Texas A&M vs. LSU Odds & Picks: Bet the Aggies If Tigers Are Without Javonte Smart
Mark Brown/Getty Images. Pictured: Javonte Smart.
- Will Wade and the LSU Tigers will take on Buzz Williams and the Texas A&M Aggies on Tuesday night.
- LSU could really use Javonte Williams after he missed the team's last game against Nicholls State, but that's not a guarantee.
- Check out BJ Cunningham's full betting analysis for this SEC matchup complete with a pick below.
Texas A&M vs. LSU Odds
|Texas A&M Odds||+7.5 [BET NOW]|
|LSU Odds||-7.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+275 / -360 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||141.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET|
Texas A&M opens up SEC play on Tuesday when it heads to Baton Rouge to take on LSU.
Texas A&M has taken care of business against lesser opponents so far this season but failed its biggest test against TCU. Buzz Williams is looking to improve his squad from ranking 131st in the final KenPom standings last year.
To do that, he will need to address a few key areas of concern on offense for the Aggies to be considered an above-average SEC squad.
The Tigers should be one of the better teams in the SEC again behind Cameron Thomas and Trendon Watford, as they’re ranked inside the top 10 in offensive efficiency, per KenPom.
When LSU has the ball
The Tigers rank sixth in offensive efficiency, and much of that can be attributed to Thomas and Watford. Thomas joined a starting lineup that returned three starters who averaged double figures last season, and he’s now leading the pack with 22.8 points per game.
The reason LSU is so good offensively is that it’s absolutely been shooting the lights out. The Tigers rank 11th in effective field goal percentage and are hitting shots at a ridiculous 62.9% clip from inside the arc.
Defensively, Texas A&M has drastically improved from last season, but it still has a long way to go. The Aggies rank 46th in defensive efficiency and are below the NCAA average in defending opponents’ shots.
However, where they’ve excelled is in turning opponents over, as they own the ninth-highest turnover rate in the country. LSU does a really good job of taking care of the ball, so the Aggies may have some difficulty on defense.
When Texas A&M has the ball
The reason the Aggies struggled on offense last year was that they didn’t have consistent point guard play and lacked a consistent go-to scorer.
Those issues haven’t been addressed going into 2020, which has led to Texas A&M ranking 114th in offensive efficiency. The biggest area for concern on offense right now is taking care of the ball. The Aggies turn the ball over on 25.2% of their possessions, which is the second-worst rate of any Power Five school in the country.
Another huge area concern is almost 28% of their points are coming from the free-throw line, which is the seventh-highest percentage in the country. Relying on points from the charity strike is not sustainable, so the Aggies are going to have to shoot the ball a lot better if they’re going to hang with LSU’s offense.
The Tigers have not been good on defense, but they’ve excelled at defending the 3-ball, allowing only 27.9% to opponents through their first six games. Texas A&M shoots a low percentage from 3, so it may struggle offensively on Tuesday night.
Betting Analysis & Pick
LSU should be able to outpace Texas A&M, but it’s dealing with a few missing pieces at the moment.
Its unquestioned leader, Javonte Smart, missed the last game against Nicholls State due to COVID-19 protocols. If he’s unable to go on Tuesday, I have a hard time seeing how LSU is going to find consistency on both ends of the floor.
Smart is worth about 2.5 points to the spread in my projections, so if he’s unable to go, I’ll have the Tigers projected as only -3.03 favorites at home.
Therefore, I think there’s some value on the Aggies at +7.5, but that’s only if Smart is unable to play.
Pick: Texas A&M +7.5 (down to +6) (if Javonte Smart is out).