Auburn vs. Alabama Expert Pick and Prediction – January 24, 2024
AUBURN VS. ALABAMA EXPERT PICK AND PREDICTION – January 24, 2024 — Maybe it was inevitable that Alabama was going to run out of gas. The Crimson Tide have challenged themselves more than almost anyone this season, with a schedule ranking second in the nation. In that sense, Alabama’s blowout loss at Tennessee on Saturday was completely understandable.
Counterpoint: Alabama’s going to have to win one of these games eventually. While the Tide have played one of the toughest schedules in the nation, they also haven’t been collecting wins. At 12-6, all Nate Oats’ team has done is amass a collection of really good losses. The schedule has included Purdue, Creighton, Arizona, Clemson and Tennessee, but to date, the Tide’s best win of the season is Indiana State.
Auburn’s got to prove itself as well, despite its gaudy record. While the Tide were bruising themselves against college basketball’s elite, the Tigers played a weaker schedule that proved far more manageable. A 16-2 record is usually a sign of a top seed, but when you haven’t beaten anyone more impressive than Texas A&M, you’re going to be a lot closer to the No. 4 or No. 5 line than to earning a top seed.
Despite the record, beating Alabama would serve as notice that Auburn’s a real threat in the SEC. The league looks to be deep rather than top-heavy, so wins like this don’t come around often. This represents a huge opportunity in the basketball version of the Iron Bowl.
(16-2 SU, 12-5-1 ATS)
(12-6 SU, 10-8 ATS)
When: Wednesday, January 24 at 7:30 p.m. EST
Where: Coleman Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Public Bets: 65% on Alabama
Public Money: 95% on Alabama
Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of January 21st, 2024.
Auburn vs. Alabama In-Season Trends
Alabama is heavy on speed, but the Tide do play some defense. In wins over South Carolina and Vanderbilt, the total went under and had more to do with Alabama’s defense than a lack of offense. Only Tennessee has held the Tide to under 74 points all season, which is why Alabama’s totals are so high. However, Alabama is just 2-3 SU and 1-4 ATS when it doesn’t put at least 80 on the board.
Putting 80 on the board is seldom a problem for Auburn: the Tigers have done it in 10 of their past 11 games. Texas A&M was the lone exception, and Auburn locked down in that game to hold the Aggies to 55 points. Auburn’s defense has shone in SEC play, holding four of five opponents to 65 points or less.
But given that the only one of the five to rank in the top 80 nationally was Texas A&M, it’s a question as to whether the defense is for real.
If Mark Sears and Rylan Griffen have cleaned up their turnover issues, Alabama has the edge. If not, Auburn’s going to roll. The Crimson Tide literally threw away their game with Tennessee, giving the ball away 22 times in a 20-point defeat. Alabama has to take care of the basketball to avoid falling into a deep hole.
Related: Angell’s Sports Analysis for Jan. 24
Johni Broome has basically been a guaranteed double-digit scorer for Auburn this season, but his rebounding has been a little inconsistent. In this game, given how well Alabama scores on second chance points, the Tigers will need both from Broome.
The total’s a little high for my liking, but I do like Alabama’s chances to come away with a win. The Tide didn’t show their best selves against Tennessee, but they should have their best for Auburn. Alabama has to get one of these wins on the ledger, and they won’t have a better chance than taking down Auburn at home.
This should be a packed house and a tough place to play for Auburn. I’m backing Alabama to get a key home win.