College Basketball Odds, Pick for Tennessee vs Alabama

College Basketball Odds, Pick for Tennessee vs Alabama article feature image

Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images. Pictured: Mark Sears (Alabama)

Tennessee vs Alabama Odds

Saturday, March 2
8 p.m. ET
Tennessee Odds
-110o / -110u
Alabama Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAB odds here.

Tennessee takes on Alabama on Saturday, March 2 at 8 p.m. ET. Here's college basketball odds and a pick for Tennessee vs Alabama.

On Wednesday night, Tennessee and Alabama both pulled off thrilling victories. Tennessee knocked off Auburn, 92-84, in a top-15 matchup, while Alabama went on the road and knocked off Ole Miss 103-88.

Now, Tennessee and Alabama are set up for a primetime matchup with major implications both nationally and in the SEC.

At 12-3, these teams are tie atop the SEC. Additionally, most bracket projections have Tennessee as a two seed and in play for a one seed, while Alabama is on the three line. A Tennessee win may give it the boost it needs to move up as it would secure a season sweep of Alabama and pole position atop the SEC with a week left in the regular season.

Tennessee won the first meeting, 91-71 in Knoxville, in January. However, Alabama has been far more dangerous at home, where it is 13-1 this season. The Crimson Tide are short home favorites this time around.

Tennessee Volunteers

In a loaded SEC, Dalton Knecht has to be considered the favorite to win SEC Player of the Year. However, Wednesday's performance may have been his best of the season. Against Auburn, he tied his season-high with 39 points, 21 of which came in the final nine minutes of the game as he outscored the Tigers by himself.

His clutch performance was actually fitting considering he was named among the choices for the Oscar Robertson Trophy and All-American Watch List on Tuesday. Knecht leads the SEC in scoring at 20.8 points per game and is averaging five rebounds per game. He also leads a Tennessee offense that ranks 19th in adjusted offensive efficiency.

Joining him as double-digit scorers are forward Jonas Aidoo and guard Zakai Zeigler. They are also key pieces to Tennessee's defense. Aidoo ranks fourth in the SEC with 7.6 rebounds per game and is third with 1.9 blocks per game. Tennessee is 19th in the country in blocks percentage and fifth in 2o-point percentage defense.

Zeigler is one of the peskiest defenders in the country and has averaged two steals per game in each of the past two seasons. This season, he ranks fourth in the conference in steals. Josiah-Jordan James, who can do a bit of everything, is averaging six rebounds and 1.3 steals per game. At 6'7", he's able to guard four positions and give head coach Rick Barnes some flexibility.

Alabama Crimson Tide

Last season, Alabama had a top-20 offense, but the Crimson Tide have taken it to another level this year. Alabama leads the country in adjusted offensive efficiency and has done so while playing at the 11th-fastest pace. As a result, the Crimson Tide lead the country in scoring at 91.5 points per game.

Senior guards Mark Sears and Aaron Estrada lead the way. Sears is second in the SEC in scoring at 20.6 points per game, just behind Knecht, and is shooting 44.3% from 3 on over five attempts per game. Estrada is averaging 13.3 points per game, and both he and Sears average over four rebounds, four assists and 1.6 steals per game.

Alabama ranks in the top 15 in effective field goal percentage, free throw percentage and 3-point percentage. Despite its high-powered attack, Alabama was held to a season-low 71 points in its first meeting against the Volunteers. Tennessee knocked down six more triples and forced Alabama into turnovers while committing just seven itself.

Turnovers can be an issue for the Crimson Tide at times. They average 12.1 per game and rank 127th in turnover percentage. They will need to handle Tennessee's pressure much better this time around.

Forcing more turnovers may also help. Alabama forces 12 per game with the extra possessions it creates from its tempo. Overall, Alabama ranks just 250th in turnover percentage defensively.

Tennessee vs Alabama

Betting Pick & Prediction

In the first meeting, Tennessee was able to secure its advantage through 3s and turnovers, making six more 3s and holding a 22-7 edge in the turnover battle. Alabama will need to keep its turnovers to a minimum against Tennessee's pressure, but I'm also expecting it to shoot much better at home.

The Crimson Tide average 11.6 made 3s per game over 30 attempts, so they are going to get them up. At home, Alabama is averaging 95.4 points this season. It has scored 80 points in nine straight games and 90 points in five straight games. If those respective streaks extend to 10 and six, then I like Alabama's chances of winning this game.

Additionally, Tennessee is  6-3 outright on the road this season. However, dating back to last season, it is just 4-10 ATS in its past 14 road games. With that in mind, I am backing Alabama to gain sole possession atop the SEC.

Pick: Alabama -2.5

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Doug Ziefel
Jun 23, 2024 UTC