College Basketball Odds & Picks for Arkansas vs. Alabama: Perfect Spot to Back Tide
Photo by Kevin Langley/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jaden Shackelford (Alabama)
- Arkansas is coming off of its biggest win of the season and now must travel to face Alabama.
- The Razorbacks have won nine straight games overall, and have likely reached the peak of their market value.
- Doug Ziefel breaks down the matchup and offers up his pick.
Arkansas vs. Alabama Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
It’s been quite a season for Eric Musselman and his Arkansas Razorbacks.
They will enter this matchup in the midst of a nine-game winning streak. However, the most recent addition to their streak was the biggest.
Arkansas took down top-ranked Auburn, ending the Tigers’ streak of 19 straight victories, and handing them their first loss to a conference opponent this year.
Now, the Razorbacks are tasked with going on the road to face a team that is all too familiar with taking down giants.
The Alabama Crimson Tide are one of the most peculiar teams in the country. They are the true definition of a squad that plays to the level of their competition.
Bama has beaten multiple top-ranked teams, but has also fallen to some of the SEC’s bottom feeders.
After dropping two straight — to the likes of Kentucky and Auburn — the Tide bounced back nicely in their last game to defeat Ole Miss.
Here, the Tide be looking to carry that momentum over, as they could be catching this Arkansas team at the perfect time.
In their upset victory over Auburn, it was the JD Notae show. Notae found a way to put up points in every fashion on his way to dropping 28. He was also a critical defensive factor, as he had five blocks.
Moving into this matchup, though, the Razorbacks will have to get him quality looks early. Notae is a shooter who can catch fire, and that’s what Arkansas will need if it wants to take down this Alabama team.
Where Alabama can be beaten is in the mid-range, and that is where Notae has been money, as he’s shot nearly 52% from inside the arc.
While Notae will be the primary option, another player could be a cause for concern for Bama.
Au’Diese Toney has been lights out from close range. He’ll enter this contest shooting 57.1% overall and 60.4% from 2-point range.
He’s also seen an uptick in his production as of late. He’s gone well over his scoring average in two of the last four games, while also coming down with more than his fair share of rebounds.
The final portion of Arkansas’ plan of attack has to do with tempo. Alabama plays very fast and is 12th in the country in tempo, but the Razorbacks will be able to help their offense and stifle the Crimson Tide if they get into more half-court sets.
Arkansas does not play slow either — it ranks 47th in tempo — but in order to create good looks inside, it’ll have to limit the speed of the game.
A slower game will also hamper the Alabama transition offense, as there won’t be long rebounds for the Tide to get out and run with.
I mentioned in the introduction that Alabama has been one of the most challenging teams to figure out.
The reason why is because of its tendency to attempt many outside shots, which makes its offensive variance unpredictable. It also literally varies from game to game.
For example, against Kentucky, the Tide couldn’t hit water if they fell off of a dock, as they went 3-of-30 from deep. However, against Ole Miss, they went 14-of-22 from behind the arc, which was a large part of their outstanding offensive performance.
They may be in line for another solid shooting performance here against Arkansas.
The Razorbacks have been a very stout defensive team, as they rank 25th in adjusted defensive efficiency. However, the one area where they have been vulnerable is from behind the 3-point line. Arkansas is slightly below average in defending the 3, and ranks 179th in 3-point percentage allowed.
Those numbers are music to Jaden Shackelford’s ears. This season, the Tide’s leading scorer has been a high-volume sniper from behind the arc. He’s shooting 37.6% from deep, which is on an astounding 205 attempts.
Also, if you thought the Notae has the ability to heat up, wait until you get a load of Shackelford. He has put up 20 points or more in 10 games this season, and is coming off of his best performance of the campaign.
The Bama guard dropped 30 points on the Rebels while going 8-of-13 from 3-point range.
The rim must be big enough for a beach ball to fit through it in his eyes, and the Razorbacks are going to have to give their best effort to contain him.
Arkansas vs. Alabama Betting Pick
This is a matchup of consistency against lightning in a bottle. The Crimson Tide have shown that lightning can strike on multiple occasions.
Also, the Razorbacks are due to show up flat here. They have nine straight wins, with the most recent being a tremendous emotional effort. It will be hard for them to get up again on the road.