- The SEC Tournament runs from March 11-15 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee
- Kentucky is favored to win its fifth title in six years, while defending champion Auburn has the second shortest odds
- See the full field odds and the best pick to earn the NCAA Tournament bid below
No. 6 Kentucky is the betting favorite at this year’s SEC Tournament that runs from Wednesday, March 11 to Sunday, March 15 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.
The Wildcats are seeking their fifth title in the last six years but will be in tough against a loaded field that includes defending champion and 17th ranked Auburn.
2020 SEC Tournament Odds
|Kentucky Wildcats (1)||+150|
|Auburn Tigers (2)||+275|
|Florida Gators (5)||+400|
|LSU Tigers (3)||+550|
|Mississippi State Bulldogs (4)||+1000|
|Tennessee Volunteers (8)||+1200|
|Alabama Crimson Tide (9)||+3300|
|South Carolina Gamecocks (6)||+3300|
|Arkansas Razorbacks (11)||+4000|
|Georgia Bulldogs (13)||+10000|
|Ole Miss Rebels (12)||+10000|
|Texas A&M Aggies (7)||+10000|
|Missouri Tigers (10)||+15000|
|Vanderbilt Commodores (14)||+10000|
Odds taken March 8th.
The top-four seeds all get a double-bye before seeing their first action in the quarterfinals on Friday, which could be especially valuable for the Wildcats. The status of Kentucky’s starting point guard Ashton Hagans is currently up in the air after he temporarily stepped away from the team last week.
SEC Tournament Bracket
Hagans Absent From Regular Season Finale
Hagans missed UK’s regular season finale versus Florida for personal reasons telling Coach John Calipari he was “in a bad way”. The team fully expects him to return for the conference tournament, but that decision will ultimately be left to Hagans. The 6-foot-3 sophomore is one of best defenders in the nation but has struggled mightily in his past 10 games.
Ashton did not make the trip with us to Florida. He and I met a couple days ago and he asked to step away for a couple days for personal reasons. I support his decision. We are going to need him at 100% for the postseason.
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) March 7, 2020
His offensive totals are down across the board since the start of February, and his points per game have dropped to 8.2. He’s shooting just 34.5% from the field and a woeful 17.4% from three. He’s averaging two fewer assists per outing and committing 3.6 turnovers.
If Kentucky is going to make a serious push for another SEC crown, they’re going to need their starting point guard to return and play up to his potential.
Shaky Recent Form
The need for Hagans’ return is amplified thanks to a very shaky past two games from Kentucky. The Wildcats blew a 17-point lead on their home court Tuesday versus Tennessee, en route to a disappointing loss, and then needed to rally from 18 down at Florida on Saturday.
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) March 7, 2020
Prior to those two outings, Kentucky had won 14 of its past 16 and looked like an elite contender in the 2020 National Championship odds. Their improbable comeback versus the Gators can be viewed in two different ways; either the catalyst that propels them to another SEC title and a deep March Madness run, or another sign that this team is vulnerable and can’t be trusted. Don’t forget, they lost to a 9-win Evansville team on their home court earlier this season.
Auburn’s Ceiling is Sky High
While most bettors will likely plunk their money down on the Wildcats to win the conference tourney, I’m more inclined to bet Auburn. The Tigers are fresh off completing their third straight 25-win season and beat Kentucky easily earlier this year.
Last year’s SEC champion’s ceiling is sky high and they looked like absolute world beaters versus Tennessee on Saturday. Auburn shot 50% from the field and 43.8% from 3 to blow out the Volunteers by 22.
The performance reminded head coach Bruce Pearl of the 2018-19 Tigers, which is a great sign now that the stakes have been raised in March. That team won four games in four days to take down the conference title and followed that up with an amazing run all the way to the Final Four.
— Auburn Basketball (@AuburnMBB) March 7, 2020
This year’s team is loaded with seniors and is led by guard Samir Doughty. The 6-foot-4 sharpshooter is one of four Tigers to average in double-figures and poured in eight 3’s and 32 points versus Tennessee.
Auburn’s shooting can be inconsistent at times, but they’re certainly not shy. The Tigers rank second in the conference in three-point attempts and to compensate for cold spells they frequently get to the rim. No team in the nation gets to the charity stripe more often and they rank first in the SEC in offensive rebounds.
They were 1-1 versus Kentucky this season and in both games held the Wildcats below 43% from the field.
Pick: Auburn +275
SBD’s NCAA conference tournament coverage:
- 2020 Big South Tournament Opening Odds: Radford -110 Favorite
- Colgate Team to Beat in Patriot League Tournament Opening Odds
- 2020 NEC Tournament Opening Odds
- 2020 Summit League Tournament Opening Odds
- America East Tournament Opening Odds Favor Vermont by a Huge Margin
- 2020 MEAC Tournament Opening Odds
- Florida State Favored in ACC Tournament Opening Odds; Duke +200, Louisville +275
- Texas State Favored in Sun Belt Conference Tournament Opening Odds
- Mac Tournament Opening Odds Favor Akron at +145; Ball State at +360
- Big Ten Tournament Opening Odds Favor Michigan State & Maryland; Co-Regular Season Champion Wisconsin Just +1200
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