Texas A&M vs Auburn Odds, Picks: Why to Back Aggies

Texas A&M vs Auburn Odds, Picks: Why to Back Aggies article feature image

Jeff Moreland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Buzz Williams

Texas A&M vs Auburn Odds

Wednesday, Jan. 25
9 p.m. ET
Texas A&M Odds
-115o / -105u
Auburn Odds
-115o / -105u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Auburn doesn't have the same high end talent and quality wins as it did last year, but the Tigers seem to be flying under the radar in the SEC and national picture. Auburn is 16-3 overall and 6-1 in the SEC without a single bad loss on the resumé. The Tigers will be tested on Wednesday night at home against a physically imposing and improving Texas A&M team.

The Aggies lost in Rupp Arena at Kentucky on Saturday to take their first loss in league play. Buzz Williams' squad had its fair share of issues in the non-conference, but they're playing improved basketball and match up pretty well with Auburn in this game.

The Tigers have built their impressive record, but some of the underlying numbers suggest regression could be looming in the shot variance department.

Texas A&M Aggies

Williams' defenses almost always goes under ball screens and dares opponents to shoot the ball from the perimeter. This was true when he coached at Virginia Tech and it remains true for this version of the Aggies.

Texas A&M allows a very high rate of 3-point field goals and in this matchup, that could be beneficial. The Auburn guards and wings are not at all good from the perimeter, and it's a major reason why they're vulnerable even at home on Wednesday.

Auburn has made just 29.9% of its attempts from the perimeter this season, which is among the worst in the country. They've also made just 29% in the conference.

The Aggies won this matchup in the SEC Tournament last season because Auburn kept shooting and shooting 3s and failed to make enough of them. By game's end, the Tigers made just 9-of-36 from the perimeter in the five-point defeat.

Auburn's offense loves to run out in transition, too, but will face one of the better transition defenses in the country in Texas A&M. The Aggies are in the 81st percentile, per Synergy, in transition defense. They guard the rim and the paint as well as any defense in the country and also apply a lot of ball pressure to turn over Auburn. The Tigers have turnover problems and that could lead to easy transition looks for the Aggies in this game.

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Auburn Tigers

Auburn's defense is 11th in KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency., but some of the underlying numbers suggest it's more flawed.

That's where this matchup could be decided. ShotQuality says the Tigers are 201st in ShotQuality defense at the rim. Opponents are shooting a much lower percentage against this group at the rim than the expected shooting percentage and regression could be looming compared to the respected market number on this Tigers defense.

Opponents are making just 25% from three against the Tigers, too, which makes them one of the most fortunate perimeter defenses in the nation. The expected shooting percentage is eight points higher.

The Tigers foul at a pretty high rate and also struggle on the defensive glass, so that's another reason to be skeptical that they will maintain their top 12 KenPom defensive rating. The rating is built not on more controllable fundamentals like rebounding and turnovers, but it's built on more variance driven metrics like 3-point field goal defense.

Texas A&M vs. Auburn Betting Pick

If you zoom out and look at these two teams, they're actually quite similar from a statistical profile. Two physical, aggressive defenses that foul a bunch and can be had on the defensive glass. Two offenses that can't really shoot from the perimeter but love to get offensive rebounds, get to the line and get downhill to attack the rim.

Foul trouble will play a major role in this matchup, but both lineups have the depth to withstand a player or two having to spend some time on the bench. Both offenses get fouled at elite rates and both aggressive defenses foul much more than the national average.

The Aggies opened as a 6.5-point road underdog and the market immediately bet down Texas A&M multiple points. We're at the point now in my view where there's almost no value left in playing the Aggies. If the line dips any lower, you'd have to think the Aggies were the better team on a neutral to bet them.

In my view, the market is overvaluing the Auburn defense as a unit though, and the situational spot is solid for the Aggies off the loss against Kentucky.

While I think the true power ratings for these two teams are pretty comparable, I wouldn't bet Texas A&M unless you can get 4.5 or better. Auburn does have an excellent home court and who gets the whistle will play a larger role in this matchup than a normal game.

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Sean Treppedi
Jul 17, 2024 UTC