NCAAB Odds, Pick for Alabama vs Mississippi State

NCAAB Odds, Pick for Alabama vs Mississippi State article feature image

(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images). Pictured: Shakeel More.

Alabama vs Mississippi State Odds

Saturday, Jan 13
8:30pm ET
SEC Network
Alabama Odds
-110o / -110u
Mississippi St Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAB odds here.

Mississippi State righted the ship in a big way by knocking off arguably the SEC's best team in Tennessee on Wednesday night. The Bulldogs now prepare to face Alabama on Saturday in what will be a clash of styles. The Crimson Tide are off to a 2-0 start themselves in the SEC and need to continue to build their at-large resume with key road wins.

Alabama Crimson Tide

Alabama enters the weekend with the No. 1-ranked offense in the country, according to KenPom.

The Crimson Tide's offense is led by Ohio transfer Mark Sears, who is averaging more than 20 points per game while shooting almost 50% from beyond the arc. After the departures of Brandon Miller and Jahvon Quinerly, coach Nate Oats knew more was going to be asked of Sears this season. Sears has been much more assertive offensively all while shooting at a higher percentage than he managed last season.

Alabama's 10-5 record is not fully reflective of its capability as a team. All five of the Crimson Tide's losses this season were at the hands of teams that presumably will make the NCAA Tournament. Against the inferior opponents on its schedule, Alabama has truly rolled. The Crimson Tide's ability to run up the score and push tempo has helped their analytical rankings far exceed their ranking in the AP Poll.

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Mississippi State Bulldogs

Chris Jans has emphasized defense and forcing turnovers at all stops in his career. The defensive prowess of his New Mexico State teams led the Aggies to be a prominent force in the WAC that carried into NCAA Tournament competition.

In Jans' first year with Mississippi State, it was clear he loved coaching his defensive identity to an even better class of athlete. His Bulldogs finished the year as the nation's ninth-ranked defense. Coincidentally, his team enters this game against Alabama with the exact same ranking on the defensive end. The key difference between the two teams is a clear improvement in scoring this season.

To say Mississippi State struggled to make shots last year would be an understatement. The Bulldogs bricked their way to finishing as the worst 3-point shooting team in all of Division I last year.

What was clear to Jans was the glaring need to address the lack of shooting on his roster as he entered the offseason. True freshman Josh Hubbard has immediately filled the role of floor-spacer by knocking down 36% of his 3-point attempts off the bench. Luckily, the carryovers from the roster have improved their shooting percentages as well. Dashawn Davis and Shakeel Moore are stretching defenses this year without sacrificing anything on the defensive end.

The offensive improvement has taken Mississippi State from a team that snuck into the NCAA Tournament as an 11-seed to a borderline top-25 team this season. Beating Alabama on Saturday would solidify Jans' team a spot in the AP Poll.

Alabama vs. Mississippi State

Betting Pick & Prediction

Generally when two teams with different philosophies face off, I prefer to place my trust in the home team to be able to dictate pace.

Mississippi State's singular defensive focus will be to limit Alabama's transition opportunities. Davis will be spelled by Hubbard to keep the Bulldogs fresh in the backcourt and limit Sears and company as they look to force the ball up the court.

I'm taking the Bulldogs to hold serve at home thanks to the defensive-minded game plan of Jans.

Pick: Mississippi State +2 (Play to -0.5)

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Sean Treppedi
Apr 12, 2024 UTC