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Arkansas vs. LSU Basketball Odds & Pick: Back Favored Razorbacks In Saturday Shootout

Arkansas vs. LSU Basketball Odds & Pick: Back Favored Razorbacks In Saturday Shootout article feature image

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images. Pictured: Arkansas’ Justin Smith throws it down.

  • LSU and Arkansas both rank among the most fast-paced teams in the country.
  • The two teams meet in Fayetteville in a pivotal matchup in the SEC race on Saturday.
  • College basketball betting analyst Tanner McGrath breaks it down and makes his pick below.

Arkansas vs. LSU Odds

LSU Odds +4.5
Arkansas Odds -4.5
Moneyline +188 / -225
Over/Under 161.5
Time | TV Saturday, 2 p.m. ET | ESPN2
Odds as of Friday evening and via FanDuel.

This should shape up to be a high-scoring, wildly entertaining SEC game.

Both LSU and Arkansas rank in the top 50 in the country in adjusted tempo, per KenPom, and both teams rank top-15 in the country in points per game.

Moreover, both teams have been surging recently. Especially Arkansas, which has won eight of its last nine games and is now in second place in the conference.

All in all, this is going to shape up to be a super exciting game. However, in a game between two dominant offenses, I’m forced to trust the better defense at home in this one.

The Matchup: Trust the Better Defense at Home

Arkansas has been razor(back) sharp recently. It just dominated the top seed in the SEC in Alabama, winning by 15. This run has catapulted the Razorbacks to second place in the SEC, just two games back of Alabama.

Even more impressive, Arkansas is 5-0 against the spread in its last five and 8-1 ATS in its last nine. As we all know: Good teams win, great teams cover.

Meanwhile, LSU has been playing excellent lately as well. It’s gone 3-1 SU and ATS in its last four games and recorded a big win over Tennessee. At 9-5, LSU is now in third place in the SEC and only one game back of Arkansas.

Arkansas is scoring 82.4 points per game, which ranks 13th in the nation. Eric Musselman, who has been coaching incredibly as of late, has his team playing great all-around basketball. Four Razorback players are scoring more than 10 points per game, with Moses Moody leading the way, averaging 16.5 on 43/37/82 shooting splits.

In the big win against Alabama, Moody forced his way to the free-throw line 19 times, converting 16 of them on his way to 24 points.

Meanwhile, LSU’s offense has also been explosive. The Tigers are scoring 82.9 points per game, which is eighth-most in the nation. Additionally, LSU is seventh in the nation and first in the conference in offensive efficiency, per KenPom.

The Tigers are shooting 52.6% from 2-point range this season, which is also first in the SEC.

Freshman guard Cameron Thomas has been playing scary good. He’s scoring 22.7 points per game this season for the Tigers. Meanwhile, Javonte Smart and Trenton Watford are both averaging 16.2 points per game this season.

However, the LSU defense is a big issue.

The Tigers rank ninth in the conference and 156th in the country in defensive efficiency this season. LSU is allowing 75.2 points per game overall this season, which ranks 285th in the nation. Plus, it’s allowing 78.1 points per game in conference play this season, which ranks 10th in the conference.

Meanwhile, the Arkansas defense has been complimenting its offense well. It ranks 15th in the country in defensive efficiency this season, which is also third-best in the conference.

Specifically, the Razorbacks’ defense has been playing great at home. Arkansas is allowing 69.9 points per game overall this season, but it’s allowing just 63.3 points per game at home this season.

In games of this magnitude, I tend to always trust the better defense at home.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

I’m rolling with Arkansas because of its superior defense.

The betting trends also support this. Arkansas is 15-7 ATS overall and 10-4 ATS at home this season, while LSU is just 9-12 ATS overall and 3-5 ATS on the road.

Additionally, LSU is just 3-7 ATS in its last 10 road games.

LSU ripped Arkansas apart on Jan. 13, winning 92-76. However, Arkansas shot just 8-for-31 from deep in that game. I can’t see Arkansas shooting that poorly again and playing as bad defensively, especially because of its recent success and home defense.

If this number was a little higher, I might consider LSU in this one. The Tigers have played exceptionally as of late, but I have to bank on the better defense at home.

Arkansas wins Saturday, and I’m playing this line at Arkansas -4.5.

Pick: Arkansas -4.5.

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