Jacksonville State vs. Auburn Odds, Picks: Expect Plenty of Offense in Friday’s NCAA Tournament Game
Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Walker Kessler (Auburn)
- Jacksonville State takes on Auburn in the second NCAA Tournament game of Friday's slate.
- We've already seen one No. 2 seed go down, and the Gamecocks are hoping to make it two.
- Check out our staff's best bet for this first-round showdown below.
Jacksonville State vs. Auburn Odds
|Jacksonville State Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The SEC regular season champions, the Auburn Tigers, look to start their tournament on the right foot when they take on 15-seed Jacksonville State in Greenville, South Carolina.
Auburn was incredibly up and down to finish the season, going 5-4 in its last nine games, after starting the season 22-1. The Tigers have one of the best frontcourts in the nation that could carry them deep into the NCAA Tournament.
Jacksonville State is very fortunate to be in the tournament. Bellermine won the ASUN Tournament, but was ineligible due to rules regarding its transition to Division I.
The Gamecocks can bomb it from deep, so it’ll be interesting to see if they can potentially hang with the Tigers.
Jacksonville State: the tournament team that got thrown out of the bar but snuck its way back in.
After losing in the semifinals of the ASUN Tournament, the Gamecocks were awarded the league’s auto bid because Bellarmine — the real tourney winner — is not eligible for the Big Dance due to the four-year transition process from Division II.
Do the Gamecocks deserve to be here? Probably not. Are they a competitive team that can give Auburn a challenge as a 15 seed? Absolutely.
Jacksonville State went 13-3 in conference play, and gave Alabama a run for its money earlier this season. The Gamecocks are an elite team from beyond the arc, as they rank 11th in the country in 3-point shooting (38.2%).
However, they have struggled with free throws and turnovers. Against Auburn, turnovers could become a game-changing issue for Jacksonville State if it isn’t careful.
They are a very experienced team, and are led by Darian Adams, who paces the unit with 15.6 points per game.
Due to their early exit from the ASUN Tournament, the Gamecocks haven’t played a game for nearly two weeks. There could be some rust, as they have not gone that long without a game all season.
But it could also play to their advantage if they can slow down the pace — Auburn is one of the top-50 fastest-paced teams in the country, while Jacksonville State ranks 276th.
Bruce Pearl continues to build a big-time program at Auburn, and this year was a testament to that. The Tigers are 27-5, won the SEC regular season title and reached the No. 1 spot in the AP Poll for the first time in school history.
Now comes the NCAA Tournament, and Auburn has the talent to make another Final Four run, just as it did in 2019.
This team ranks inside the top 25 in both offensive and defensive adjusted efficiency, which is the type of balance you typically need to make a deep run in this event.
As Keg mentioned, Friday’s game will be a unique situation given Jacksonville State lost in its conference tournament, but is dancing anyway.
Jabari Smith will be the most talented player on the floor, and Walker Kessler should have the opportunity to exert his size on the Gamecocks’ front line.
Pearl believes his team can make a run, and it starts with handling business against a formidable mid-major.
Jacksonville State vs. Auburn Betting Pick
If you are looking for a 3-point shooting contest, this is the game for you.
Jacksonville State is going to be completely out-matched in the frontcourt against Smith and Kessler, so if the Gamecocks are going to win this game or at least cover the number, they’re going to have to hit a boat-load of 3s.
That hasn’t been a problem for them, considering they have the 11th-highest 3-point FG% in the country and take 3s at the 62nd-highest rate. Jacksonville State’s two guards, the Jalen’s — Gibbs and Finch — are both shooting better than 40% from beyond the arc.
Auburn’s defense is obviously very hard to score against at the rim, but the Tigers have struggled defending 3-pointers. They’re outside the top 100 in 3-point efficiency allowed and 206th in open 3-point rate allowed, per ShotQuality. Jacksonville State will have plenty of good looks from deep.
The pace of this game is going to likely be really fast if Auburn is in control of it. The Tigers are top-40 in adjusted tempo and love to play in transition. Jacksonville State is the eighth-most-efficient team in the country there.
But, again, the problem with Jacksonville State is it's throwing 6-foot-10 and 6-foot-7 defenders at Kessler and Smith. Auburn should be able to score at will in the paint.
Given the fact that Jacksonville State shoots 3s at such an efficient rate and the pace of this game is likely going to be in Auburn’s favor, I love over 138.5 points.
Another thing in support of our over 138.5 play is the ShotQualityBets.com model, making the total 146 points based on over 40 ShotQuality variables. For 10% off ShotQualityBets' March Madness Package, here's promo code: ACTION