LSU vs. Auburn: Betting Odds, Picks, and Predictions (12/29/21)

LSU vs. Auburn Betting Odds

While Tennessee vs. Alabama is the highlight of SEC opening night, this matchup will be just as entertaining.

LSU’s defense has done a total-180 from the past few years, and the team is 12-0 as a result. Meanwhile, Auburn has the best NBA prospect in college ball on the roster in Jabari Smith, who has been tearing up non-conference play.

With this game being in Auburn, the Tigers are a short home favorite. But is it worth backing War Eagle? Or are we buying LSU’s defense on the road?

LSU Tigers Odds

Will Wade’s defense isn’t just good, it’s the best in the nation.

The Tigers pace the nation in defensive efficiency, defensive effective field goal percentage, and points per possession allowed. Plus, they lead the nation in steal rate and are eighth in overall turnover rate.

The Tigers are also especially strong in three areas:

– Defending transition buckets (.615 points per possession allowed, first)
– Defending the pick-and-roll (.357 points per possession allowed, first)
– Defending post-up situations (.448 points per possession allowed, first)

All-in-all, LSU is allowing just 54.1 points per game, good for second nationally. LSU has allowed over 60 points just twice during its 12-0 start.

Offensively, Wade runs an interior-based offense that runs through his two lengthy wings. Tari Eason and Darius Days combine for over 30 points per game on close to 60% from 2-point range. Days will shoot the deep ball, but the whole team is 271st in 3-point rate (33.9% 3PA/FGA).

The offense isn’t overly efficient, and the Tigers work very quickly. However, the team makes over 50% of 2-point attempts and is likely due for some positive 3-point regression.

Auburn Tigers Odds

Bruce Pearl can coach.

After a lackluster 13-14 season, the Tigers are back among the elite of college hoops. At 11-1, Auburn is KenPom’s No. 13 ranked team.

Like LSU, Auburn is stifling on the defensive end. Particularly on the interior, where a monster frontcourt rotation headlined by 7-foot-1 Walker Kessler ranks 13th in 2-point defense and second in block rate.

Most of the attention goes towards Smith, which is deserving. However, I’d like to call attention to Wendell Green, the 5-foot-11 sophomore guard who runs the offense and can pop off at any time.

The Eastern Kentucky transfer has scored double-digits nine times this season, but he’s also top-40 nationally in assist rate. He’s dished out 28 assists in just his last five games, and he’s also leading an offense that’s top-15 nationally in turnover rate.

LSU vs. Auburn Prediction and Pick

My pick: LSU +4 (-110 at PointsBet)

This line has opened just a tad too high.

When capping college hoops, I trust three main projection sites: KenPom, BartTorvik, and EvanMiya. Those three all have LSU as a 3-point underdog, rather than four.

Auburn’s backcourt stands at 5-foot-11, 6-foot-1, and 6-foot-6. That could make them vulnerable to line drives from the lengthy LSU ball-handlers. And that’s how Will Wade plans on creating offense.

On the other end, we can certainly trust the LSU defense to travel in this game. This game could end up being a Rock Fight, and I’d happily grab the points in that instance.

I’d play this line right up to +3.

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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