt predictions

Predictions made on 1/11/2022 at 2:40 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Kentucky vs Vanderbilt game info

Location: Memorial Gymnasium, Nashville, TN
Date: Tuesday, January 11, 2022
Tip-off: 7:00 p.m. ET

Kentucky at Vanderbilt betting preview


Kentucky: Sahvir Wheeler G (Questionable).
Vanderbilt: No injuries to report.

Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.

Betting trend to know

Vanderbilt has covered in four of its last five games. Find more NCAA betting trends for Kentucky vs. Vanderbilt.

Kentucky vs Vanderbilt picks and predictions

Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.

The story of Kentucky's season has been rather simple: golden at home (11-0) and anything but in true road games (0-2). Its perfect home record includes an average winning margin of 27.5 points and its struggles in true road games come with the ugliness of a 23.2% three-point percentage. The Wildcats also played two neutral court games, including a single-digit loss to Duke to open the season and a very convincing win against North Carolina. To put it simply, they play to their level and their environment.

Oscar Tshiebwe continues to lead the way for Kentucky with his 16.1 PPG and nation-leading 15.2 rebounds per game (which is a full 1.4 more rebounds than the second-best mark). Senior guard TyTy Washington (13.6 PPG) is Tshiebwe's partner in crime, and the two combine to provide high-end shot creation inside the perimeter.

As a result, Kentucky ranks second in two-point field goal attempts on a per-game basis with a whopping 46.8. This will come in direct conflict with Vanderbilt's defensive approach, which allows just 29.9 attempts per game, the 16th-fewest in the nation.

That approach is largely predicated on a zone defense that is more concerned about packing the paint and luring teams into taking three-pointers, with 44.0% of all attempts from Vanderbilt's opponents coming from deep (the 29th-highest mark in the nation). The Commodores then defend those shots rather well, allowing just 30.9% from distance.

If Kentucky is unable to find the space to operate in the paint, it will be interesting to see how quickly it adjusts its approach. The Wildcats only take 19.3 three-pointers a game (289th) but shoot those shots at an average clip of 33.9% and assist 88.8% of their makes, which is a mark that ranks a very respectable 42nd. So, Kentucky knows how to find threes, it's just that they opt not to most of the time.

Prediction: Vanderbilt +8 (-107)

Kentucky has scored 62 and 60 in its two road games this year, a mark that falls way below its 82.9 average on the season, which ranks 11th in the nation. Sure, one of those games was against the elite defense of LSU, which ranks first in KenPom defensive efficiency. But the other came against Notre Dame, who ranks a paltry 96th.

Vanderbilt ranks 50th in that regard and allows just 62.4 points per game on the season (41st), and as previously mentioned, brings matchup problems that come directly in conflict with how Kentucky does business.

They are, however, admittedly a tad messy when it comes to fouls. The Commodores have sent opponents to the free-throw line 21.4 times per game, which is the 34th-most in the nation. Kentucky is far more disciplined in that regard, committing the tenth-fewest fouls in the nation and sending opponents to the line just 13.4 times per game.

There's also the fact that this total has already moved up by seven points, and chasing steam is just poor betting fundamentals.

Prediction: Under 145 (-105)

If you're a fan of exciting offense, this may be a game to look away from. On top of the matchup issues that could make this game ugly and the fact that Kentucky may find a good chunk of their scoring through the thrills of college basketball free throw shooting, there are a lot of other bits that make this game ugly.

Don't expect Vanderbilt to put the game into the next gear. Out in transition, Vandy ranks 320th in effective field goal percentage with a laughably bad 48.1%. The Commodores know their shortcomings and slow the pace as a result, ranking 220th in possessions per game. They also aren't the type to light it up from deep either, sporting just a 30.7% split there (301st).

The total has been set at 145 or higher in two Vanderbilt games so far this season, and both went Under, with one by a whopping 34 points. Kentucky has played in seven games with a total set that high, and has played 4-2-1 to the Under as well.

Pick: Under 145 (-105)

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