Auburn vs Alabama Game Preview

Auburn hosts Alabama in Auburn Arena tonight. I did a deep dive into the game. This preview includes gambling stuff and not-gambling stuff. My betting picks for the game are at the end.

Recent Body of Work:

  • Auburn (21-2):
    • 6 game winning streak
    • 13-0 at home this season
    • 43-3 at home since the start of the 2018 season: 15-1 in 2018, 15-2 in 2019, 13-0 in 2020.
    • Just finished a brutal stretch of their schedule with four consecutive wins at Mississippi (83-82 2OT), home to Kentucky (75-66), at Arkansas (79-86 OT), and home to LSU (91-90 OT).
  • Alabama (13-10):
    • Has struggled lately, losing three of its past four games. The Crimson Tide barely won their last game at Georgia, winning 105-102 in overtime.
    • Struggled on the road in SEC play. The Crimson lost at Florida, Kentucky, and LSU with wins at Vanderbilt (without Nesmith) and the overtime escape at Georgia.
    • They are an impressive 16-7 ATS but only 1-4 ATS in their last five games.

Notable Betting Trends

  • Auburn Win % ATS
    • 50% after a win
    • 50% with 2-3 days off (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday)
    • 50% in conference games
    • 50% with equal rest (both teams played Saturday)
    • 47.8% on the season
    • 46.2% at home & home favorite (haven’t been a dog at home)
    • 45% as favorite
  • Alabama Win % ATS
    • 80% as away underdog
    • 80% against ranked opponents
    • 75% after a win
    • 75% on the road
    • 75% as underdog
    • 70% in conference games
    • 69.6% on the season
    • 64.3% with 2-3 days off (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday)
    • 54.5% with equal rest
  • Auburn Over %
    • 71.4% with equal rest
    • 58.3% as home team & home favorite (haven’t been a dog at home)
    • 55.6% in conference games
    • 53.8% with 2-3 days off
    • 45.5% on the season
    • 45% after a win
    • 42.1% as favorite
    • Have had 3 out of 13 home games go over 160 points. One was in a 116-70 win over Cal St Northridge.
    • Have had 1 SEC games go over 160 in regulation: home vs Vandy. (Games against Ole Miss and LSU went over in OT).
  • Alabama Over %
    • 70% with equal rest
    • 69.2% with 2-3 days off
    • 63.6% on the season
    • 57.1% on the road
    • 55.6% in conference games
    • 54.5% after a win
    • 50% as away underdog
    • 42.9% as underdog
    • 0% against ranked oppenents
    • Have had 5 away games go over 160 points.
    • Have has 3 SEC games go over 160 points.

Key On-The-Court Things

  • Rebounding:
    • Auburn:
      • 14th overall in offensive rebounding
      • 1st in SEC play in defensive rebounding percentage
  • Turnovers:
    • Alabama:
      • Ranking 257th in defensive turnover percentage
        • 339th in block %
        • 330th in steal %
      • Average of 15.7 turnovers per game (326th overall)
  • 2P%:
    • The Tide’s SEC-best 54.3% 2P in conference play will be tested by Auburn’s imposing frontline of Isaac Okoro (12.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg), Anfernee McLemore (7.7 ppg, 1.4 bpg, 7.3 Blk% (67th in NCAA)), and 6-foot-11 senior center Austin Wiley (9.7 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 1.5 bpg, 7.8 Blk% (54th in NCAA)).
  • Free Throws:
    • Auburn is 4th in the nation in FT Rate, and Alabama is 224th in defensive FT Rate.

