Arkansas vs Auburn Odds, Prediction: Betting Value on Razorbacks
Pictured: Nick Smith Jr. #3 of the Arkansas Razorbacks. (Photo by Brandon Sumrall/Getty Images)
Arkansas vs Auburn Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
In the first game in the bottom half of the Southeastern Conference Tournament bracket, Arkansas and Auburn will battle Thursday night in Nashville.
The Tigers closed out the regular season with one of their biggest wins of the season, knocking off No. 17 Tennessee to secure the seven seed in the conference tournament.
Meanwhile, the Razorbacks dropped three straight coming into this event and are 19-12 overall and 8-10 in the SEC.
This is the best matchup of the round, and I feel both squads are good enough to make a deep run toward a conference title.
With a coach with tournament experience and a talented roster, it is easy to imagine a world where Arkansas either goes on a deep run in Nashville or in the NCAA Tournament. However, coach Eric Musselman still doesn’t seem to know how to best utilize his roster.
The main challenge has been integrating talented guard Nick Smith Jr. back into the lineup after his long injury absence. Since Smith’s return, the Hogs are 2-3 record, with losses against No. 2 Alabama, Tennessee and No. 23 Kentucky.
One thing that hasn’t been an issue is the defensive side of the floor, where the Razorbacks are inside the top 50 in AdjD (11th), EFG% (21st) and opponents’ 2-point (39th) and 3-point shooting (32nd), according to Bart Torvik.
If the offense can heat up, Musselman’s squad is one nobody wants to play in a tournament.
Auburn’s Bruce Pearl, another coach who is no stranger to deep runs in March, has his program in position for a trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers are listed as a nine seed by ESPN’s Bracketology, so they could use a win or two to solidify their position.
The big question for Pearl’s team is whether they can win enough games in a row away from home. In SEC play, Auburn finished 3-6 on the road, with the wins coming against some of the lesser squads in the conference in Ole Miss, LSU and South Carolina.
There was also a loss at West Virginia in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, and the Tigers failed to cover the spread in three of their past four on the road.
Like the Razorbacks, Auburn has been stout defensively, ranking in the top 40 in AdjD (23rd), EFG% (11th) and defending 2-pointers (37th) and 3-pointers (6th). The defense will be what leads the Tigers on a deep run if they have it in them.
Arkansas vs Auburn Betting Pick
When I dive into this game, I just can’t get over Auburn’s road metrics, which lead me to believe the wrong team is favored.
My best bet is to back Arkansas on the moneyline, which I would play to -110.
On the surface, the Razorbacks’ record on the road doesn’t blow me away, but this is still the squad that earned a dominating win at Kentucky and lost by a combined six points at Alabama and Baylor.
If you look at the past six away games across the SEC, only Kentucky and Texas A&M have better net efficiency numbers than the Hogs. Meanwhile, Arkansas was also much better during this stretch in EFG% and points per possession than the Tigers.
It does worry me that Musselman’s crew is a trendy pick to make a run in Nashville, but I feel they are the right side in their opening-round matchup.
Pick: Arkansas ML +100 (Play to -110)
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