Kentucky vs Auburn Preview & Free Pick [2/17/24]

Kentucky (17-7) at Auburn (20-5)
When: Saturday, February 17th, 2024
Where: Neville Arena,
Auburn, AL

Time: 6:00 ET | TV: ESPN
Opening Odds: Auburn -7/163

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The last seven times these teams have met, the home team has come out victorious and has covered the spread in all but one. No. 13 Auburn looks to maintain that trend when it hosts No. 22 Kentucky on Saturday night at Neville Arena. The SEC is crowded up top with Alabama entering the weekend with a half-game lead over Auburn and South Carolina, while the Wildcats are two games back. Auburn opens up as a 7-point favorite with a total of 163 for this SEC clash.

The Tigers are hot, winning four of their last five games including a historical one on Valentines Day earlier this week. Auburn beat No. 11 South Carolina 101-61 for the program’s largest margin of victory ever over a ranked opponent. The Tigers responded well after an 81-65 setback at Florida last weekend. Auburn remains the only SEC school to have a perfect home record this season (13-0), although they are just 7-6 ATS at Neville.

The Wildcats have been an inconsistent group the last month, going 5-5 over their last 10 games, but remain ranked in the rugged SEC. Kentucky rebounded from three straight home losses (Florida, Tennessee, Gonzaga) by beating Ole Miss 75-63 at Rupp Arena on Tuesday. These teams played once last season with Kentucky coming away with an 86-54 drubbing on home floor.

Kentucky’s defense came alive in the win over Ole Miss on Tuesday with Ugonna Onyenso leading the way with 10 blocked shots, two shy of the school record held by Nerlens Noel in 2013. Onyenso became the second player with 10+ blocks inside Rupp Arena, joining Hall of Famer David Robinson (Jan. 25, 1987). Onyesno has blocked 48 shots in 15 games this season. Antonio Reeves had a team-high 15 points and leads the Wildcats at 19.4 points a contest. Reed Sheppard scored 13 points and matched a career-best with five steals. Forward Tre Mitchell departed early in the second half with a shoulder injury and is questionable for Saturday.

Jaylin Williams led Auburn with 23 points and Johni Broome added 21 in the blowout victory over South Carolina. Williams was 5-of-7 from 3-point range while Broome made 4 of 5. The Tigers shot lights-out, hitting 12-of-20 from beyond the arc, while holding South Carolina to just 3-of-15. Broome leads Auburn in scoring (16.2), rebounding (8.4) and blocked shots (2.4), while Williams is second in scoring (13.4) and rebounding (4.9). Auburn won’t play again until next Saturday when they visit Georgia.

Auburn is the better team here, but Kentucky is too talented to be getting nine points against anyone. The Wildcats are the third-highest scoring team in the country and the second-best 3-point shooting team. Kentucky has also been a pretty good road team, going 11-4 ATS in their last 15 away from home. I’ll take the points.

Pick: Kentucky +9

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