Auburn-Washington Betting Preview: Who Will Control Tempo in This Top 25 Affair?

Auburn-Washington Betting Preview: Who Will Control Tempo in This Top 25 Affair? article feature image
Credit:

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Washington Huskies guard Matisse Thybulle (4) and forward Noah Dickerson (15).

Washington-Auburn Betting Pick, Odds

  • Spread: Auburn -10.5
  • Over/Under: 150.5
  • Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
  • Network: SEC Network

>> All odds as of Friday at 9 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time college basketball odds and track your bets.


Following a slow couple of days in college basketball, the action heats up once again on Friday. This contest is one of the more underrated matchups in college hoops’ opening week, involving two top-25 programs. It’s Auburn’s first ranked vs. ranked non-conference home affair since 1987.

The Huskies (1-0 against the spread) still hold value as a Final Four future bet, with 30-1 odds. They outscored a respectable Western Kentucky squad 46-19 in the second half of the season-opener, thanks to their stellar on-ball defense.

Not only was senior wing Matisse Thybulle a catalyst in flustering the Hilltoppers into a 22.9% Turnover Rate, but he also amassed six blocks.

The 2017-18 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year remains an unknown force to a large percentage of the public.

Meanwhile, the Tigers (1-0 ATS) blitzed through South Alabama in their opener, a credit to Jared Harper. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound guard zipped through the Jaguars’ defense for 20 points and 13 assists via a 24% Possession Rate.

Auburn’s offense played at a quicker tempo than Washington, averaging 14.4 Seconds Per Possession in its first game. The Huskies manufactured 17.1 Seconds Per Possession, but they’ll use their zone defense to limit the Tigers’ preferred pace.

Remember, Washington coach Mike Hopkins is a protégé of Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, whose defenses have flustered dangerous shooting teams in his 42-plus seasons on the sidelines.

Auburn will also struggle to find answers against the physical 6-foot-11 Sam Timmins and 6-foot-8 Noah Dickerson in the post. The Huskies ran plenty of their offense through Dickerson in the second half against Western Kentucky, and he led them with a team-high 28.2 Possession Rate.

He scored 16 of his 18 points in the final frame, succeeding against a frontcourt with 5-star Hilltopper center Charles Bassey. Auburn 6-foot-8 forward Chuma Okeke was effective defensively to tip-off his sophomore season, but Dickerson’s savviness should be a difference-maker.

Overall, Washington boasts a slight Effective Height advantage (frontcourt size). There’s hope Auburn center Austin Wiley could suit up in his first game since March 2017 after missing all of last season amid the FBI’s college basketball investigation.

Auburn Tigers center Austin Wiley (50) goes up for the dunk against the TCU Horned Frogs during a game at Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena.
Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Auburn Tigers center Austin Wiley (50) goes up for the dunk against the TCU Horned Frogs during a game at Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena.

It would be foolish to expect him to be a critical factor if he plays, dealing with a left-foot injury since early October. Meanwhile, Tiger forward Danjel Purifoy remains out during his nine-game suspension.

The Huskies will also flip the script and play small-ball for stretches. Guards Jaylen Nowell and David Crisp can hold their own against the likes of Harper and Bryce Brown.

Harper and Brown aided Auburn’s stellar 47.4 3-point percentage versus South Alabama, but Washington’s perimeter defense is sound. It returned its top-8 contributors from a campaign ago — led by Thybulle — allowing a 33.8% clip from that vicinity.

Hopkins’ bunch can keep the Tigers’ high-flying offense in check, so I’d actually look at the under 150.5. The Huskies could struggle in a shootout, as they hit 20% from deep on Tuesday and 34.6% last season. However, I doubt they succumb to that style of play.

Washington can keep this close against an Auburn team that might run out of gas late in this one after dealing with all kinds of conditioning issues over the past few weeks.

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