College Basketball Betting Odds & Pick for Alabama vs. LSU: Back Tigers to Cover in SEC Championship (Sunday, March 14)
Brett Carlsen/Getty Images. Pictured: Cameron Thomas of LSU.
- Top seed Alabama may be playing for a No. 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament when it plays LSU on Sunday for the third time this season.
- LSU advanced to the SEC Championship with an impressive defensive performance against Arkansas on Saturday.
- Collin Wilson thinks the Tigers have what it takes to at the very least cover, if not get their first win over the Crimson Tide this year.
SEC Championship Odds: LSU vs. Alabama
|Moneyline||+195 / -242|
|Time||Sunday, 1 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Saturday night and via DraftKings|
The best rivalry in college football comes to the hardcourt, as Alabama and LSU meet for the SEC Championship. The Crimson Tide have been the best team in the conference all season, only suffering a loss in away games at Arkansas and Missouri. LSU entered Nashville as the three seed, but lost in two non-cover scores against the Crimson Tide.
Both teams enter the conference final ranked top 30 in the NET. The Tigers' semifinal victory over Arkansas moved LSU to 5-7 in Quadrant 1 games. Alabama's win over Tennessee moved Nate Oats team to 7-4 in Quadrant 1 games. The SEC final will give Alabama a chance to move from the No. 2 to a No. 1 seed when brackets are released. Previously projected around a seven seed, LSU has the chance to move into a No. 5 seed with a win over the Crimson Tide.
Alabama Crimson Tide | (23-6, 16-2 SEC)
The Southeastern Conference's top seed has made it to the finals in search of their seventh conference tournament championship. Alabama has not won the SEC Tournament since 1991, making this the biggest game in the short two years Nate Oats has been coach. After a 37-point victory against Mississippi State on Friday, the Crimson Tide played the comeback role in a short 5-point victory over Tennessee on Saturday.
— B/R Hoops (@brhoops) March 13, 2021
Jahvon Quinerly was vital in the comeback, hitting on 7 of 11 field goal attempts from 2-point range. Alabama shot 7 of 28 from long distance after hitting 36% against Mississippi State.
The win in the semifinals came without the services of Joshua Primo. The freshman suffered a left MCL sprain but may return to action in the national tournament. Alabama is 134th in bench minutes and will be prepared to play a third-straight game, but Primo was one of the best long-range shooters on the team.
Oats: Josh Primo (knee) might sit out tomorrow but does not require surgery and “we hope to have him back for the NCAA Tournament.”
— Cecil Hurt (@CecilHurt) March 13, 2021
Alabama thrives on the "3 and D", ranking 15th nationally in point distribution from beyond the arc and eighth in defense of the perimeter. When Alabama is locked in they are a national title contenders, but dry spells from long distance have resulted in losses to Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas. Opponents that get into the passing lanes are the toughest for Alabama as the offense ranks second fastest in the nation.
LSU Tigers | (18-8, 13-6 SEC)
This will be the Tigers' first trip to the SEC Championship game since 1993. LSU has won just a single SEC Tournament championship, a run from the 1980 team that also made the Elite Eight.
Will Wade's team had issues on the defensive side of the ball most of the season, ranking ninth in defensive efficiency in SEC play. The Tigers were 13th in conference in defensive turnover rate and 315th nationally in defensive rebounds. This led to dozens of conference games ending with scores well into the 80s per team.
The semifinal victory over Arkansas snapped a 12-game SEC winning streak for the Razorbacks. The plan of execution was simple enough, pack the paint with defenders and force Arkansas to win with jump shots. What was unexpected was the LSU defense on many fronts. The Tigers forced the Razorbacks into 14 turnovers and just 23% from the perimeter.
Ladies and gentlemen, ERIC GAINES IS HERE[!
Tigers up 8, 2:30 to play pic.twitter.com/RimH1KwEK5
— LSU Basketball (@LSUBasketball) March 13, 2021
Betting Analysis & Pick
In two regular-season games, the Crimson Tide dominated the Tigers. Both a 30- and 18-point victory were a result of poor shooting from LSU while Alabama cleaned the glass. LSU shot a combined 9 of 43 from long distance against Alabama.
The hidden factor in this game is that both defenses are exceptional in perimeter defense. These teams rank eighth and 16th nationally in defending the 3-point shot, limiting opponents to no more than 29.9% from long distance.
These are the top teams in offensive efficiency in the SEC, as the Crimson Tide lead in effective field goal percentage while the Tigers are the best in ball security.
One aspect to consider is Alabama's flame-throwing rate of hitting 3-pointers has been a bit defused in the month of March. The Crimson Tide went under their season average in two games in Bridgestone Arena, shooting 36% against Mississippi State and 25% against Tennessee.
LSU is a top-10 team in the nation in defending the perimeter, shown even in blowout losses to Alabama earlier this season. Expect the Tigers to prolong possessions with excellent ball security while frustrating the Crimson Tide in transition.
These rosters are not the deepest, and Alabama is dealing with an injury in their rotation. Look for a slow start in the SEC Championship, with the LSU defense that showed up against Arkansas to keep the Tigers within the number.
Pick: LSU +5