NCAAB Pick: Tennessee -2.5 (-108) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)
The Tennessee Volunteers have enough to beat the NCAAB odds and the Alabama Crimson Tide this Wednesday. Will they go over as well?
Key Information Summary
|Alabama Crimson Tide||Tennessee Volunteers|
|• Current Form: Ranked #1||• Current Form: Ranked #10|
|• Offense: Ranked #13||• Offense: Ranked #51|
|• Defense: Ranked #6||• Defense: Ranked #1|
|• ATS Record: 15-10 (85th)||• ATS Record: 13-12 (178th)|
|• SU Record: 22-3 (10th)||• SU Record: 19-6 (30th)|
|• SU Units: +6.7 Units||• SU Units: -2.2|
|• Over/Under Record: 11-13-1||• Over/Under Record: 10-15|
Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Tennessee Volunteers
Wednesday, February 15, 2023 – 07:00 PM EST at Thompson-Boling Arena
Ah, the old favorite-over combo. It’s not quite as old-school sexy as the underdog-under, but these complementary bets are the right college basketball picks for Wednesday’s SEC matchup between the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide and No. 10 Tennessee Volunteers.
Fading the top-ranked Tide (22-3 SU, 15-9-1 ATS) is classic old-school in and of itself. They’re 2.5-point road dogs on the NCAAB odds board at Heritage Sports as we go to press; the projections we’re studying here at the ranch have Tennessee (19-6 SU, 13-12 ATS) winning by at least three, so make it a suitably small bet on the home faves.
The same goes for the over on that 143.5-point total. It’ll be difficult squeezing any value out of these high-profile conference matchups between now and March Madness, at least when it comes to the single bets, but these are the bets to make – if the computers are right. Let’s investigate.
Is Alabama Really the Best Team in Basketball?
That’s what both the coaches and the fine folks at Associated Press say. Ken Pomeroy has slightly different ideas; his efficiency-based stats still have Houston on top, with Alabama at No. 2 overall (No. 13 offense, No. 6 defense).
It’s not that close, though. Pomeroy rates the Cougars nearly three points better per 100 possessions than ‘Bama; there are only around 1.5 points separating the Tide and No. 5 Tennessee (No. 51 offense, No. 1 defense), which explains in part why the Volunteers are favored at home in this matchup.
Credit where credit is due. Alabama has never looked better on the basketball court – except for that magic 20-0 season under Hank Crisp way back in 1929-30. That was before they had such a thing as advanced stats or a National Championship for that matter.
As far as the “modern” game is concerned, fourth-year head coach Nate Oats has the Tide at plus-23.87 on the Simple Rating System at Sports Reference, easily the best SRS they’ve posted since 1949-50.
They’re also the second-fastest team in college at 73.5 possessions per game. That, plus the threat of overtime, gives us added confidence that the over can overcome Tennessee’s top-ranked defense and sluggish pace (66.2 possessions, No. 245).
Will Charles Bediako Play Wednesday?
Maybe not. Alabama’s starting center is considered day-to-day with what’s being called a “minor” knee injury that he picked up during Saturday’s 77-69 win over Auburn (+1 at home).
The language Oats used to describe the situation to reporters Tuesday suggests to me that Bediako (plus-6.7 BPM) will play, although at less than 100%. He’s a good Canadian kid from Brampton, Ontario, a 7-foot beast and one of their best defenders, so again, Tennessee and the over should both benefit from his malaise.
Having said that, we should acknowledge that Volunteers guard Josiah-Jordan James (plus-8.1 BPM) and forward Julian Phillips (plus-6.6 BPM) are also game-time decisions for Wednesday. James sprained his left ankle in the last minute of last week’s 66-65 loss to Vanderbilt (+10 at home), then missed Saturday’s 86-85 loss to Missouri (+12 away).
Phillips, meanwhile, suffered a strained hip flexor last Friday and sat out the second half of their loss to the Tigers. The Volunteers have to be careful with both players, especially James, who missed eight games earlier in the year while recovering from offseason knee surgery.
When Was the Last Time They Went Over?
Nine years ago. The under is on a nine-game winning streak for this matchup, dating back to February 1, 2014. And it hasn’t been close for the most part; only one of those nine games finished within eight points of the total.
Don’t let those college basketball betting trends fool you. As we said up top, Alabama has never looked better, and this is also the strongest Tennessee team (plus-22.93 SRS) we’ve ever seen – again, apologies to Zora Clevenger and the 1915-16 Vols, who went 12-0.
These are still some tiny profit margins we’re working with here, so there’s no point investing more than a recreational bet on either of our NCAAB picks. If you see a juicy enough college basketball prop to package them around, maybe bump up your wager slightly so it’s not too much smaller than your prop bet; otherwise, keep it fun-sized, and may the sphere be with you.
Wondering where to wager on this college basketball game? Well, TN locals can make their bets at these Tennessee betting sites.
Score Prediction: Alabama 71 - Tennessee 74
NCAAB Pick: Tennessee -2.5 (-108) at Heritage Sports
NCAAB Pick: Over 143.5 (-108) at Heritage Sports
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.