Arkansas vs Alabama: Betting Odds, Picks, and Predictions (2/12/22)

Arkansas vs Alabama Betting Odds

This should be fun.

These are two of the most talented teams in the SEC. These are also two of the highest variance teams in the SEC.

Alabama has the most confusing tournament resume in the country. Wins over Gonzaga and Houston are paired with losses to Missouri and Georgia. The Crimson Tide will shoot a ton of 3s, and it can lead to big-time wins or big-time losses.

Meanwhile, Arkansas was broken earlier this season but has now ripped off nine straight wins. Most recently, Eric Musselman’s team took down No. 1 Auburn in overtime.

So, between two high variance teams, is there any way to project who has the edge?

Arkansas Razorbacks Betting Odds

It feels like the same thing happened last year.

Arkansas was 13-5 on January 30 but ripped off eight straight wins to end the regular season. Although the Razorbacks lost in the second round of the SEC tournament, the Hogs made an Elite Eight appearance as a 3-seed.

The Hogs are just getting an earlier start this year.

Arkansas likes to run. The team is 18th in tempo and 32nd in transition opportunities. Arkansas also scores 1.09 points per possession on those opportunities, which is above average.

The offense will continue to run and gun but the loss of some offensive weapons last year has led to some regression. The Hogs can’t shoot, ranking sub-300 in both 3-point percentage and spot-up points per possession.

JD Notae basically carries the offense. He takes over 32% of the team’s shots and is the ball-handler in almost every pick-and-roll and ball-screen opportunity. He’s had some astounding performances this season, including scoring 28 points in the win over Auburn, but he’s also been inefficient at times.

But that’s normal considering his usage. There is no doubting the talent.

Arkansas has finally picked up its defense. The Hogs are only 75th in season-long defensive efficiency but are currently leading the SEC in conference-only defensive efficiency.

The Hogs are playing their best basketball at the right time.

Alabama Crimson Tide Odds

Alabama is similar to Arkansas.

The team likes to run and gun, ranking 16th nationally in tempo and 20th nationally in 3-point rate. It also has been shooting the ball very poorly.

Alabama has the highest rim-and-3 rate in the country. While the deep balls haven’t been falling, the Tide have been uber-efficient at the rim. Alabama is 13th in 2-point shooting and top-50 in field goal percentage at the rim.

The defense, however, has not been there.

In conference-only play, Alabama is 11th in the SEC in defensive efficiency. The Crimson Tide rebound poorly, foul a lot and force very few turnovers.

For Alabama, everything comes down to its guards. Jahvon Quinerly, Jaden Shackelford, JD Davison, and Keon Ellis carry the team. Most games come down to if the guards are hitting their shots – almost to a fault.

I’m unsure if their shots will fall against the Hogs’ defense.

Arkansas vs Alabama Prediction and Pick

My pick: Alabama -5 (-115 at DraftKings)

This is such a massive let-down spot for Arkansas following a huge upset victory over a No. 1 team.

Plus, the Razorbacks have pulled off eight straight impressive victories. This is the top of the market for the Hogs.

Meanwhile, Alabama is as high variance as it gets. This is the perfect team to get hot from 3 and blowout Arkansas in a hangover spot — i.e., the Tide’s shots are going to fall.

The Tide are shooting less than 30% from 3 in conference play despite being one of the top teams nationally in 3-point rate. More shots are going to fall for Alabama.

That starts Saturday in a comfortable SEC victory.

Tanner joined Lineups to cover everything, but he has vast experience in, and unlimited passion for, Major League Baseball and NCAA Basketball. He’s a McGill University grad and former (Canadian) Division-I alpine ski racer who now spends his time drinking beer and betting home underdogs. Patrick Mahomes is a poor man’s Tom Brady.

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