Alabama vs. Oklahoma Odds & Pick: Bet The Tide to Roll vs. Shorthanded Sooners on Saturday
Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: John Petty Jr.
Editors Note: Neither Austin Reaves nor Alondes Williams of Oklahoma will be available to play vs. Alabama at noon ET due to COVID-19 protocols.
Due to COVID-19 protocol, Austin Reaves and Alondes Williams will not be available for today’s game against Alabama.
— Oklahoma Basketball (@OU_MBBall) January 30, 2021
Alabama vs. Oklahoma Odds
Alabama has been one of the most impressive teams in college basketball this season.
The Crimson Tide are on a 10-game winning streak and have a three-game lead atop the SEC standings. They have been equally as impressive against the spread with an overall record of 11-5-1, including a cover in nine of their past 10 games.
They travel to Oklahoma on Saturday as part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge to take on a Sooners team that has been a worthy adversary against any level of opponent.
Oklahoma competed well at Baylor, almost won at Kansas with a limited roster, and has won four straight Big 12 games.
Can Alabama continue its hot streak on the road against a strong non-conference opponent?
Oklahoma is a solid metric team across the board. It ranks 19th and 40th in adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency, per KenPom.
It rarely beats itself, ranking 12th with just 10.3 turnovers per game. The Sooners are also solid at the free-throw line (75%), another sign of a well-coached team.
The Sooners rank 52nd in 2-point defense, holding opponents to just 45.8% from inside the arc. They started conference play with a rough slate of games, including Texas Tech, West Virginia, at Baylor, and at Kansas. Since that point, they’ve won four straight games to improve to 6-3 in the uber-competitive Big 12.
However, they also don’t do any one thing exceptionally well, which will be a problem against an explosive Alabama offense.
Despite the presence of seniors Austin Reaves (15.8 ppg) and Brady Manek (10.9 ppg), Oklahoma has struggled with offensive balance.
The Sooners are shooting just 32.8% from 3-point land in conference play as a direct result of inconsistency from their two leaders. Reaves has never reached his sharp-shooting level from two seasons at Wichita State, shooting just 25.4% (56-of-220) from deep as a Sooner.
Manek has suffered through a frustrating season, dealing with a concussion and COVID-19. His scoring is down four points per game from last season, and he has just 12 total points over Oklahoma’s past three games.
Fortunately, Oklahoma’s offense has been bolstered by sophomore De’Vion Harmon (12.8 ppg), who is averaging 18.3 points and five rebounds, along with 11 made 3s over the past four games.
The Sooners will need a strong game from flammable North Texas transfer Umoja Gibson (8.9 ppg, 42% 3-point). The streaky reserve shooter caught fire at home against West Virginia with 29 points on 8-of-11 shooting from 3.
Oklahoma features serviceable bigs in senior Kur Kuath (7.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.7 bpg) and sophomore Victor Iwuakor (5.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg).
They will be critical to controlling the boards and limiting Alabama’s second-chance opportunities, which is easier said than done against the Crimson Tide.
Alabama scores against anyone, especially on the road. It averages 81.1 ppg (29th-best) and has generated 94.7 ppg in its past three contests away from Tuscaloosa.
Head coach Nate Oats has brought his explosive offensive style from Buffalo and has the Crimson Tide cookin’.
In its nine SEC games, Alabama is leading the conference in 3-point shooting at 41.2%.
Leading-scorer John Petty Jr. (13.9 ppg, 41.9% 3-point) has broken out of an early-season slump, shooting 56.4% (22-of-39) from deep over the past five games.
He is supported by Jaden Shackelford (13.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg) and Herbert Jones (12.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 48.1% 3-point).
The Tide have needed to overcome the loss of 6-foot-10 forward Jordan Bruner to meniscus surgery. The senior Yale transfer is second on the team in rebounds (5.3 per game) and serves as a primary interior defender.
Bama has still seen a nice increase in production from senior Alex Reese with six points and four rebounds per game in the past three contests.
While Alabama’s offense has been fantastic, its defense has been equally strong.
The Crimson Tide rank eighth overall in adjusted defensive efficiency, including 25th in effective field goal percentage allowed.
Within SEC play, Oats’ team has been lethally strong. Alabama ranks first overall in conference play in adjusted defensive efficiency, effective field goal percentage allowed, 3-point percentage allowed, and 2-point percentage allowed.
The weakness for Alabama is on the boards, which is how Kentucky remained competitive in Tuesday’s game despite limited offensive weapons. However, Oklahoma is not a strong enough rebounding team to maximize that advantage.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Oklahoma is a solid team that can battle any team in the country, but it will need to give season-best performances in key areas to compete with Alabama.
There’s no evidence to suggest the Sooners can slow down the Alabama offense, which means Oklahoma will need to score at a season-high rate. That’s a tall order against the Tide’s strong perimeter defense.
The inconsistency of Manek, lack of a strong interior presence, and 35.8% 3-point efficiency allowed are too many factors for the Sooners to overcome.
I’m backing the Crimson as a slight road underdog in a fantastic SEC/Big 12 matchup.
With the line opening at Oklahoma -1, it’s possible you could get an extra point of value on Saturday morning.
Pick: Alabama +1.5 (down to Alabama PK).