SEC Tournament First-Round Best Bets: Two-Game Tipoff, LSU Tops Georgia in Nashville

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NCAAB Pick: LSU -1 (-110) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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LSU -1 (-110)
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Picks Summary:

  • South Carolina +6.5 (-110)
  • LSU -1 (-110)

The SEC Tournament from Nashville begins Wednesday with play-in games featuring:

  • Ole Miss vs. South Carolina
  • LSU vs. Georgia

We have picked out our choices for each one so let’s break down the NCAAB odds from the top-rated online sportsbooks.

Bulldogs fans from the Peach State looking to wager on this game, get the juicy details with our guide to the top Georgia sports betting sites.

Ole Miss Rebels vs. South Carolina Gamecocks 

Wednesday, March 8, 2023 – 07:00 PM EST at Bridgestone Arena

The 2023 SEC Tournament begins Wednesday with this matchup featuring No. 13 Ole Miss (11-20, 3-15 SEC) against No. 12 South Carolina (11-20, 4-14). The winner gets to lose to No. 3 Tennessee in the second round Thursday. 

A few years ago, Ole Miss hit a grand slam in hiring Lane Kiffin as its football coach, and the school is currently looking for a basketball coach as Kermit Davis was fired about a week ago nearing the end of his fifth season. Davis led the Rebs to the NCAA Tournament his first season, but they largely had regressed since. Assistant coach Win Case will serve as the acting head coach for the rest of the season.  

Rumors are the team will look to hire former Texas and Texas Tech coach Chris Beard, and that would be another grand slam. Beard was fired by Texas on Jan. 5 after third-degree domestic abuse charges loomed over his head, but those charges were dropped.  

South Carolina is in its first season under Lamont Paris, formerly of Chattanooga. He did have a strong first recruiting class led by guard G.G. Jackson, who was named to the All-SEC Freshman Team. Jackson should still be in high school but was reclassified over the summer to become the highest-rated recruit in school history.

Super Frosh Leads the Way

The Columbia native is averaging 15.1 points per game (second among freshmen in the league behind only Alabama’s Brandon Miller and has scored 20 or more points 10 times this season, the most 20-point games by a freshman in the program history since South Carolina joined the SEC in 1991-92. 

USC ended a three-game skid in the regular season finale with a 61-55 home win over Georgia. Meechie Johnson scored 18 points and Jacobi Wright had 14, and the pair combined for five free throws in the last 3.6 seconds. Jackson was held to nine points. The ‘Cocks lost one rotation player to injury recently in Chico Carter Jr., whose season is over due to knee troubles. He averaged 9.8 ppg.  

These schools split in the regular season, each winning on the road – combined, they totaled just six wins away from home. Ole Miss is the better rebounding team and much better on the fast break, outscoring foes by 115 this season (323-208). The Rebels have recorded more fast-break points than the other team in 22 of their 31 games.

They should win, but this spread is too high so let’s take the underdog with our first NCAAB pick.  

  • The Rebels are 2-6-1 ATS in their last 9 games following an ATS win. 
  • The Rebels are 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games. 
  • The Gamecocks are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a losing straight-up record. 
  • The Gamecocks are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall. 

NCAAB Pick: South Carolina +6.5 (-110) at BetOnline

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South Carolina +6.5 (-110)
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LSU Tigers vs. Georgia Bulldogs 

Wednesday, March 8, 2023 – 09:00 PM EST at Bridgestone Arena

I think it’s fair to say these schools put football way ahead of basketball – Georgia throttled LSU in the 2022 SEC Football Championship Game.

The Tigers are the No. 14 seed in the SEC Tournament and the Dawgs No. 11, and the winner faces No. 6 Vanderbilt in the second round Thursday. The Commodores will have the benefit of playing in their home city of Nashville but also lost star big man Liam Robbins at the end of the regular season to an injury that will keep him out, so it’s not out of the question the winner here beats Vandy. 

LSU (13-18, 2-16 SEC) was a 22-win team last year and reached the NCAA Tournament but this was always going to be a rebuilding year under new coach Matt McMahon with basically an entirely new roster due to transfers, etc. Not counting walk-ons, the Tigers returned just three scholarship players from last season and one of those scholarship guys missed this season injured. 

The Tigers’ lone SEC wins were by seven at home over Vandy on Feb. 22 and a 60-57 upset of Arkansas way back on Dec. 28.  

Williams Lone Bright Spot

This is a bad offensive team, averaging just 67.5 ppg. KJ Williams, a transfer from Murray State (where McMahon is from), leads at 17.4 ppg but there’s not much else. Williams was named second-team All-SEC. In the last five games of the regular season, he averaged 24.2 points and 8.8 rebounds a game. He had eight double-doubles this season and is third in the league among active players with 35 career double-doubles. This will be the first time LSU has played in the 11-14 game since the 2017 tournament. 

Georgia (16-15, 6-12 SEC) is also under a first-year coach in Mike White, the former Florida coach. The Dawgs actually started SEC play at 3-1 but obviously won just three more times since then and ended the season on a five-game skid, four of the losses by double digits. Still, the 16 wins are 10 more than last year and the six SEC wins are a five-game improvement.  

UGA struggles offensively as well and also has essentially one good player only: Senior Terry Roberts leads the club at 13.3 ppg. He missed a few games injured but is healthy now. Georgia had been 14-0 this season when holding its opponents to 70 or fewer points but lost the regular-season finale 61-55 at South Carolina. 

Georgia beat LSU 65-63 in Athens on Valentine’s Day in the lone meeting between the teams and UGA’s most recent overall win. Justin Hill made a go-ahead layup with 4.2 seconds left. Williams had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Tigers. 

  • The Tigers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 neutral site games. 
  • The Bulldogs are 3-13 ATS in their last 16 games vs. a team with a losing record. 
  • The Bulldogs are 10-29 ATS in their last 39 games following an ATS loss. 

NCAAB Pick: LSU -1 (-110) at BetOnline

*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.