College Basketball Odds, Pick, Prediction: LSU vs. Alabama (Wednesday, Jan. 19)
James Gilbert/Getty Images. Pictured: Jahvon Quinerly.
- The Alabama Crimson Tide host the LSU Tigers in Wednesday night SEC basketball action.
- The Tigers are due for some negative regression, and some of that could be seen in their most recent loss to Arkansas.
- Charlie DiSturco breaks down the game below and shares his best bet.
LSU vs. Alabama Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Two teams that have been trending in opposite directions meet for an SEC clash on Wednesday night.
LSU has surpassed all expectations to start the season, including a 12-0 start and a pair of wins over Kentucky and Tennessee. It recently lost its first home game — second all year — against Arkansas on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Alabama looks to right the ship as it returns to Coleman Coliseum after falling on the road to Mississippi State. The Crimson Tide are losers of their last three and have fallen below .500 in conference play.
Can Alabama bounce back and add another marquee win to its resume against LSU? Or will the Tigers continue to roll this season?
After a hot start to the season that included 12 straight wins, LSU is slowly falling back to earth.
The Tigers enter off a loss on their home floor to Arkansas, and they should’ve lost to Florida if it weren’t for the Gators’ terrible free-throw shooting and consistent misses on wide-open looks from 3.
Yet, they still boast the No. 1 defense in both adjusted efficiency and eFG%. They also rank 12th in 2-point defense, sixth in defending the 3-ball and second in opponents’ free-throw percentage.
All this to say, if there was ever a team to get bit by the negative regression bug, LSU is a prime candidate. Opponents are getting good looks when attacking this Tigers defense but have been largely unsuccessful.
Not to mention, free-throw shooting will even out. We saw Florida gift LSU with its 11-of-22 performance at the charity stripe in a six-point loss. Competent teams will not falter like that in close affairs.
Starting point guard Xavier Pinson is questionable for Wednesday night’s matchup with a knee injury.
Eric Gaines will start if he is unable to go. In the two games without Pinson, the sophomore guard has averaged 14.5 points and two steals. His weakness has been turnovers, as he ranks last among all Tigers with 3.3 per game.
Tari Eason continues to be the steady hand for LSU. The Cincinnati transfer not only is elite defensively, but he’s also provided a spark on the offensive end, too. The 6-foot-8 forward takes 29.8% of shots while on the floor and consistently finds his way to the free-throw line.
If there’s a team that desperately needs a bounce-back win this week, it’s Alabama. It’s been a rollercoaster of a season for Nate Oats’ squad that just about has a bad loss for every good win.
This is a team that took out Gonzaga and Houston in back-to-back games and has since fallen to the likes of Davidson and Missouri. It’s experienced the highest highs and lowest lows.
The Crimson Tide love to push the pace and let it fly from beyond the arc. They rank 11th in average possession length — 15.3 seconds — and shoot a 3 on 46% of all field goals. If an opponent gives them an open look from beyond the arc, there’s no second-guessing.
The Tide’s problem has been their ineffectiveness in converting these chances, shooting just 31.8% from 3. This is a way better offense than the stats show, and shooting variance will come and go.
A year removed from shooting 43% from beyond the arc, Jahvon Quinerly has nearly halved his percentage and sits at 24.7%. Jaden Shackelford has been hot and cold, too, and is just 11-for-43 from 3 over the last five games.
Alabama loves to live on the perimeter, and positive shooting regression should follow suit. While the long ball has experienced high variance all season for the Crimson Tide, an area they dominate comes around the paint.
This is a team that ranks 29th in offensive rebounding rate and 10th in 2-point offense. Five separate players shoot 61% or better on shots inside the arc.
Juwan Gary has been the difference-maker in both areas, shooting 68.8% on 2s and grabbing a pair of offensive rebounds in just 19 minutes per game.
LSU vs. Alabama Betting Pick
This is the definition of a desperation game for Alabama as it quickly falls down the SEC ranks. Losers in three straight and four of its last six, responding with a home win against a top team like LSU would be massive.
The area to beat this Crimson Tide team is inside. Teams won’t beat this squad from beyond the arc, where they rank 32nd. It’s using the post and attacking the interior defense, which ranks 238th in 2-point defense. In each of Alabama’s last three losses, opponents shot 50% or better from 2.
But I’m not sure LSU can expose the weakness of Alabama. Efton Reid has struggled with foul trouble of late and hasn’t broken 20 minutes in nearly a month. Outside of the freshman, there’s no other rotational player on this Tigers squad above 6-foot-8. If starting point guard Pinson misses this game, too, Alabama would have a distinct backcourt edge.
And on the opposite end, this is a Tigers defense that gives up a lot of 3-point attempts (350th), which is where Alabama lives and dies.
To me, LSU is on a slippery slope and has been long overdue for negative regression to hit. The loss against Arkansas was the first step, and now it has to travel to Tuscaloosa in a tough environment to take on a talented Crimson Tide team.
Back Alabama to snap its three-game losing streak and get back on track against the Tigers.
Pick: Alabama -2.5 (Play to -3.5)
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