NCAAB Betting Guide for Alabama vs. Auburn
Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Bruce Pearl (Auburn)
Alabama vs. Auburn Odds
-115o / -105u
-115o / -105u
Two teams trending in opposite directions square off in a rivalry game on Saturday afternoon as No. 3 Alabama heads to Neville Arena to take on Auburn.
Alabama has lost just once game since Dec. 20 and is a sparkling 11-0 in SEC play. Meanwhile, the Tide’s in-state foe, Auburn, has lost four of its last five.
In what feels like a season that could quickly spiral out of control, can Bruce Pearl’s squad defend its home floor and pick up a much-needed Quadrant 1 win? Or will Alabama continue blowing its opponents out no matter the location?
In his fourth year as head coach, Nate Oats has assembled his best team yet. Alabama has one of the deadliest run-and-gun offenses in college basketball, and has a suffocating defense to pair with it.
The Crimson Tide have the No. 1 Adjusted Tempo in the country and as we’ve seen against Vanderbilt and Florida over the last couple of weeks, games can turn non-competitive in a matter of minutes.
Nearly 50% of Alabama’s shots come from the perimeter, led by freshman phenom Brandon Miller.
Miller leads the team with 19 points and 8.3 rebounds per game while shooting a blistering 44.4% from the perimeter. His NBA talent is obvious, and he’s a game-changing type of player.
Alabama is as well-rounded a team as there is in college basketball. It’s top-50 in offensive rebounding and free-throw rate, and has a rotation that could go 10 deep — if Oats so chooses.
This is an aggressive Crimson Tide team that primarily runs pick-and-roll ball screens to create offense. ShotQuality has the Tide 19th in PPP in the PnR and inside the top 50 on catch-and-shoot 3s, which they shoot 26% of the time.
With their fast-paced nature, turnovers can become a problem (207th). It’s the only real flaw within this offense.
Aside from their fast-paced offense, why Alabama is able to consistently establish hefty leads that opponents cannot overcome is because of its defense. The Tide own the best 2-point defense and hold opponents to a 26.1% clip from the perimeter (2nd).
They don’t force turnovers — 314th in country — and funnel opponents inside the paint. In fact, just 31.2% of all field goals come from the perimeter.
Alabama forces a lot of isolation looks and are primarily attacked through the pick-and-roll.
This defense is a very interesting one to break down. Alabama is disruptive and it’s found incredible success in conference play. But it’s about league average when it comes to defensive rebounding and around 200th in FTA/FGA.
With such dominant numbers, negative regression is expected. The Tide give up just 0.89 points per possession, a number that ShotQuality has at 1.01. There is a near 7% expected difference from the perimeter, too. Alabama is just 160th in Open 3 Rate.
After a dominant start to SEC play, Auburn has been in a spiral. Losers in four of their last five, the Tigers return home with a huge bounce-back opportunity on the line.
Auburn is an extremely physical team that relies on athleticism and off-screen movement to attack the rim. The Tigers rank inside the top 25 in offensive rebounding and 17th in finishes at the rim, per ShotQuality.
Wendell Green Jr. and Johni Broome run a strong two-man game through the pick-and-roll, combining for 27.6 points per game.
Broome, the Morehead State transfer, has become a vital piece to Pearl’s rotation. He takes nearly 30% of the shots while on the floor and is an extremely efficient rebounder.
Contact is encouraged, and Auburn gets to the line at a frequent rate.
The Tigers’ biggest issue comes on the perimeter. This is a struggling 3-point shooting team — 343rd at 29.2% — with just one consistent rotational player shooting above 33%.
Green is shooting well below his career averages and is down 3.5% from 3 this season as opposed to last.
K.D. Johnson (2.7%) and Zep Jasper (7%) have also struggled mightily. One would expect them to regress to the mean, but Auburn lacks a playmaker like Jabari Smith that opens the floor and creates more efficient looks for those around the perimeter.
The Tigers run transition offense at the seventh-highest rate in the country and are best with the defense not set. Scoring can become an issue for this Auburn squad that predicates itself on defensive intensity.
Like its rival, Auburn ranks inside the top five when it comes to eFG% and perimeter defense. It prefers to funnel opponents into the mid-range or toward Broome at the rim.
This is a long frontcourt and Broome owns a 10.6 block rate (12th-best in country). Auburn as a whole is 19th in 2-point defense.
The Tigers’ biggest issue has been their foul trouble and inability to keep opponents off the glass. In both those categories, they rank around the 300 mark, which can — at times — prove costly for a team that’s otherwise impressive on the defensive end.
Nearly 40% of all shots happen at the rim against this Auburn defense. As much of a rim deterrent as Broome and Dylan Cardwell (11.8 block rate) have been, both find themselves in foul trouble often.
Similar to Alabama, ShotQuality projects negative regression for Auburn on the perimeter and at the rim.
It’s important to note that of Auburn’s seven losses, only one has happened at home (Texas A&M). It has otherwise taken down some difficult teams that include Arkansas, Mississippi State and Florida, all of whom rank inside the KenPom top 50.
Alabama vs Auburn Betting Pick
These are two defenses running incredibly hot from the perimeter, but it’s been a long and sustained trend. Both allow low-quality looks from 3 and have been able to consistently slow opponents down.
But when it comes to this game in particular, it’s a perfect spot to back Auburn.
This is a buy-low, sell-high opportunity. Alabama is playing like it’s the No. 1 team in the country — which the Tide could very well be — but an undefeated SEC record is tough to continue.
The Tigers, meanwhile, need a bounce-back win to put an end to this skid. They return home to Neville Arena in what will be a full house. This is a huge rivalry game, and there’s no doubt Auburn will wake up for this matchup.
Alabama also has a date with Tennessee next week and could be caught sleeping here against a struggling Auburn team. The public will be all over the Tide here, but I think it’s the right opportunity to hop aboard the Tigers.
Back Auburn to hand Alabama its first loss of conference play.
Pick: Auburn +2.5 (Down to a PK)
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