Alabama vs. Arkansas Odds, Picks: How to Bet Top-15 Showdown
Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images. Pictured: Anthony Black (Arkansas)
Alabama vs. Arkansas Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Alabama is flying high after a 78-52 beatdown of Kentucky on Saturday. It moved to 13-2 and 3-0 in SEC play, its best start in over 20 years.
Next on the docket for the Crimson Tide is a trip to Bud Walton Arena to battle the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Arkansas is coming off a 72-59 loss at Auburn. The loss dropped the Razorbacks to an early 1-2 start in conference play, but they are 12-3 overall and No. 15 in the AP Poll.
Arkansas will look to bounce back against Auburn’s arch rival.
Alabama’s Nate Oats and Arkansas’ Eric Musselman are each in their fourth seasons at their respective programs. The teams have split their four head-to-head matchups. However, Arkansas has won six of eight overall in this series, including the last five in Fayetteville.
The first matchup this season opens as a pick’em with a total of 149.5 points.
Alabama moved up three spots to No. 4 in the AP Poll, but it’s still No. 7 on KenPom.
Alabama is 18th in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, and leading the way is forward Brandon Miller.
The 6-foot-9 freshman is averaging 19.1 points and 8.5 rebounds per game while shooting 43.5% from behind the arc.
Ohio transfer Mark Sears is averaging 14.7 points and shooting 41.5% from 3.
Miller and Sears are the only two double-digit scorers, but Alabama does not lack scoring options. It has nine players averaging at least six points per game.
Alabama is averaging 82.9 points per game and is 14th nationally in scoring offense. Its depth also allows it to play at the third-fastest pace in the country.
Freshman Noah Clowney leads the team with 8.5 rebounds per game and forms a formidable duo with Charles Bediako. Clowney averages 1.3 blocks while Bediako leads the team with 2.1 blocks per game.
Bediako made Oscar Tshiebwe’s life miserable on Saturday, holding him to four points on 1-for-7 shooting from the field.
Alabama ranks eighth in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency and fourth in effective field goal percentage defense. It also leads the nation in rebounds per game and ranks 14th in blocks per game.
Arkansas is led by Wichita State transfer Ricky Council IV (18.1 PPG), joining Alabama’s Miller among the top three in the conference in scoring.
Like Alabama, Arkansas also has a group of standout freshman.
Arkansas is still waiting on the return of Nick Smith Jr., but Jordan Walsh and Anthony Black have picked up the slack.
Walsh is averaging 8.3 points and 8.6 rebounds per game in conference play. He’s tied with teammate Makhi Mitchell for third in the SEC in rebounding during conference play.
Black is averaging 12.5 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game this season. He’s coming off a 23-point and seven-rebound performance, though he was one of the lone bright spots.
Arkansas shot 33.9% from the field and went just from 2-for-16 from 3. Now, Arkansas is not a great shooting team at 28.7% (340th nationally), so that was not a big surprise. However, it also shot just 19-for-32 (59%) from the free-throw line and 11% below its percentage for the season.
That will not win many games on the road.
The Razorbacks do most of their damage inside. They shoot 55% inside the arc, ranking 30th nationally in 2-point percentage. They also get 60% of their points off 2-point attempts.
Getting easy baskets off of turnovers does help, as well.
Arkansas ranks 17th in steals and 23rd in turnovers forced per game. It fuels a defense that ranks eighth in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency.
However, Arkansas can defend in the half-court, as well. It ranks 24th in 3-point percentage defense and 12th defensive rebounding percentage.
Arkansas is out-rebounding its opponents by 5.6 rebounds per game.
Alabama vs. Arkansas Betting Pick
This is a matchup between two-high powered offenses featuring standout freshmen. They combine for over 158 points per game and both play at a fast pace.
However, they are also both top-10 defensive teams. Both teams are holding opponents below 30% from 3.
Arkansas probably will not shoot as poorly from 3 as it did against Auburn, but its focus will be getting the ball inside. Against Alabama, scoring inside against Clowney, Bediako and Noah Gurley will be not be easy.
Alabama ranks 298th in turnover percentage offensively. That could be problematic against an Arkansas team that has forced 20 turnovers five teams this season.
That could lead to more scoring if they are live ball turnovers, but Arkansas could also disrupt Alabama’s offense altogether.
Three of the four meetings between Oats and Musselman have had 149 points or less, including 135 in the lone meeting last year. The under is 11-4 in Arkansas games. It’s 7-8 in Alabama games this year, but 0-3 against SEC opponents.
I expect a fourth-straight Alabama game to go under on Wednesday night.