Local Athletics

Published on January 16th, 2019 | by TLV News


Betting on the Rebels Has Been a Bonanza

The Ole Miss Rebels are still getting no love from odds-makers, even after a 13-3 start that included an absolute demolition of #11 Auburn (82-67) and a road win over #14 Mississippi State (81-77).

According to Sportsbettingdime.com’s NCAA Tournament odds tracker, Ole Miss is not among the top-five SEC contenders in the March Madness futures, sitting at an average of +25000 (250/1) to win the tournament, well behind …

  • Tennessee: +1300 (13/1)
  • Kentucky: +1600 (16/1)
  • Auburn: +2800 (28/1)
  • Mississippi State: +7200 (72/1)
  • Florida: +8300 (83/1)

Bovada, one of the biggest offshore sportsbooks, doesn’t even have the Rebs on the board.

The outlook for this team at the start of the year was understandably gloomy. Andy Katz (and many others) picked them to bring up the rear in the SEC, and not even the most optimistic fans predicted a 13-3 record through the first 16 games. This team went 12-20 last year, finished dead-last in the SEC, and returned mostly the same players.

But, at this point, there has been a big enough sample size to say that this is more than a lucky hot streak, and if odds-makers don’t start giving Ole Miss basketball a little more credit, they could get burned.

The Rebels have the best record in the entire nation against the spread, currently sitting at 14-2. They have pounded the teams they should pound, like Louisiana-Monroe and Florida Gulf-Coast, and been tireless competitors on the road.

Kermit Davis has improved the team in all facets in his first year, continuing the strong track record he brought from Middle Tennessee.

Last year, the Rebels finished 108th overall in the KenPom rankings, which measures teams by their offensive and defensive efficiency. They were the only SEC team outside the top 100.

This year?

They are up to 37th. Their offense ranks 28th (40 spots better than last year) and their defense ranks 68th (a full 100 spots better than last year). It’s that defensive improvement that should really make people into believers.

Even if Breein Tyree (17.2 PPG 39.0 3P%) and Terence Davis (16.1 PPG, 42.3 3P%) regress in terms of their shooting – which they probably will, since Tyree is a career 35.2% from three and Davis is 34.1% — defense is about hustle and scheme more than individual talent.

Davis’ MTSU squads always had a solid scheme and always hustled. They finished 35th in defensive efficiency in his final season and were regularly in the top 50, despite never having a four or five-star recruit during Davis’ tenure (according to the records at 247sports.com).

As long as his players keep putting in the effort, Davis’ Rebels will keep getting results. While a Final Four run would be a stretch, they should continue to outperform odds-makers projections on a game-by-game basis until sportsbooks adjust to the new reality of Ole Miss basketball.

The Local Voice Ligature
Ole Miss Lands at No. 13 in Baseball America Preseason Top 25
Ole Miss Football Coach Looks Ahead to Rebels’ Matchup with No. 1 Alabama

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About the Author

The Local Voice is a bimonthly entertainment guide and newspaper based in Oxford, Mississippi, covering and distributed in North Central Mississippi, including Oxford, Ole Miss, Taylor, Abbeville, Water Valley, Lafayette County, Yalobusha County, and parts of Panola County, Marshall County, and Tupelo . The Local Voice is distributed free to over 255 locations in North Mississippi and also available as a full color PDF download worldwide on the internet.

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