NCAAB Auburn Vs. Memphis Odds, Picks, Predictions (12/10/22)

The marquee matchup of the Holiday Hoopsgiving features Auburn battling it out against Memphis in what will be an exciting defensive showdown. Memphis was night and day last year, starting out slow before being rated as the second-best unit in the nation since January before narrowly losing to Gonzaga in the second round of March Madness. Can they find that same success from last year?

Auburn Vs. Memphis Odds

Oddsmakers have this as a tight one, making Auburn a -2 favorite on the open. Bettors have slightly disagreed, nudging Memphis down to +1.5 as of writing. With both sharing identical traits, this sets up for an exciting showdown that can have serious March Madness implications with either garnering an impressive win on the resume.

As for the total, points are expected to be scored at a premium as oddsmakers set the opening total at 132. Bettors were quick to disagree, hammering the over up to 139.5 as of writing. This is a bit of a head scratcher as both units are one dimensional on offense while bringing in highly coveted defenses.

Auburn Vs. Memphis Prediction & Pick

The Pick: Under 139.5

With that said, I am riding the under as this number has simply climbed too high for me to ignore. Both units excel on the defensive end, smothering the perimeter and forcing opposing offenses to drive to the basket where they have capable bigs forcing them into low quality shot attempts. Especially Auburn, a team that ranks first in the nation in block percentage ranking. 

With their ability to block at an elite level and smother looks into low quality shots, Auburn is well above average at allowing opposing offensive completion rates in the paint. This bodes well against Memphis, a unit that will want to abuse looks down low to make up for their poor shooting from the perimeter.

Speaking of shooting from the perimeter, this isn’t the same Bruce Pearl led team that we have been accustomed to watching over the past few years. Normally known as one of the best three-point shooting units in basketball, Auburn’s three-point shooting has fallen off a cliff so far this season. Auburn currently ranks near dead last in three-point conversion.

With their inability to shoot from deep, Auburn has settled for an average pace of tempo while building their half court sets to create space to attack the rim with a 46th ranked Adjusted Offensive Efficiency ranking. This bodes well for our under, killing time while potentially leading to stalled out empty possessions against Memphis’s elite defense.

Memphis plays a similar style of offense due to their inability to convert from deep, ranking well below average in three-point conversion as well while fielding a top end offense that ranks 56th in AdjO per Kenpom. They will need to try and find a mid-range game, blowing past the Auburn perimeter defense and avoiding their shot blocking bigs down low.

Auburn Vs. Memphis Key Matchups

With both units being unable to convert from deep and stretch out the defense, where will points come from?

Memphis scoring vs Auburn depth 

While both offenses are well below their normal shooting averages in comparison to years past, they still both possess capable scorers that have led them to above average AdjO rankings per Kenpom.

Memphis relies on a two way approach with Kendric Davis leading the way with 17.4 points per game with DeAndre Williams being the only other player averaging double figures. Memphis has more versatility and depth with three players in double figures and 10 playing meaningful minutes.

Should either unit want to crack the opposing defense and pull away, they will need to find outside scoring to stretch out the defense or consistency at the rim. Easier said than done, but both units’ next level scorers reside at the guard position and will set up nicely for them to break out should either unit focus on the main scorers like Davis and Wendell Green Jr.

Verdict

This line movement makes no sense and has climbed too high for me to not ignore. With both defenses excelling at forcing low quality shot selections and possessing anemic shooting offenses, this under is very much in play in what will be a defensive slugfest.

Kody is a sports betting writer here at Lineups. He specializes in college sports as well as the NFL and NBA. He won’t quit believing in the Lions Super Bowl chances even when they are eliminated.

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