College Basketball Odds & Picks for Auburn vs. South Carolina: Bet Gamecocks to Cover at Home
Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images. Pictured: Jermaine Couisnard.
- Frank Martin's South Carolina Gamecocks take on Bruce Pearl's Auburn Tigers in an early Saturday SEC college basketball matchup.
- The Tigers have been a new team with the addition of Sharife Cooper, but Mike Randle still sees value on the Gamecocks.
- Check out Randle's full betting preview complete with updated odds and a pick below.
Auburn vs. South Carolina Odds
Since sensational guard Sharife Cooper became eligible on Jan. 9, Auburn has become a much better team.
The Tigers are 2-2 over a difficult four-game stretch that includes wins at Georgia, against Kentucky, and two close losses against Alabama (four points) and at Arkansas (one point).
South Carolina has battled quarantine issues all season, and head coach Frank Martin just returned from his second COVID-19 absence. The Gamecocks are finally at full strength and enter their fourth conference game in desperate need of a win.
Who gets the nod in this early Saturday morning SEC showdown?
Auburn has been a much more explosive team since Cooper arrived.
The dynamic point guard is averaging 22.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 8.3 assists in over 34 minutes per game, leading an Auburn offense that is among the nation’s leaders in 2-point efficiency.
The Tigers rank 24th overall with a team 56.4% average inside the arc. However, there are three key areas that Auburn has still struggled with, even with Cooper.
The Tigers still rank among the bottom of the country in offensive turnovers per game. The Tigers average 17.2 per game, ranking 327th among 340 Division I teams. Free throws have also continued to be an issue as the Tigers still rank 276th (66.3%) among all Division I teams.
Despite Cooper’s proficiency (76.3%), Auburn’s struggles cost it a win at Arkansas, when it went 16-of-24 (66%) in a 75-73 loss.
Under Bruce Pearl, the Tigers have failed to find success at Columbia. They are 0-3 on the road against South Carolina, losing by an average of 13.7 points.
The Gamecocks are finally fielding a complete roster after multiple COVID-19 disruptions. Junior Keyshawn Bryant (13.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg) and sophomores T.J. Moss (5.1 ppg, 5-of-7 from 3) and Trey Anderson (17 points at Missouri) have all missed substantial time as key parts of the roster.
South Carolina brings three defensive advantages to this matchup with Auburn.
First, its pressure forces an average of 16.6 turnovers per game, 34th-most in the country.
Second, the Gamecocks are the best rebounding team in SEC play, ranking first in offensive rebounding percentage in conference and second in defensive rebounding efficiency.
Last, they guard the 3-pointer exceptionally well, allowing opponents to shoot only 30.7% from deep. That should limit an Auburn team that has generated over 34% of the points from behind the arc against SEC opponents.
The key to the Gamecocks offense is the explosive Bryant, who is averaging 22.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks per game since returning from his quarantine. He’s provided scoring support for leading-scoring A.J. Lawson (16.6 ppg), who had a three-game run of 77 combined points against LSU, Texas A&M, and Florida A&M last week.
Junior Justin Minaya (9.1 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.4 apg) is a box-score stuffer, but the true bellwether for the Gamecocks is sophomore Jermaine Couisnard (11.6 ppg, 3.9 apg), who has scored only 11 combined points in his past two games (both losses).
South Carolina has been strong as a home underdog under Martin’s tenure in Columbia. The Gamecocks are 62% ATS as an underdog and earned big outright home wins over Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, and Mississippi State last year.
The Tigers will be facing a South Carolina team that holds the top adjusted-defensive ranking in conference play, even better than Tennessee. The Gamecocks rank 16th-best in the country in effective field goal percentage allowed and 44th in 2-point defense (45.7%).
Betting Analysis & Pick
The public will see this line and look to back the Tigers, but I’m going with South Carolina as the slight home favorite. The Gamecocks are fully healthy, and Martin’s team is always strong at home.
Auburn has played well, but its excessive turnovers will provide too many extra chances for a South Carolina team that will already own an advantage on the boards.
Watch the line and see if the public provides the opportunity to grab the Gamecocks as a slight underdog.
Pick: South Carolina -1 (up to -1.5)