Thursday SEC Tournament Betting Odds & Picks: Alabama vs. Tennessee, Georgia vs. Florida

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Wesley Hitt/Getty Images. Pictured: Mason Jones

The SEC Tournament is underway as Georgia walloped Ole Miss and Arkansas sent fans home with a victory over Vanderbilt. The SEC had joined plenty of other conferences in closing the door to crowds because of COVID-19.

Gamblers will spend the majority of Thursday inspecting how players handle empty arenas or how referees will call games without crowd influence. Psychologically, those players that thrive in a pickup game gym setting may have a career day.

There are four games on the slate with Arkansas and Georgia advancing after the first round. Thursday winners will advance to Friday quarterfinals against teams that had double byes.

SEC Tournament Second Round Betting

[Bet the SEC Tournament now at DraftKings. NJ, PA, IN and WV only.]

No. 9 Alabama vs. No. 8 Tennessee

  • Spread: Alabama -1
  • Total: 148
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV: SEC Network

Alabama plays at a furious pace, causing havoc to plenty of teams that struggle with pressure and perimeter defense. The Crimson Tide rank top 15 in the nation in point distribution from beyond the arc and have an adjusted tempo rank of third. There have been teams in the SEC willing to run with Alabama, resulting in 200-plus point games against Florida and Georgia, but Tennessee is not one of them.

The Vols lost to Alabama by one in a game that went under the total. The Volunteers and Crimson Tide combined for 33 turnovers in their Feb. 4 game. This could very well happen again as both offenses are at the bottom of the SEC in steal percentage.

While Alabama should have a statistical advantage against a poor Tennessee perimeter defense, the Vols rank as the best in defensive blocks in the conference, a huge advantage over an Alabama team that is 343rd in the nation in offensive block percentage.

Points may be at a premium with this early tip.

Pick: Alabama -1, Under 148 or better

No. 13 Georgia vs. No. 5 Florida

  • Spread: OFF
  • Total: OFF
  • Time: 3:25 p.m. ET
  • TV: SEC Network

Freshman star Anthony Edwards scored just six points in the Georgia victory over Ole Miss on Wednesday.

Upperclassmen Rayshaun Hammonds and Jordan Harris combined for 43 points in a 18-point victory as the Bulldogs entered the game as a 3-point underdog. The Georgia box score was complimented with 19 assists, indicating that Florida may get a hot Bulldogs offense from the start.

Florida took both regular season games against Georgia, by 14 at home and six in Stegeman Coliseum. This is the best possible matchup in the SEC from a shooting perspective for the Gators.

Georgia is dead last in conference play in effective field goal percentage, while Florida is the top shooting team in the conference. Florida is also the second best defensive rebounding team in the league and will limit the Bulldogs second chance points.

We don’t have a line yet, but I’m interested in Florida.

No. 10 Missouri vs. No. 7 Texas A&M

  • Spread: Missouri -2
  • Total: 124
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • TV: SEC Network

If snail pace and ugly offense is your cup of tea, look no further than the Tigers and Aggies kicking off the night slate. Missouri is known for a slow tempo with a rank of 268th, but the Texas A&M’s pace ranks 334th. There should be plenty of half-court play and little transition game, which may favor the team who is better defensively.

The Aggies, who have covered three straight in this series, ended the season on a high note. Outright underdog victories against Arkansas and Auburn are enough for Texas A&M to be picked as a sleeper to advance in this tournament. Missouri had issues away from home court, covering just three games this season outside of Mizzou Arena.

Texas A&M won both head to heads this season, winning by a bucket in Columbia and by 17 at home. Missouri struggled to shoot in both contests, going 26% from long distance. The Tigers rank dead last in the SEC in effective field goal percentage.

Missouri gets the majority of their points from the free throw line, ranking 16th in the nation in free throw point distribution. That will be an issue against an Aggies team that doesn’t foul, ranking 36th in the nation in defensive free throw rate.

Pick: Texas A&M +2 or better

No. 11 Arkansas vs. No. 6 South Carolina

  • Spread: OFF
  • Total: OFF
  • Time: 9:25 p.m. ET
  • TV: SEC Network

Mason Jones got to show off one last time for Razorback fans in the victory over Vanderbilt. It was a perfect execution from a coaching standpoint as Eric Musselman’s team got out to a 25-9 led, allowing Isaiah Joe and Jones to play just 33 minutes.

Bench reserves like Ethan Henderson and Reggie Chaney played more than 15 minutes, keeping the Arkansas stars fresh for South Carolina.

The Razorbacks will be looking for revenge, as South Carolina won as an underdog in Bud Walton Arena on Jan. 29. The Gamecocks roll in to Nashville losing four of their last six regular season games. South Carolina shot just 1 for 13 from long distance in a loss to lowly Vanderbilt.

This is a tough matchup for Arkansas’s sharp shooters, as South Carolina is the best defense with regards to effective field goal percentage in the SEC. The Gamecocks will control the boards at both sides of the court, but the number of Razorback trips to the free throw line will make the difference on Thursday.

South Carolina is dead last in all Division I play in defensive free throw rate. The Razorbacks earned 40 trips to the free throw line in a loss to the Gamecocks earlier this season. Arkansas converted just 26 and lost the game by 2.

Both teams rank in the top 45 in pace and a frenetic tempo is expected in this game. Arkansas will need Isaiah Joe and Mason Jones to take the bulk of the free throw shots, as they rank 27th and 179th nationally in free throw percentage.

South Carolina shoots 62.8% from the charity stripe on the season, having a rank of 344th. Look for Arkansas to win this game from the line in an empty arena with no distractions.

Pick: Arkansas -2 or better

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