Kansas vs. Auburn Betting Guide: Can Tigers Bounce Back in NCAA Tournament Second Round?

Kansas vs. Auburn Betting Guide: Can Tigers Bounce Back in NCAA Tournament Second Round? article feature image

USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Bryce Brown and Charlie Moore

#4 Kansas vs. #5 Auburn NCAA Tournament Betting Odds

  • Spread: Auburn -1
  • Over/Under: 142.5
  • Date: Saturday, March 23
  • Time: 9:40 p.m. ET
  • TV: TBS
  • Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

>> All odds as of Friday morning. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and live win probabilities on your bets.

The Tigers (18-16-1 against the spread) failed to cover their win over New Mexico State in the Round of 64, as Aggies forward Trevelin Queen missed a game-winning 3-point attempt at the buzzer. On the flip side, the Jayhawks (16-18-1 ATS) covered in a dominant 87-53 win over Northeastern.

Which side presents more value in this Round of 32 matchup? Let’s dissect the most critical factors.

Will Auburn Excel Within its Situational Spot?

Coming off an loss ATS this season, the Tigers are 2-4 (33.3%) in attempt to cover the ensuing matchup. But their second win ATS came vs. Tennessee on Sunday, notching a 20-point victory after failing to cover against Florida in the SEC tournament semifinals.

New Mexico State closed the game on a 16-8 run, aided by Jared Harper’s two turnovers in the final minute, so expect Bruce Pearl’s troops to come out revved up because it couldn’t put the Aggies away on countless occasions.

Bill Self’s crew looks to be in a letdown spot after cruising past Northeastern in the Round of 64. Guided by a freshman-driven backcourt in Devon Dotson and Quentin Grimes, there’s plenty of potential for a cruise control-like performance in the early goings of the first half.

Tigers’ Perimeter Attack

Kansas is allowing the 42nd-highest 3-point scoring rate (36.5%) in the country, yet Northeastern couldn’t take advantage in transition or half-court sets. Expect Auburn to be much better there and hit 3s.

Pearl’s squad boasts the 23rd-highest 3-point clip (38.1%) in the country, as well as the seventh-highest scoring percentage (43.5%) from behind the arc. Tigers guard Bryce Brown never discovered a rhythm against New Mexico State, shooting just 2-of-8 from distance.

Whether Self plugs Grimes or the fellow 6-foot-5 guard Ochai Agbaji onto Brown, he won’t have nearly as sound of a ballhawk as Harper, who will be dealing with Dotson.

Moreover, Auburn and its offensive rebounding rate (32.3%, 55th-best in the country) should be a factor off its long misses from the perimeter. Kansas doesn’t have the size to keep Chuma Okeke & Co. off the offensive boards, either.

Matching Up with Dedric Lawson

The Tigers’ small-ball lineup isn’t equipped to handle the 6-foot-9 Lawson (19.1 ppg) one-on-one. He continued to prove how critical he is to the Jayhawks’ 29th-ranked Adjusted Offensive Efficiency (113.5 points per 100 possessions) against Northeastern.

But Pearl’s unit will likely throw traps his way, with the 6-foot-8 Horace Spencer off the bench, to keep the Kansas big off-balance. It should be able to create havoc via that philosophy, as well, and Auburn is already manufacturing the highest opponents’ turnover rare (25.3%) in the country.

The Jayhawks inexperience was on display in Big 12 play, accruing the conference’s second-highest turnover percentage (20.1%). Auburn forces turnovers better than anyone, and the aforementioned Harper, Samir Doughty and Malik Dunbar are in position to expose them in another area.

Eli’s Pick: Auburn -1, but I wouldn’t bet it past Auburn -2.5.

Sean Koerner’s Auburn-Kansas Projections

Get point spreads for this game and every possible tournament matchup with our bracket simulator built by Sean Koerner, our Director of Predictive Analytics, a former oddsmaker and FantasyPros’ most accurate in-season fantasy football ranker from 2015-2017.

  • Spread: Auburn -0.5
  • Total: 143
  • Proj Score: Auburn 72 | Kansas 71.5
  • Win Probability: Auburn 50.1% | Kansas 49.9%

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game is from the individual writer and are based on his research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.

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