Arizona Wildcats vs. Tennessee Volunteers Picks, Predictions, Odds

Dec. 22, 2021
Dave Schwab
VI Betting Expert

One of the top college basketball matchups on Wednesday night’s betting board pits the Pac- 12’s No. 6 Arizona Wildcats on the road against the SEC’s No. 19 Tennessee Volunteers. Game time from Thompson-Boling Arena is set for 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

Score Prediction

Arizona 88, Tennessee 82

Best Bets

Over 149.5 (-110) at DraftKings

Arizona Wildcats vs. Tennessee Volunteers Predictions

The Wildcats remain one of the few unbeaten teams in the nation straight-up at 11-0. In the only game closing as underdogs, they beat Michigan by 18 points getting 3.5 points on the closing spread. Going on the road against a ranked team will be another tough test, but one Arizona should pass with a 12 th SU victory in as many games.

Tennessee has earned its national ranking with a SU 8-2 record in its first 10 games. The two losses came against Villanova as a two-point underdog and Texas Tech favored by four. This will be the Volunteers’ final nonconference matchup ahead of its SEC opener against Alabama on Dec. 29.

While my lean on the side is towards Arizona as the better all-around team, Tennessee is more than capable of winning as well. I see offense as the focal point on Wednesday night between two programs that know how to put points on the board. The Volunteers are going to have to outscore the Wildcats to win as opposed to shutting them down on defense. That, in turn, should take the total OVER the betting line.

Arizona Wildcats vs. Tennessee Volunteers Betting Odds

  • Arizona +2 (-110)
  • Tennessee -2 (-110)
  • Over 149.5 (-110)
  • Under 149.5 (-110)

More Odds | Futures Odds

Arizona Wildcats vs. Tennessee Volunteers Betting Resources

  • Matchup: Pac-12 vs. SEC
  • Date: Wednesday, December 22, 2021
  • Venue: Thompson-Boling Arena
  • Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
  • TV-Time: ESPN2 - 7:00 p.m. ET

Arizona Wildcats Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 11-0
  • ATS: 8-2-1
  • O/U: 8-3

As an elite team in Division I ball, Arizona ranks No. 1 in the country when it comes to scoring with an average of 91.0 points per game. The Wildcats have not tallied fewer than 83 points in each of their last six games. As a result of this lofty average, the total has gone OVER in eight of their first 11 games. They are 8-2-1 against the closing spread.

Scoring runs deep in this lineup with four different players averaging at least 12 PPG. GuardBennedict Mathurin leads the way with 17.4 points followed closely by forward Azuolas Tubeliswith 16.1 points a game. Center Christian Koloko (13.6 points) leads the team in rebounds, averaging 7.3 a game. Guard Kerr Kriisa (11.8 points) is adding a team-high 5.4 assists.

Overall, the Wildcats are shooting 49.7% from the field and 34.8% from three-point range. Mathurin is connecting on 49.3% of his shots from the field with a shooting average of 38.5% from beyond the three-point line.

As the country’s top scoring team, Arizona is also high on the list in rebounds with 44.4 a game. This includes 13.3 on the offensive end of the court. Defensively, the Wildcats are holding opposing teams to 62.8 PPG.

Tennessee Volunteers Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 8-2
  • ATS: 6-4
  • O/U: 5-5

Tennessee only managed to score 52 points in the loss to Texas Tech on Dec. 7. However, it has scored at least 80 points in six of its other nine games. With 96 points in a recent blowout against USC Upstate, the total easily went OVER the closing 137.5-point line.

Leading the way in an offensive effort that is scoring an average of 78.5 PPG, the Volunteers have a trio of players in double figures. Guard Kennedy Chandler has had the hottest hand with 14.6 points a game. He also leads the team in assists (5.4) while shooting 47.9% from the field and 40% from three-point range.

Guard Santiago Vescovi is next on the list with 13.1 PPG. His field goal percentage stands at 42.6 and he has made good on 37% of his 73 three-point attempts. Forward John Fulkerson(8.3 points) is pulling down a team-high 6.2 rebounds a game.

Tennessee is shooting 45.8% from the field and 34% from three-point range. Of this team’s 38.8 rebounds a game, an average of 12.6 have been on offense. The Volunteers’ strong suit this season has been at the other end of the court behind a defensive effort that is allowing 57.9 PPG.

Arizona has gone OVER the point total in eight of its last 11 games. (AP)

Inside the Stats - Arizona Wildcats

  • Record: 11-0
  • VI Ranking: 2
  • PS/G: 91 (1st)
  • PA/G: 62.8 (72nd)
  • ORtg: 118.3 (7th)
  • DRtg: 81.7 (6th)

Inside the Stats - Tennessee Volunteers

  • Record: 8-2
  • VI Ranking: 24
  • PS/G: 78.5 (65th)
  • PA/G: 57.9 (16th)
  • ORtg: 111.7 (40th)
  • DRtg: 82.4 (9th)

Key Players to Watch

  • ZONA: Bennedict Mathurin - G (17.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg)
  • ZONA: Azuolas Tubelis - F (16.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg)
  • TENN: Kennedy Chandler - G (14.6 ppg, 5.4 apg)
  • TENN: Santiago Vescovi - G (13.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg)

Arizona Wildcats vs. Tennessee Volunteers Betting Conclusion

If Arizona has any aspirations of cracking the top five in the national rankings, it needs to come away with one last quality road win in its non-conference schedule. Tennessee knows that a victory on Wednesday night would be strong addition to its early season resume.

Each of these teams know how to play excellent defense. However, I see this matchup adding up to more points than the current total line suggests. As mentioned, Tennessee’s top shooters are going to have to outscore Arizona’s gunners as opposed to slowing them down.

This will be the second meeting between these two teams all time. Arizona won the only previous meeting 73-72 as a three-point home underdog in 1998.

Arizona Wildcats vs. Tennessee Volunteers Betting Trends

  • Arizona has gone OVER the point total in eight of its last 11 games.
  • Arizona has won 11 straight games.
  • Arizona has covered the spread in eight of its last 11 games.
  • Arizona has covered the spread in three of its last four games away from Tucson.
  • Tennessee has covered the spread in six of its last nine games when playing as the favorite.