Kentucky vs. Auburn odds: 2019 NCAA Tournament picks, Elite 8 predictions from advanced model on 11-5 heater

The Kentucky Wildcats and Auburn Tigers meet for the third time this season on Sunday, but this game has a berth to the 2019 Final Four on the line. The 2-seed Wildcats (30-6) and 5-seed Tigers (29-9) clash in Kansas City at 2:20 p.m. ET in a 2019 NCAA Tournament Elite 8 showdown that you can watch on CBS. Kentucky held off Houston on Friday in the Sweet 16, while Auburn overwhelmed No. 1 North Carolina. The Wildcats are favored by 4.5 in the latest Kentucky vs. Auburn odds, up two from the opener, while the over-under is 142.5. Kentucky beat Auburn twice during the regular season, but this game is on a neutral site and has much more on the line. That's why you'll want to consult the optimal Kentucky vs. Auburn picks from SportsLine's advanced computer model.

This model, which simulates every game 10,000 times, has raked in the winnings for those following its picks. Over the past two years, the SportsLine Projection Model has returned over $4,000 to $100 players on its top-rated college basketball picks. It's also on fire in the 2019 NCAA Tournament, calling 14 of the Sweet 16 teams straight-up. Anyone who has followed it is way ahead.

Now the model has dialed in on Kentucky vs. Auburn. We can tell you it is leaning over, and it also has an extremely strong against-the-spread pick that cashes in well over 60 percent of simulations. That one is only available at SportsLine.

The model knows Kentucky has a distinct size and rebounding advantage over Auburn, compounded even more because Tigers 6-8 sophomore Chuma Okeke won't play after tearing his ACL against North Carolina. Kentucky averages 10.2 offensive rebounds per game and grabs 76.5 percent of available defensive boards. Auburn grabs only 69.1 percent of them, good for just 315th in the country, and the Tigers are 259th in offensive rebounds allowed. The bottom line: Kentucky could have a field day on the glass.

John Calipari's team will also have their top scorer and rebounder, P.J. Washington (14.8 points per game, 7.4 boards per game), who returned from two games off with a foot injury to score 16 in the Wildcats' 62-58 win over Houston. Tyler Herro and Washington combined for 35 points against the Cougars.

While the name on the front of the jersey doesn't mean much, Kentucky and its players are used to this level of spotlight and pressure. The Wildcats have 17 Final Four appearances, including four since 2011, plus eight national championships. Auburn has never made it to the Final Four.

But just because the Wildcats have dominated the Tigers doesn't mean they'll cover the Kentucky vs. Auburn spread on Saturday in the 2019 Elite Eight. 

That's because no team is as hot as Auburn, which claimed the SEC Tournament championship after tying South Carolina for fourth in the conference in the regular season at 11-7. The Tigers, making their 10th NCAA Tournament appearance and second in a row, are 15-9 all-time in the Big Dance. Auburn has an advantage over the Wildcats in points (79.1 per game to 76.4) and 3-point percentage (38.1 to 35.8).

The Tigers are third in NCAA history with 438 three-pointers in a season, tied with VMI (2009). Senior guard Bryce Brown is deadly from 3-point range. He scored 25 points in a second-round upset of Kansas and is second in SEC history with 374 treys. 

So who wins Auburn vs. Kentucky? And which side of the spread can you bank on in well over 60 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Auburn vs. Kentucky spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that is up more than $4,000 on its college basketball picks, and find out.

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