Wednesday’s main event features a top-10 showdown as the newly crowned number one Alabama Crimson Tide take on the Tennessee Volunteers. This is a contrast of styles that pit one of the most prolific offensive attacks against the number one defense in the nation. Tennessee has reeled as of late while Alabama remains undefeated in conference play. Can the Vols flip the script and get the win at home? Alabama Vs. Tennessee best prediction is under 144.5.
Alabama Vs. Tennessee Prediction & Pick
The Pick: Under 144.5
While I normally wait to see how high or low the total can go if it differs with what I’m looking for, I will place a wager on the current under with intentions of adding more should this number increase. This initial line movement makes no sense to me as bettors are siding with the Vols chances of winning, yet increasing the total. Should the Vols want to get the win, they would be wise to avoid a track meet against Bama.
That means slowing the tempo down to a snail’s pace, allowing their players to lock in on the defense end. This cuts off Bama’s desire to get points in transition, an area they are elite at as the second fastest team in the nation. Bama excels at finding holes and gaps against a reeling defense while in transition, putting up points in a hurry from a barrage of perimeter looks. Tennessee can’t afford to match that pace as their offense is prone to being anemic at times.
The constant onslaught of scoring doesn’t stop there should the Vols limit them in transition. Alabama is still efficient at the halfcourt, attacking the interior as well as creating open looks at the perimeter. This is when the game will get intriguing as Tennessee has been number one in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, basing the success of their defense on their ability to smother opposing looks in the halfcourt.
Speaking of smothering opposing looks, Tennessee ranks as one of the best defensive units in defensive eFG%, two-point completions at the rim, and perimeter defense. Simply put, this unit flies towards the ball and makes life difficult to get an open look. Whether it is at the perimeter, or a cut to the rim, you can expect a Volunteer to be in your face and limiting the quality look of your shot.
Alabama Vs. Tennessee Odds
Oddsmakers think so as they opened the Vols as a -1.5 favorite on their home court. Bettors think the same, backing Tennessee up to -2 as of writing. This comes as a bit of a surprise that the number one team in the nation comes in as an underdog, especially during their dominant stretch of play. The identities on the court say otherwise as the Vols defense is well equipped to give the Bama offense fits. Enough to potentially steal the win should the Vols offense show up.
Speaking of offense, points are expected to be scored at a quick pace as oddsmakers opened the total at 143.5. Bettors are in slight agreement, taking the over up to 144.5 in some shops. This line movement makes little to no sense to me as Tennessee’s blueprint of beating Alabama stems from shutting their offense down. They will be hard pressed to generate their own points against a sneaky great Bama defense, giving value towards the under.
Alabama Vs. Tennessee Key Matchups
Can Alabama’s defense continue to limit the Volunteers offensive woes?
Alabama interior defense vs Tennessee‘s mid-range shooting
While the Vols defense has been the best in the nation, their offense has been a different story. Their failure to find any sort of consistency has made them a borderline potential champion as their AdjO metric hovers around the 112.0 cutoff line.
A big reason for their inconsistency is that they force bad looks to make up for their lack of perimeter shooting. They currently shoot the three at a 32.9% clip, allowing opposing defenses to sag off and dare them to beat them from deep.
Alabama will look to do the same, forcing Tennessee to beat them from deep or to try and drive it into a clogged interior. While normally known for their high-powered offense, the Crimson Tide sneakily rank top-10 in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency.
Take the under in what will be a defensive slugfest between the two SEC heavyweights. Should the number continue to rise, I will place another wager on the under before tipoff.