Auburn vs. Ole Miss College Basketball Odds, Picks and Predictions: Target the Total in SEC Duel (Saturday, Jan. 15)
Photo by Kevin Langley/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Daeshun Ruffin (Ole Miss)
- Auburn -- one of the best teams in the country -- travels to Ole Miss to take on the Rebels.
- Do the Rebels have an answer for Walker Kessler and Jabari Smith?
- D.J. James breaks down the matchup and offers up his best bet.
Auburn vs. Ole Miss Odds
-110o / -110u
|Ole Miss Odds|
-110o / -110u
The Auburn Tigers are on fire at the moment. They have one loss on the season: a double OT defeat to UConn in the Battle 4 Atlantis in November.
After winning on the road against Alabama earlier this week, basketball fans everywhere are starting to notice. The Tigers will now take a trip to Oxford, Mississippi to take on the Rebels of Ole Miss.
The Rebels are 9-6 on the season, but they do tout a top-50 defensive efficiency, per KenPom.
Auburn has one of the best defenses in the nation, and since both teams force plenty of turnovers, looking to the under is the best option.
Although Auburn runs at one of the quickest tempos in the country, it forces turnovers 22.1% of the time. This should bode well for the Tigers in this matchup, as the Rebels turn the ball over 18.0% of the time on offense.
K.D. Johnson, Wendell Green Jr. and Jabari Smith match up well with the Rebels, since they collectively average 5.2 steals per game. Daeshun Ruffin (for the Rebels) could have a rough time, as he turns the ball over 2.4 times per game on the season.
In addition, Ole Miss shoots less than 50% from inside the 3-point arc. Auburn ranks eighth in the nation at defending 2-pointers (42.6%), so essentially, this leaves few inside options for the Rebels. They will need to hit shots from downtown to stay within striking distance of the Tigers.
Walker Kessler is as good as players come defensively in the paint. He averages 3.9 blocks per game and will negate any contributions from the big man on the Rebels, Nysier Brooks.
This could also come into play with rebounding. Brooks averages 8.3 boards per game, and no other Rebels player is close. If Auburn removes him from Ole Miss’ offensive equation, it will be able to prevent second scoring chances in much of this outing.
Ole Miss also does not shoot 3s well, either, and Auburn holds opponents to 30.7% outside the perimeter.
Simply put, this could hamper the play of Jarkel Joiner and Matthew Murrell, two of the best outside shooters on Ole Miss (over 39% each on the season). Johnson and Green are strong matchups for both.
Now, Ole Miss is not the most fine-tuned offensive threat in the SEC. The Rebels only shoot 32.4% as a team from deep and 49.4% inside, so given Auburn’s typical defensive approach, it is hard to envision much of a bombardment of points from the home squad.
However, the Rebels thrive in terms of controlling pace. They rank 255th in adjusted tempo, per KenPom, and average 17.2 seconds per possession on both the offensive and defensive ends. If they can put pressure on the Auburn 3-point game, this will play a massive part in this under.
The Rebels are elite at defending the outside shooting. Opponents of the Rebels hold a measly 28.6% 3-point percentage on the season, which ranks 24th in college basketball.
About 1/3 of Auburn’s point distribution comes from downtown, so this will hinder its ability to drive up the score.
Ruffin can guard Green well. In fact, he averages 2.6 steals per game, so Ruffin will be able to cause some frustration, which could lead to missed shots.
Smith is the next best 3-point shooter for the Tigers, and he will be Ole Miss’ toughest matchup.
Auburn vs. Ole Miss Betting Pick
This looks like it will be a defensive SEC battle. Auburn should come away victorious, but it is hard to back this wide of a spread for a road team.
Auburn has all of the tools to hold the Rebels to under 60 points, while Ole Miss can eliminate the outside shooting of the Tigers’ guards.
All of these variables factor into the under, so take the under at 139.5 and play it to 136.5.