Auburn vs. Alabama Odds & Pick: Betting Value On Crimson Tide In Rivalry Game (March 2)
Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: John Petty.
- College basketball's version of the Iron Bowl is upon us.
- Nate Oats and his top-10 Alabama Crimson Tide will go to battle against Bruce Pearl and his Auburn Tigers in an in-state SEC rivalry game.
- Check out Mike Randle's full betting preview complete with updated odds and a pick based on his analysis below.
Auburn vs. Alabama Odds
No. 8 Alabama hosts Auburn on Tuesday Night in college basketball’s version of the “Iron Bowl.”
These two heated rivals usually produce high-scoring and close games, Auburn beat the Crimson Tide, 95-9,1 in overtime last year, and Alabama got revenge with a 94-90 road win this year.
Alabama just clinched the regular-season SEC title with its 64-59 win at Mississippi State on Saturday.
With the Tigers unable to participate in the postseason, can they find a way to earn a huge road upset against their biggest rival?
Auburn will likely battle Alabama without star point guard Sharife Cooper.
The standout freshman has missed the Tigers’ last two games with an ankle injury. He is listed as doubtful, but Alabama head coach Nate Oats is skeptical of that designation. Auburn has also been without its top outside shooter, freshman Justin Powell, since early January due to the lingering effects of a concussion.
Without Cooper, Auburn still managed an impressive 77-72 home win over Tennessee on Saturday. Sophomore Allen Flanigan led the Tigers with 23 points, while the scrappy Auburn defense created eight steals.
However, without Cooper’s 20.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 8.1 assists, Auburn will have an uphill battle against an underrated Alabama defense.
The Crimson Tide rank third overall in adjusted defensive efficiency and are holding opponents to just 28.7% from beyond the arc (12th-best in the nation). Within SEC play, Alabama opponents are averaging just 25% from deep and 45.5% from inside the arc.
Auburn’s roster contains multiple explosive athletes such as Flanigan (14.2 PPG, 5.4 RPG), forward Jaylin Williams (10.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 35% 3P), and forward JT Thor (9.4 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 1.4 BPG). However, the Tigers have not been able to replicate consistency without Cooper and Powell in the lineup.
Head coach Bruce Pearl will need to rely on another strong defensive performance, something that is statistically unlikely. Auburn ranks 11th in the SEC in adjusted defensive efficiency, per KenPom, and allowed the Crimson Tide to score 94 points at home in their first meeting.
Alabama ranks first in the conference in effective field goal percentage and is shooting 38.1% from beyond the arc. It should feast against Auburn’s ninth-worst 3-point defense in SEC play.
Its trio of elite guards in Jaden Shackelford (14.1 PPG, 4.1 RPG), John Petty (12.8 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 38.1% 3P), and Jahvon Quinerly (12.1 PPG, 2.9 APG, 45.2% 3P) are impossible matchups, especially at home.
However, the biggest boost for the Crimson Tide has been the recent return of forward Jordan Bruner. The 6-foot-10 senior has returned from meniscus surgery to join Alabama for its last three games.
His presence inside makes a huge difference in the offense, as he proved with 20 points, seven rebounds, and four assists in the first meeting with the Tigers.
Betting Analysis & Pick
This would be a classic rivalry game if Auburn was fully healthy.
I’m projecting Cooper out, but even if he plays, he is likely to be less than 100% healthy.
Auburn’s win at home over Tennessee was impressive, but the Volunteers offense is substantially less explosive than Alabama. The Crimson Tide have struggled against the spread recently, but with a fully healthy roster, I expect a huge effort at home against their rivals.
Even with its injury issues, Alabama is still 8-4 ATS in Tuscaloosa. Look for a statement win by Alabama as it secures its hold on a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Pick: Alabama -10.5 (up to -11.5).