All eyes will be on the SEC rematch after a thriller in the first meeting between rivals Auburn and Alabama.
The conference showdown between two top teams goes down on Wednesday night, and the betting market is shaded towards Auburn to get even with Alabama. However, I'm looking at another betting angle for this marquee matchup.
I also am betting two other teams to even the series score with a conference foe, keep on reading for my Wednesday college hoops bets!
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College Basketball Betting Record: 93-65-3 (+23.94U)
Best College Basketball Bets Today
- Auburn Team Total OVER 83.5
- Villanova vs. Xavier (-3)
- USC vs. Cal (-2.5)
Alabama vs. Auburn Prediction and Pick
This rematch sets up for an Auburn win and cover.
While the Crimson Tide held off a second-half spurt from Auburn to win and cover as small favorites, I don't envision the team will have the same fate on the road this time. In the first meeting, Auburn hit only five of 25 three's (20%) despite shooting nearly 55% on two's. Meanwhile, Alabama had the opposite shooting splits, hitting 11 threes on 30 attempts and shooting 39% on two's.
With Broome protecting the rim, Alabama's offense will continue to be over-reliant on the three-point shot, which won't travel well. This season, the Crimson Tide's shooting 30% from beyond the arc on the road, per Bart Torvik, which is 253rd in the country.
On the other side, I expect Auburn to continue to find success inside and see an up-tick in three-point shooting against an Alabama defense that is due a three percent three-point percentage jump, according to ShotQuality.
The spread has been pushed out north of two possessions, so I'm pivoting and taking the Auburn team total over.
PICK: Auburn Team Total OVER 83.5
Villanova vs. Xavier Prediction and Pick
Last week, I played Xavier in the second matchup of the season against St. John's at The Cintas Center. Well, I'm firing on a similar thesis on Wednesday with the Musketeers looking to even the series with Villanova, who escaped the first meeting with a one-point win.
Since then, the Wildcats have dropped six of eight games, including three road games with two by double digits. However, advanced metric websites like KenPom (39th) look at the five-out offense of Kyle Neptune's bunch favorably. However, this is a poor matchup for the visitors on Wednesday night with Xavier's ability to run teams off the three-point line (90th in opponent three-point rate) and speed up the game.
While Villanova looks to slow the game down and shut off transition offense, the team can be had in the open court. ShotQuality grades the Villanova defense as 290th in points allowed per possession in transition, which can give Xavier plenty of opportunities to push, a team that is fourth in transition rate.
Even amidst a poor run of form in Big East play, Villanova is allowing teams to shoot only 29% from beyond the arc. There is more room for this team to falter. I'll take the home favorite to pull away and even the season series with Villanova.
PICK: Xavier -3
USC vs. Cal Prediction and Pick
USC snapped a six-game losing streak by knocking off Oregon State at home, but are back on the road to face Cal, who the team held off at home on January 3rd, 82-74. It's worth noting that ShotQuality deemed that Cal wins that game 85% of the time given the shot profile of both teams.
However, that game featured a standout showing from future lottery pick Isaiah Collier, who is out for this game and his absence has been a big reason why the Trojans have fallen off in a big way.
The Trojans' lone true road win this season was a win at Alabama State, which is 292nd in KenPom's adjusted efficiency rating. Other than that, the team is 0-6 on the road, losing all but one game by double digits.
The team is in Berkley on Wednesday night, a team that is far better than its metrics state.
Cal has been snake-bitten by a handful of tight losses, losing four PAC-12 games by single digits (the other two were blowout losses to top team Arizona), and can put USC's leaky defense in the pick-and-roll and generate easy buckets inside. The Golden Bears are 73rd in points per possession per ShotQuality in ball screen action and 16th in points off of screens. Further, the team is due a five percent jump in field goal percentage at the rim.
When looking at USC's defense that has spiraled in PAC-12 play, the team has done a good job at the rim, holding teams to 52% shooting with its size inside. However, SQ believes the team is due north of a four percent rise in field goal percentage at the cup, and the team is outside the top half of the country in points allowed per possession, per SQ.
USC got its bounce back win against Oregon State at home, but its road woes are set to continue at Cal.
PICK: Cal -2.5
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
Track Reed's bets here!