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NCAA Men’s Basketball SEC Tournament Betting Preview: Kentucky and Auburn Both Solid Contenders

Auburn is the top seed, but Kentucky is the betting favorite to win the conference tournament at SI Sportsbook.

The SEC tournament will commence on Wednesday and run through Sunday from Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla.

The Kentucky Wildcats, the betting favorites (+190) at SI Sportsbook, will be seeking their fifth title in the last seven years but they will not have an easy path. John Calipari’s club, which is the No. 2 seed, will likely have to face Tennessee in the semifinals before potentially facing Auburn or Arkansas in the championship game.

The Auburn Tigers, who possess the rumored No. 1 pick in this year’s NBA Draft in Jabari Smith, enter the SEC tournament as the No. 1 seed off the strength of their fourth straight 25-win season. Despite earning the top seed, oddsmakers have installed the Tigers as the second overall betting choice at +260.

Thanks to the double bye, Auburn, Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas will not play until Friday in the quarterfinals.

Conference tournament betting previews: Big Ten | ACC | Big East | Big 12 | Pac-12

Image courtesy of the SEC Conference

Image courtesy of the SEC Conference

SEC Conference Betting Odds:

Kentucky +190
Auburn +260
Tennessee +330
Arkansas +750
LSU +1000
Alabama +1500
Florida +4000
Mississippi State +5000
Texas A&M +7000
Vanderbilt +25000
South Carolina +10000
Ole Miss +50000
Missouri +50000
Georgia +50000

Check the Latest NCAA Men's Basketball Lines and Odds at SI Sportsbook

Oscar Tshiebwe flexes after scoring vs. Kansas

CONTENDERS

No. 1 seed Auburn Tigers (27-4; 19-12 ATS; 15-3 SEC) +260

After earning the No. 1 overall ranking in national polls for the first time in school history several weeks ago, Auburn lost three of its last eight games but hung on to earn the No. 1 seed in the SEC tournament. The Tigers do hold a 24-3 SU mark since losing to No. 25 UConn in November. Freshman forward Jabari Smith (17.1 ppg) is the player Bruce Pearl’s club will rely on in the month of March. Smith has shown no signs of hitting the “freshman wall” averaging 24.8 points per game over the Tigers' last five games. However, Smith will need consistent support from players like K.D. Johnson (12.7 ppg) and Wendell Green (12.0 ppg).

No. 2 seed Kentucky Wildcats (25-6 SU, 14-16-1 ATS, 14-4 SEC) +190

The Wildcats are 14-3 in their last 17 games, but have lost to both Arkansas and Tennessee over the last several weeks. Projected NBA lottery pick TyTy Washington's nagging leg injury resulted in only 14 points of production combined in both of those losses and the Wildcats clearly need the talented Washington to get healthy. Kentucky is 2-5 vs ranked teams and will need a strong showing in the SEC tournament to secure a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. The Wildcats receive balanced scoring offense with four players averaging double digits, with the clear standout being junior forward Oscar Tshiebwe (17.3 ppg, 15.3 rbg).

No. 3 seed Tennessee Volunteers (23-7; 17-13 ATS, 14-4 SEC) +330

Tennessee has won 10 of its last 11 games with an impressive resume that includes signature wins over Auburn, Kentucky and Arizona. The Volunteers receive solid production from their backcourt duo of Kennedy Chandler (13.7 ppg) and Santiago Vescovi (13.5 ppg). Since the start of January, the dynamic pair has led the team in scoring in 13 of the 18 games for Rick Barnes’s squad. Both players were instrumental in the win over Arkansas in the regular season finale, draining 8 of 10 from beyond the arc in an important 78-74 victory that locked up the No. 3 seed in the SEC tournament.

No. 4 seed Arkansas Razorbacks (24-7; 19-11-1 ATS, 13-5 SEC) +750

Arkansas is one of the hottest teams in the country, winning 14 of its last 16 games. The Razorbacks have rewarded bettors with an incredibly lucrative 13-2-1 ATS mark over that stretch. Senior guard JD Notae is the SEC’s second leading scorer behind only Scottie Pippen Jr. of Vanderbilt at 18.9 points per game. Senior South Dakota transfer Stanley Umude has been outstanding for Eric Musselman’s squad, shooting 36.4% from deep. Sophomore forward Jaylin Williams is the leader on Arkansas’ frontline, posting a double-double in seven of his last eight games helping the Razorbacks to profile as the best sleeper value at odds of +750.

Frankie’s Breakdown:

The presence and dominance of Tshiebwe in the middle is why Kentucky lands as our pick to win the SEC tournament. TyTy Washington needs to get healthy ahead of a potential showdown with War Eagle in the championship game. Any time we can get the No. 1 seed with a player of Jabari Smith’s talent at solid plus-odds, they immediately slot in as our “value play.”

Pick: Kentucky +190
Value: Auburn +260

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2022 SEC Tournament schedule

Location: Amalie Arena -- Tampa, Florida

First round -- Wednesday, March 9

Game 1: No. 12 Missouri vs. No. 13 Ole Miss | 6 p.m. EST | SEC Network

Game 2: No. 11 Vanderbilt vs. No. 14 Georgia | 25 minutes after Game 1 | SEC Network

Second round -- Thursday, March 10

Game 3: No. 8 Texas A&M vs. No. 9 Florida | 12 p.m. EST | SEC Network

Game 4: No. 5 LSU vs. Game 1 winner | 25 minutes after Game 3 | SEC Network

Game 5: No. 7 South Carolina vs. No. 10 Mississippi St | 6 p.m. EST | SEC Network

Game 6: No. 6 Alabama vs. Game 2 winner | 25 minutes after Game 5 | SEC Network

Quarterfinals -- Friday, March 11

Game 7: No. 1 Auburn vs. Game 3 winner | 12 p.m. EST | ESPN

Game 8: No. 4 Arkansas vs. Game 4 winner | 25 minutes after Game 7 | ESPN

Game 9: No. 2 Tennessee vs. Game 5 winner | 6 p.m. EST | SEC Network

Game 10: No. 3 Kentucky vs. Game 6 winner | 25 minutes after Game 9 | SEC Network

Semifinals -- Saturday, March 12

Game 11: Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner | 1 p.m. EST | ESPN

Game 12: Game 9 winner vs. Game 10 winner |25 minutes after Game 11 | ESPN

SEC Tournament Championship Game -- Sunday, March 13

Game 13: Game 11 winner vs. Game 12 winner | 1 pm ET | ESPN

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Check Out the Latest Odds at SI Sportsbook

2020: All SI Betting are hoping to pick right up where we left last season when our NCAA tournament betting plays yielded major financial success, thanks to Alabama (+220), Illinois (+375) and Georgia Tech (+2500) all delivering conference tournament championship victories in the SEC, Big Ten and ACC, respectively, for all members here at SI Betting!

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Frankie Taddeo is a successful high-stakes fantasy football player who created the first-ever DFS program ever offered in a Las Vegas sportsbook. Frankie is SI Betting's Senior Analyst and provides his significant experience and resources in the sports betting scene. You can follow Frankie on Twitter @Frankie_Fantasy for his latest betting and fantasy insights from Las Vegas.