College Basketball Odds, Pick, Prediction: Alabama vs. Auburn (Tuesday, February 1)
Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images. Pictured: Jabari Smith (Auburn)
- The Auburn Tigers host the Alabama Crimson Tide on Tuesday night in an exciting rivalry matchup.
- The Tigers have won 17 straight games and are a perfect 8-0 in SEC play.
- Doug Ziefel breaks down the matchup and makes his betting pick below.
Alabama vs. Auburn Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
It’s the “Iron Bowl” hardwood edition, part two. The top-ranked Auburn Tigers host the upset-minded Crimson Tide, who are on the hunt for another win over an elite team to add to their resume.
Alabama has played perhaps the most challenging schedule in the county, and the results are staggering. The Tide have victories over Gonzaga, Houston, Tennessee, LSU and most recently, Baylor.
However, they have lost to Iona, Georgia, Memphis and Missouri. This team has shown the tendency to play to the level of its competition, but coming off of a big game against Baylor, can it get up again for this matchup?
As for the Auburn Tigers, they are in the midst of an incredible season, as they enter this matchup on a 17-game winning streak.
Led by projected lottery pick Jabari Smith, the Tigers have dispatched nearly everyone that has stepped in front of them. However, the Tide gave the Tigers a run for their money in the first meeting.
Tide Will Need 2s to Fall
In the postgame press conference following the first matchup between these two teams, Alabama coach Nate Oats said that his team needed to play its best game of the year to beat Auburn.
While it was close on the scoreboard, it’s tough to say that it was Alabama’s best effort. The Tide shot 35% from the field, 22.6% from deep and were also out-rebounded.
Nevertheless, they benefitted greatly from the free-throw line, and the conclusion can be made that the game shouldn’t have been so close.
Alabama is a very high-variance team — thanks to the number of 3-point shots it takes — so poor shooting nights are expected. While Alabama is 22nd in 3-point attempts, it’s actually a below average team from behind the arc.
However, this Bama team really shines inside the arc. The Tide are sixth in the country in 2-point field goal percentage. Two of their top three leading scorers, Jahvon Quinerly and Keon Ellis, have made over 61% of their 2-point attempts this season.
Along with Jaden Shackelford, those two will need to get going early.
The Tigers have been great defensively, especially inside, as they are 12th in 2-point field goal percentage allowed. If the Tide want to beat this Auburn team, they will have to lower the variance and focus on finding good looks. If not, this game could get away from them.
Look For Auburn to Play Through Its Star
It was the Smith show in the first meeting between these two, as he had 25 points, seven rebounds and four blocks. Smith’s unique skill set and talent are apparent against every opponent, but he’s especially a bad matchup for Alabama.
The Crimson Tide lack the size to deal with the 6-foot-10 Auburn forward inside. Smith essentially scored at will, as he shot 58% from the field and drained three long balls.
I expect Bruce Pearl to play through his guy again in this matchup. This time, Alabama will be more prepared when it comes to defending Smith, so his presence will open up looks for others.
Last but not least, a hidden factor for the Auburn team is Walker Kessler. The big man fouled out of the first game, but at 7-foot-1, the Tide will have no answers for him on the boards if he can avoid foul trouble.
Alabama vs. Auburn Betting Pick
This matchup has all the arrows pointing in the direction of the Tigers. They are the better and more complete team on both ends of the floor.
Plus, I find it hard for this Bama team to get up after its huge win against Baylor.
The variance is not in the Tide’s favor for this one. I’m taking the Tigers to roll at home.