No. 12 Auburn, one of the surprise teams in the country this season, could all but wrap up the SEC’s regular-season title on Wednesday night. What better school to do that against than blood-rival Alabama in the hardwood version of the Iron Bowl? The Tigers are solid betting favorites in the College Basketball lines.
Alabama at Auburn College Basketball Lines & Expert Pick for WednesdayWatchESPNRadio: 102.9 FM (Alabama) / Tigers Sports Network (Auburn)Opening College Basketball Lines: Auburn -8.5
First MeetingOn Jan. 17 in Tuscaloosa, Auburn was upset 76-71. John Petty had 27 points, and Dazon Ingram added 16. The Tide played without their starting point guard and leading scorer, freshman star Collin Sexton, who sat out with an abdominal injury. But Petty more than made up for the loss. Also a freshman, he eight of 13 3-point attempts. Another freshman, Herbert Jones, had seven rebounds, four steals, and four assists to go along with his 11 points. Bryce Brown scored a team-high 12 points for the Tigers. They had won three straight in the series.
Why Bet on Alabama?The Tide (17-10) are on the NCAA Tournament bubble and come off an 81-71 loss at Kentucky on Saturday. The contest was a back-and-forth affair throughout, featuring eight ties and 15 lead changes before the Wildcats ended the game on a 12-4 run to pull away.Bama was crushed on the boards to the tune of 44-27, including a 20-9 edge in offensive rebounds. As a result, the Wildcats earned a 20-11 advantage in second chance points which helped UK pull away in the final few minutes of the game. The Wildcats have won six straight over Alabama, including 11 of the past 12 games. Donata Hall led Alabama with 16 points, John Petty had 13, Colin Sexton 12 and Alex Reese 10.Over his last three games, Hall is averaging 17.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 1.3 steals per game. At the same time, the junior forward is shooting 82.1 percent from the field (23-of-28), while 12 of his 23 made field goals have been dunks. He currently leads the SEC with 61 dunks this season.This likely will be the only Auburn-Alabama game for Tide star freshman Sexton as he missed the first matchup, although the teams could play in the SEC Tournament. The former 5-star recruit ranks third in the SEC in scoring average (18.1 ppg) and tops the team in assists per game (3.5). Known for his ability to get to the line, Sexton also ranks fifth in the SEC in free throws made and is third in the league in free throws attempted, while also ranking 52nd in the nation in foul shots made and 51st in free throws attempted.In league games, Alabama ranks as the top defensive team in the SEC. Through 14 conference games, Alabama tops the SEC in scoring defense (65.6), field goal percentage defense (.392) and blocks per game (5.4), while ranking second in three-point field goal percentage defense (.299) and third in steals (6.7).
Why Bet on Auburn?Auburn (23-4) has a two-game lead over Tennessee as the Tigers close on the SEC regular-season title. The Tigers, though, come off an 84-75 upset loss at South Carolina on Saturday. To make matters worse, the Tigers found out shortly after the loss that starter Anfernee McLemore was lost for the season after a horrific injury late in the first half.The Tigers were already one of the smallest teams in the country and will go the rest of the year minus their top low-post presence in the 6-foot-7 McLemore, who fractured his tibia and dislocated his left ankle. McLemore was leading the SEC with 2.7 blocks per game, while also adding 7.4 points and 5.3 rebounds a game.Mustapha Heron led Auburn with 16 points, just four of those coming in the second half. Bryce Brown, the Tigers’ leading scorer this season, was held to 10 points (six fewer than his average) on 3-of-16 shooting. Brown was in a walking boot last Thursday and did not practice with the team, and he “struggled to move much” on Friday as the Tigers prepared for their road trip to Columbia, S.C. Brown is expected to keep playing though his injury, though.Four Auburn players average in double figures led by Brown’s 16.4 points per game, while also topping the team in threes made (87) and attempted (215) and minutes per game (30.8). Heron ranks second in the team with 16.1 ppg, while sophomore Jared Harper (13.5 ppg) and junior Desean Murray (10.7 ppg) also average in double figures.Auburn is one of the top offensive teams in the country as it enters the contest leading the SEC in scoring offense (84.7 points per game), scoring margin (+12.1) and free throw percentage (.781). The Tigers also leads the league in three-pointers made per game (9.9).With just eight healthy scholarship players, Bruce Pearl is taking no chances for the remainder of the season as Auburn won’t have any more contact in practices.
Latest College Basketball Lines Trends
- Alabama is 8-4 ATS in its last 12 games
- Alabama is 8-4 SU in its last 12 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 11 of Alabama’s last 13 games
- Auburn is 11-3 ATS in its last 14 games
- Auburn is 21-3 SU in its last 24 games
- The total has gone OVER in 4 of Auburn’s last 6 games when playing Alabama