It’s been an impressive season for the Alabama Crimson Tide, now only one win away from locking up the SEC regular season title. In their way is one of the stingiest defenses in the nation with the Auburn Tigers looking to improve their resume with a big win over one of the best teams in the nation. Amidst off-court distractions, Alabama has maintained their high level of play as of late by reeling off three wins in a row since their last loss to Tennessee. Can Auburn break that streak?
Auburn Vs. Alabama Odds
Oddsmakers don’t think so as they opened the Tigers as a +9 underdog on the road. Bettors have initially leaned towards their favor, taking Auburn down to +8.5 in some shops. Auburn lost by eight in their initial matchup, falling apart late in the second half. Projections have this about right this time around, sitting around a spread of nine. Even though Alabama runs at a far better rate on offense, and sneakily better on defense, this number is a stay away from me as the current number has little to no value.
As for the total, points are expected to be scored at a quick pace as oddsmakers opened the number at 152. Bettors lean towards the under, taking it down to as low as 151.5 in some shops as of writing. Even with the Crimson’s Tide blistering pace of play and high-powered shooting abilities, Auburn’s stingy defense will throw a wrench into their plans and present the opportunity for scoring lulls. Auburn is still an unimpressive unit themselves on offense, failing to sustain any sort of scoring consistency throughout the course of the season.
Auburn Vs. Alabama Prediction & Pick
The Pick: Alabama moneyline parlay piece
With the spread and total being in line with projections, neither wager type has any value as of now. Instead, I will bypass both and put Alabama in a two team moneyline parlay as I believe they get the job done on their home court. This negates any backdoor possibility with such a large number, backing just an outright win instead. As for who I will combine them with? That much is still up in the air, but some intriguing options as of now are Kentucky, Kansas State, and Missouri.
While the Crimson Tide are normally known for their blistering quick offensive pace, they actually have strung along an elite defensive performance throughout the course of the season. They currently rank fifth in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, locking up opposing offenses on a nightly basis. Defensive success should come by easily once again as Auburn has struggled on the offensive end with no signs of improving. The Tigers offense runs slow and methodical, looking to get interior looks by opening up players through motion sets.
The issue is that Alabama has excelled at limiting interior looks, guarding the rim at an above average rate with an impressive defensive effective field goal percentage. Should the Crimson Tide limit Auburn’s interior looks early and often, then this may be a wrap already as the Tigers do not pose a threat from the perimeter whatsoever. Infact, Auburn shooters from the perimeter at one of the worst rates, averaging a putrid 30.2% from three. Second chance opportunities from the perimeter clunkers will also be negated as Alabama grabs boards at an efficient rate as well.
Auburn Vs. Alabama Key Matchups
Can Alabama continue to find perimeter success at an elite rate?
Alabama three-point shooting vs Auburn perimeter defense
The Tigers defense seemed to not pose a threat to Alabama’s offense as the Crimson Tide dropped 77 points in their initial meeting. They may find the same sort of success as their quick pace is capable of scrambling the Tigers defenders.
Alabama’s style of play is so crisp that at this point the only way to take them out of a game is by having a cold shooting night. They are fast and smart, attacking holes that their pace creates and exploiting them for high quality looks from deep.
Auburn’s defense has also been reeling as of late, normally ranking top-10 in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency and now currently sitting at 17th. While not a big drop by any means, but one worth monitoring nonetheless.
With the spread in line with most projections, I will back Alabama on the moneyline by putting them in a two team moneyline parlay. Other options that I may include with them are currently Kentucky, Kansas State, or Missouri.