Kentucky is making its third straight NCAA Tournament appearance and record 60th all-time, albeit with lower expectations than normal. Despite a No. 4 preseason ranking, the Wildcats dropped out of the AP poll in January and floundered through most of SEC play before finally returning to the top 25 in late February.
The Wildcats are seeded sixth, their lowest seeding since 2014 when they reached the NCAA title game, and will play No. 11 seed Providence in the first round of the East Regional on Friday in Greensboro, N.C. Tip-off is slated for 7:10 p.m. on CBS.
Read on for my Kentucky vs Providence prediction and best bets.
Kentucky vs Providence Odds
Note: CBB odds mentioned in this article for Kentucky vs Providence were used from DraftKings Sportsbook, unless otherwise noted, and are current as of Wednesday, March 15, at 12:30 p.m. ET.
- Moneyline: Kentucky (-180) | Providence (+155)
- Spread: Kentucky -3.5 (-115) | Providence +3.5 (-105)
- Over/Under: Over 144 (-105) | Under 144 (-115)
Kentucky vs Providence Pick of the Day
Keep reading for more Kentucky vs Providence betting tips.
Kentucky vs Providence Prediction
Kentucky 76, Providence 73
Just when Kentucky appeared to be getting back on track, a poor showing in the SEC Tournament raised more doubts about its prospects this March. The Wildcats look more like a pretender than a contender.
Still, I’m confident in Kentucky’s ability to score, so long as star center Oscar Tshiebwe avoids foul trouble. Providence ranks just 210th in the country in opponents field goal percentage (44.2).
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Kentucky vs Providence Best Bets
Over 144 Total Points (-105) | DraftKings Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 Unit
Kentucky has its faults, but scoring isn’t one of them. The Wildcats have plenty of viable shooters, with Antonio Reeves and Jacob Toppin, and can always pound the ball inside for high-percentage looks through Tshiebwe.
Providence, meanwhile, is just as capable offensively. Thanks to former Wildcat Bryce Hopkins, who is averaging 16.1 points per game, the Friars rank top 40 nationally in scoring.
Expect plenty of points to be scored.
Providence +3.5 (-105) | DraftKings Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 unit(s)
Providence went 18-14 against the spread this year and should produce enough through Hopkins and Ed Croswell to hang with a Kentucky team that ranks 116th in scoring defense.
Kentucky vs Providence Same Game Parlay
Kentucky vs Providence SGP (+370) | DraftKings Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 Unit
- Providence +3.5 (-120)
- Kentucky Over 72.5 (-145)
This isn’t a vintage Kentucky team. Expect Providence to keep it close.
Ultimately, it should come down to the Wildcats having a few more options to outlast the Friars.