Injuries, Key Match-ups, and Players to Watch

  • Auburn is remarkably healthy right now and should get a boost from the return of senior forward Danjel Purifoy (9.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg) who missed the last game with the flu.
  • Alabama is still without junior 6-foot-7 forward Herbert Jones (9.9 ppg, 6.3 rpg) due to a fractured wrist. Jones’s impact on the Tide’s home win over Auburn legitimately cannot be overstated. He was 4-7 shooting, 6-10 from the charity stripe, grabbed 12 rebounds, and played incredible lockdown defense – especially in the second half.
  • Austin Wiley vs Alex Reese
    • Austin Wiley, Auburn’s 6-foot-11 senior center should have his way inside against Alabama’s 6-foot-9 forward(?), but Reese had a game-changing impact on the first matchup between these two teams. His early 3 pointers pulled Wiley out of the paint where he doesn’t have the quickness to keep up with Reese off the dribble and can’t be as much of a factor on the defensive glass. That’s especially important since Wiley is 8th in the nation in defensive rebound % at 30.6%. On the other end of the court, Wiley should be able to have his way inside. Wiley is bigger and stronger than every player on this Alabama roster. However, Auburn has had major issues getting the ball to him inside. That may matter less in this game. Wiley is 7th in the country in offensive rebound % at 17%. Reese only had 3 rebounds in the first matchup between these two teams, all on the defensive end. Wiley had 7 offensive rebounds. Fun Fact: Wiley is Auburn’s top usage player, but he isn’t in Auburn’s top 5 in minutes.
  • J’Von McCormick/Samir Doughty vs John Petty Jr/Kira Lewis Jr
    • The backcourt match-up. Alabama’s combo of Petty (6’ 5”) and Lewis (6’ 3”) is long and fast, and it’s no secret they got the best of Auburn’s backcourt duo in the first game. McCormick (6’) had been struggling mightily during conference play, highlighted by 9 TOs vs 2 assists @ Ole Miss, until the last two games against Arkansas (16-6-3) and LSU (23-9-9). Doughty (6’ 4”) seemed to come out of his slump against Kentucky on February 1st, averaging 24-4.33-1 in Auburn’s last 3 games. Alabama plays at the 4th fastest pace in the country and that pace is controlled by Lewis. We saw Auburn struggle to play at Alabama’s pace in Tuscaloosa, and Lewis was the best player on the court during that game totaling 25 points and shooting 8-9 from the free throw line. McCormick and Doughty were awful in the first matchup shooting a combined 4-19 (0-5 from 3) for just 11 points. Both players fouled out. Auburn will need a much better performance from two of their best and most experienced players if they are going to win this game.
  • Anfernee McLemore
    • The 6-foot-7 PF/C has quietly been one of Auburn’s best players, if not their best player, this season and especially in conference play. On the season, the 21-year-old is shooting 68.4% from 2, 32.9% from 3, and has a 7.3 block %. During SEC play, he has been one of the best players in the conference. McLemore is either first or second on Auburn’s team with a 113.8 ORtg (22nd in SEC), a 18.7 DR% (12th), an 11.3 TORate (13th), a 3.0 Blk% (25th), and is shooting 67.7% from 2P range (4th). Isaac Okoro (3.2%) and Austin Wiley (8.1%) have a higher Blk%, and Wiley is #1 in the conference in both OR% and DR% (17.4% and 28.4). That means that Anfernee has the top rating on the team for ORtg, TORate, and 2P% during SEC play.
  • Devan Cambridge
    • The 6-foot-6 freshman forward has exploded twice for Auburn during conference play, going 7-10 from 3 (21 pts) against LSU and 6-9 from 3 (36 pts) against South Carolina. He has don’t virtually nothing in Auburn’s 8 other SEC games, totaling only 4 points and going 0-10 from beyond the arc. He has shot at least one 3-pointer in every SEC game except the first one. The bright spot for Auburn fans: he is shooting 38.5% from 3-point range this season which would indicate that he can add points from deep on any given night. The dark spot for Auburn fans: he is shooting a completely unsustainable 48% from 3-point range during SEC play (the last 10 games). I would expect more 0-1 or 0-2 games from distance for the young buck in coming games.
  • Jaden Shackelford
    • This would’ve been about Herb Jones if he was playing, but he isn’t. That isn’t to say that Shackelford isn’t a good player, he is. He has been one of the better players in the SEC during conference play. He has a 51.9% eFG% (16th) and a 56.9% TS% (15th). Those numbers are so good because he had shot 87.1% from the FT line and 37.5% from beyond the arc in conference play, good for 5th and 9th in the conference, respectively. All those numbers are the best on Alabama’s team.

I love this revenge spot for Auburn against a short-handed Crimson Tide team that has been playing like trash. The Tigers need to keep pace with LSU and Kentucky and are an impressive 13-0 at home. Bets: Auburn -7.5 & U160.5