Alabama vs. Arkansas College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions: Value on Crimson Tide in Top-25 Clash (Wednesday, Feb. 24)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: Alabama’s James Rojas celebrates.
- Wednesday's big matchup is an SEC clash between Alabama and Arkansas.
- The Tide head to Fayetteville for a top-25 showdown with the dangerous Razorbacks.
- Brad Cunningham explains below why he's backing Alabama as a road underdog.
Alabama vs. Arkansas Odds
SEC-leading Alabama heads to Fayetteville on Wednesday for a huge top-25 showdown with Arkansas.
Alabama is an incredible 13-1 in SEC play and is all the way up to No. 6 in the latest AP Top 25 poll. They blew out Arkansas in Tuscaloosa back in January, 90-59, so the Tide have a great opportunity to get to 14-1 in conference play.
Ever since the loss to Alabama, Arkansas has been red-hot, winning seven straight games in SEC play.
It’s played fantastic defense and have been giving their opponents fits. Eric Musselman’s squad is in a prime position to get a three or four seed in the tournament and a win on Wednesday could solidify their position.
When Alabama has the ball
This game is going to be a track meet between two of the highest tempo squads in the country.
Alabama has been running teams out of the gym because opponents can’t handle the amount of pace and weapons that Alabama throws at them offensively. Alabama’s offensive success stems from how good it is behind the arc.
Alabama shoots 3s on 47.2% of its field goal attempts, which is the highest rate in the SEC. Not only that, but the Crimson Tide also shoot the highest percentage in the conference at over 39%. When you combine those two things, it creates a perfect storm of points — and lots of them.
The Crimson Tide are averaging 1.10 points per possession and have only failed three times to break the 80-point mark in conference play. In the first meeting with Arkansas, they shot the Razorbacks right out of the gym, making 15 3-pointers en route to 1.15 points per possession.
Arkansas has greatly improved on defense during this seven-game win streak, as it’s allowing only 0.91 points per possession since the loss to Alabama.
The azorbacks are solid in pretty much every defensive metric and do not have any glaring weaknesses. They also don’t have many obvious strengths, so if they are going to keep Alabama in check, they have to defend the perimeter well.
When Arkansas has the ball
The Razorbacks have been average offensively during SEC play and it’s their offense that really let them down the last time they faced Alabama. The Razorbacks are averaging 1.04 points per possession but are in the bottom half of the conference in both 3-point and 2-point shooting percentage, per KenPom.
In their January meeting with the Crimson Tide, they averaged only 0.76 points per possession and shot only 33.3% from the field. That is something teams cannot do when facing this Alabama offense.
While Alabama’s high-paced 3-point shooting offense gets all the headlines, it’s the defense that’s actually the catalyst for its success.
Alabama is the No. 1 team in the SEC in terms of defensive efficiency, allowing only 0.92 points per possession during conference play. It doesn’t allow its opponents to get clean looks, and it ranks first in 3-point defense and second in 2-point defense.
It will also be ready for the amount of pace Arkansas is going to throw at it since it sees it every day in practice.
Betting Analysis & Pick
It’s really hard to bet against this Alabama squad right with how it is playing on both ends of the floor.
Unless Arkansas can shoot above its season average from the field against the best defense in the SEC, I don’t see how the Razorbacks are going to keep up with the Crimson Tide’s offense.
I have the Crimson Tide projected as -2.67 favorites, so I think there’s plenty of value on them at +1.
Pick: Alabama +1 (Play down to Pick’em).