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Kentucky vs. Missouri Preview: What We Can Learn from Vegas

Photos taken at Las Vegas.


It’s time to preview tonight’s match-up against the Missouri Tigers. I am not a basketball mind in the least. When it comes to breaking down and previewing games based on player match-ups and hardcore X’s and O’s, I am utterly useless. I leave that kind of stuff to the people who know what they’re talking about. So if you’re looking for an in depth scouting report for tonight’s game, you’re in the wrong place. I prefer to take a little different approach.

I’m a numbers guy, I prefer to preview games and make predictions based on the numbers and odds provided by our good friends in Vegas. Vegas has proven time and again to be incredibly accurate in predicting game outcomes. So when it comes to previewing games, I like to first look at what Vegas has to say.

(If you already know how gambling stuff works, you don’t need to read this part).

For those who don’t know how it works, various casinos in Vegas dump a bunch of raw data from each team into equations which are then calculated by computers, which then spit out a score projection. This score projection is used in determining the “point spread.” It’s all based on numbers, there is no bias involved whatsoever. When a point spread has been determined, people can then bet on one of the two teams, and depending where most of the money goes, the casinos will then adjust the spread accordingly. That’s pretty much the gist of it.

I previewed tonight’s game against Missouri based on the numbers in Vegas. These numbers can more often than not give us a relatively good idea of what to expect out of our boys tonight. Tonight’s spread, as of right now, is as follows:


Vegas has set the Cats at a 16-point favorite over Mizzou with a projected score of 88-68. Missouri is one of the worst teams in the SEC, and possibly the nation so a large spread was expected. Taking into consideration how bad Mizzou is and UK’s recent positive momentum, picking the Cat’s to cover seems like a no-brainer. Even though Kentucky is projected to cover, I don’t think it’s as easy of a pick as it seems when considering some other vital pieces of information.

Kentucky originally opened as a 16.5 point favorite, and that since has been bet down to 16. 61% of the money in Vegas has gone towards the Cats. Typically, the spread goes up when a majority of the money is being bet one way, but in the case of the Cats, the spread went down. For the non-gambling crowd, this is a classic case and is explained perfectly in an article at, it is the “reverse line movement” also known as “smart money.” Typically, when there is reverse line movement, a large wager by a single individual or gambling syndicate has been placed on the team the lesser amount of the money is going to, in this case, Missouri.

In the 2016-2017 season, betting on reverse line movement has about a 60% success rate, meaning betting against the public money works more times than not. So what does this mean in terms of tonight’s game? I wouldn’t be too confident in taking the Cat’s to cover that 16-point spread although I believe it will be close. So if you are expecting an absolute blowout tonight, the numbers suggest it could be closer than you think. Manage your expectations accordingly. Let’s hope Kentucky can defy the odds and leave Columbia with an impressive display of dominance. What does Vegas know anyway?

Article written by Barrett Lindsey

I drive a Saturn. Here's my twitter handle that you probably won't follow: @BarrySliceKSR

1 Comment for Kentucky vs. Missouri Preview: What We Can Learn from Vegas

  1. Rauh Gauh
    7:21 pm February 21, 2017 Permalink

    Bravo Barret. As a sports gambler these are the posts I like to see!