The 10th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats are easing into the season, and another tune-up comes Monday at Rupp Arena against the Central Michigan Chippewas. The Wildcats (5-1) opened the season with a 79-71 loss to Duke in the Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden and are now on a seven-game stretch against vastly inferior nonconference foes. UK faces Southern next Tuesday before taking on Notre Dame, Ohio State and Louisville in the coming weeks. Coach John Calipari is trying to have his revamped roster ready, and the Wildcats have won every game by at least 18 since the opener. The Chippewas lost by 53 points to Gonzaga last Monday, and their only win was by one point against Eastern Illinois two weeks ago.
Tipoff in in Lexington, Ky., is set for 7 p.m. ET. Caesars Sportsbook lists the Wildcats as the 30.5-point favorites in its latest Kentucky vs. Central Michigan odds, and the over-under is set at 147.5. Before making any Central Michigan vs. Kentucky picks, check out the college basketball predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every Division I college basketball game 10,000 times. Over the past five-plus years, the proprietary computer model has generated an impressive profit of almost $2,100 for $100 players on its top-rated college basketball picks against the spread. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.
- Kentucky vs. Central Michigan spread: Wildcats -30.5
- Kentucky vs. Central Michigan over-under: 147.5 points
- CMU: It is 17-15-3 as a road underdog since 2018.
- KY: It is 22-20 ATS in nonconference games since 2018.
Why Kentucky can cover
Kentucky is 6-7 against the spread in nonconference games since the start of 2020-21, but it is 3-2 ATS at home this season. It has won four games by at least 25 points and is averaging more than 83 points per game (27th in Division I) while giving up just 61 (55th). The Chippewas, meanwhile, are scoring fewer than 64 points per game (303rd in Division I) and allowing more than 84 (346th). UK also has a huge edge in rebounding, averaging 46 per game to CMU's 29, and the Wildcats have the nation's leading rebounder in Oscar Tshiebwe (16 per game).
The Wildcats shoot 49.3 percent from the field (29th in the nation) and the Chippewas hit at just a 39.4 percent clip (303rd). CMU opponents are shooting 50.2 percent, giving them the worst defensive mark in the nation. The Wildcats have three players averaging more than 13 points, while CMU's leading scorer averages just 13.6. Guard TyTy Washington is the leading scorer at 14.8, forward Keion Brooks scores 14.2 and Tshiebwe chips in 13.6. Kellan Grady is the team's 3-point specialist, hitting 12 of his 26 shots (46.2 percent) while scoring 9.7 points per game.
Why Central Michigan can cover
CMU is 10-13-2 ATS as a road underdog and 21-28-4 in regular-season games since the start of last season. It has lost by more than 10 twice this season, against DePaul and No. 1 Gonzaga. It was demolished by the Zags, but Kentucky might not be that caliber. Both teams are average in 3-point shooting, but CMU hits a higher percentage from outside at 35.4 (121st) while the Wildcats shoot 34.6 (149th). Jermaine Jackson and Harrison Henderson combined for 38 points and hit seven of 13 3-pointers in a 76-69 loss to Bellarmine on Tuesday.
Jackson and Henderson are the top scorers, with Jackson scoring 13.6 per game and adding three assists, while Henderson scores 10.8 and gets five rebounds. Forward Ralph Bissainthe has made an impact in the past two games, pulling down 18 rebounds and getting four steals. New coach Tony Barbee, who spent the past seven seasons as a UK assistant, has some size to work with in 6-11 Miroslav Stafl (9.3 points per game) and 6-10 Caleb Hodgson (4.0).
How to make Central Michigan vs. Kentucky picks
SportsLine's model is leaning over on the total, projecting 147 combined points. It also has generated an against-the-spread pick that cashes in over 60 percent of simulations. You can get the pick only at SportsLine.
So who wins Kentucky vs. Central Michigan? And which side of the spread can you bank on in over 60 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that has returned almost $2,100 on its college basketball picks the last five-plus years, and find out.