Tennessee vs Mississippi State SEC Tournament Picks and Predictions: Dogs Won't Die Easily

In a grind-it-out, low-scoring game, the margins can be slim — especially with a spot in the SEC Tournament semis on the line. Find out why we're backing the Bulldogs to put up a serious fight with our Tennessee vs. Mississippi State picks.

Last Updated: Mar 11, 2022 10:30 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Garrison Brooks Mississippi State Bulldogs SEC Tournament
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee Volunteers and Mississippi State Bulldogs face off in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals on Friday night.

The Vols finished the regular season as one of the hottest teams in the country and are aiming for their first conference championship in more than 40 years. Oddsmakers are expecting a low-scoring contest with college basketball betting lines opening with the Vols as 6.5-point faves and an Over/Under of 131.

Here are our best free Tennessee vs. Mississippi State college basketball picks and predictions for March 11.

Tennessee vs Mississippi State odds

This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.

The line hit the board at Tennessee -6.5 with an Over/Under of 131. Early money has come in on the Vols and the Under, shifting the line to -8 and moving the total to 130.5.

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.

Tennessee vs Mississippi State predictions

Predictions made on 3/11/2022 at 10 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Tennessee vs Mississippi State game info

Location: Amalie Arena, Tampa, FL
Date: Friday, March 11, 2022
Tip-off: 6:00 p.m. ET
TV: SEC Network

Tennessee vs Mississippi State betting preview


Tennessee: Olivier Nkamhoua F (Out).
Mississippi State: Rocket Watts G (Out).
Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Under is 8-3 in the Bulldogs' last 11 games overall. Find more NCAA betting trends for Tennessee vs. Mississippi State.

Tennessee vs Mississippi State picks and predictions

Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.

Spread analysis

The Vols closed out their regular season winning nine of their last 10 games with their only defeat coming on the road against Arkansas — a loss they got revenge for with a 78-74 victory over the Razorbacks last Saturday. That span also included big wins against Auburn and Kentucky, as well as a 72-63 road victory versus Mississippi State. 

That was part of a rough stretch for the Bulldogs, who went 4-9 straight up and 5-8 against the spread in their final 13 games of the regular season. However, Mississippi State showed out last night in a 73-51 rout of South Carolina.

The Bulldogs held South Carolina to 28% shooting and had a plus-13 rebounding margin while outscoring them by 20 points in the second half. First-team All-SEC guard Iverson Molinar finished with 19 points against the Gamecocks and leads the school with 17.9 points and 3.6 assists per game. 

That advantage on the boards has been an area of strength all season, with MSU boasting a massive starting frontcourt of Garrison Brooks (10.4 points and 6.7 rebounds per game), Tolu Smith, and D.J. Jeffries. That length doesn't end with their starting lineup, as their top three players off the bench all measure 6-foot-7 or taller. 

That size has helped the Bulldogs rank 22nd in the country in rebounding rate and could make the difference in this one. The Vols have a terrific backcourt, featuring freshman Kennedy Chandler (13.7 points and 4.6 assists per game) and Santiago Vescovi but their bigs aren't nearly as good  — especially after losing starting forward Olivier Nkamhoua to a season-ending injury last month. 

Neither of these teams plays at a fast pace and both can lockdown on the defensive end of the floor, which will make second chances especially important in a low-scoring game with fewer possessions. Back the Bulldogs with the points.

Prediction: Mississippi State +8 (-110)

Over/Under analysis

This total is the lowest of the SEC tournament so far, but we're still leaning towards the Under. Mississippi State has played very well on defense lately, limiting opponents to fewer than 70 points in regulation in seven straight games.

That said, the Bulldogs are averaging just 65.4 ppg of their own over their last 11 games and even last night shot just 39% from the field. Now they take on a Vols team that holds foes to just 63.3 ppg on 40.5 FG% and ranks third in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency according to KenPom.

Keep in mind that while Tennessee and MSU totaled 135 points when they previously met up this season, they combined to shoot 49.5% from the floor and 39.4% from beyond the arc in that contest — which is red-hot shooting by their usual mediocre standards.  

The trends also point in this direction with both schools going 2-6 O/U in their last eight games against teams with a winning record, and the Bulldogs going 8-3 to the Under in their previous 11 games overall.

Prediction: Under 130.5 (-110)

Best bet

We outlined the reasons why we think the Bulldogs will cover, and while the Vols have been winning lately, they are a middling 9-9 ATS since the calendar flipped to 2022. Mississippi State matches up fairly well with Tennessee in terms of length and athleticism and their dominance on the boards should help them keep this game closer than this line suggests.

With the spread also getting bigger since hitting the board, we're liking our chances with the underdogs even more. 

Pick: Mississippi State +8 (-110)

College basketball parlays

Did you know that if you parlayed our Tennessee vs. Mississippi State picks, you could win $26.45 on a $10 bet?

Use our college basketball parlay calculator to create your own parlays and see their potential payouts.

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