The Memphis Tigers are set to play their first true road game of the 2012-13 NCAA basketball season Friday night, as they take on the Tennessee Volunteers at Thompson-Boling Arena.


Let’s take a closer look at beating the betting odds for this non-conference affair.

Three wins in a row

Memphis has won its last three games since suffering an 87-78 setback to the Louisville Cardinals on Dec. 15, which includes a 78-64 victory over Loyola-Maryland as 14.5-point home favorites Sunday. The Tigers are 3-6 against the spread (ATS) on the year, while the OVER is a perfect 4-0 when a total has been sent out on one of their games.

Image previewSix-game homestand continues

Tennessee has compiled a perfect 6-0 record at home this season, while head coach Cuonzo Martin has compiled a 21-4 mark at this venue since taking over the program before the 2011-12 campaign. The Volunteers are outscoring opponents by 13.2 points per game in Knoxville, while also enjoying a plus-five rebounding advantage. The program is 6-2 ATS at home when the total is between 120 and 129.5 over the last two-plus seasons.

Key injury

Sports bettors need to keep a watchful eye on injury news for this in-state rivalry, as Tigers forward Tarik Black is listed as doubtful due to nursing a groin injury. The junior forward is averaging 10.9 points and 5.0 rebounds per game this season, while also scoring 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting in a 69-51 victory over the Volunteers as eight-point home favorites in the last meeting in this series.

Even series

The Volunteers have tallied a 14-10 all-time record against Memphis, as the two schools are separated by 381 miles on I-40. Tennessee has dropped the last two meetings, but it’s important to note that no team has won more than two games in a row in this series since 2000. In terms of betting trends, Friday night’s host is 7-2 ATS in the last nine meetings, while the underdog has taken the cash in eight of the last 10.

Success against the SEC

The Tigers have won 17 of their last 24 games against Southeastern Conference opponents, but are just 1-3 ATS in that situation over the last two-plus seasons. Of the 12 games played in Knoxville in this series, seven were true road openers for Memphis, which is an important factor to consider when handicapping this affair.

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Volunteers as one of their NCAA basketball picks—as long as Black is officially ruled out for the Tigers. Both teams are shooting 33 percent or less from long range this season, which makes his injury significant in a game that will be decided in the paint.

College Basketball Pick: Tennessee Volunteers -2 at Bookmaker