LSU vs. Alabama prediction: College basketball odds, picks, best bets for Saturday
Alabama just took down dominant No. 8 ranked Auburn in a must-win spot.
The Tide are playing better and still a threat in the SEC.
But you cant draw up a better letdown spot than this one, with the Tide off a physical, close game against an SEC powerhouse and now playing lowly LSU at home.
So, Im betting on LSU keeping it close with Bama on Saturday.
LSU vs Alabama prediction
p>(8 p.m. ET, ESPN)There are four main components to the Alabama offense.
First, the Tide shoot exclusively at the rim or from 3. Second, the Tide leverages the roll-man in ball screens, specifically Grant Nelson. Third, the Tide leverage handoffs to pop open Mark Sears and Aaron Estrada. Fourth, the Tide push the floor in transition.
But I think the Tigers can defend all four components.
LSU is an astounding interior defense, ranking in the top 30 nationally in 2-point defense while viciously denying paint buckets (25 paint points per game allowed, 96th percentile).
As such, 7-foot Will Baker and 6-foot-10 Jalen Reed are dominant roll-men defenders, and 6-foot-6 swingman Jordan Wright is excellent against handoff sets.
I admit that LSU is a compact defense that allows too many high-quality 3s, so if the Tide shoot the lights out Ill have to tip my cap and move on.
But if their shots dont fall in a sleepy spot, the Tide wont have many other avenues to offense. They wont be able to generate easy short-roll buckets, won’t get to the rim and wont score on middle-of-the-floor handoff sets.
And Alabama shouldn’t overwhelm in transition, as the Tigers rank well above average in transition PPP allowed.
Alabama took down No. 8 Auburn earlier this week. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters ConConversely, Alabamas defense is still dreadful.
The Tides defensive metrics have improved in conference play, but much of that is due to luck, as opponents are shooting less than 30% against them in SEC play, an unsustainably low mark.
Once those 3s start falling, Alabamas defensive metrics should nosedive. The Tide cant stop ball screens, secondary actions, or defend in isolation.
LSUs offense is at a crossroads, mostly because newly eligible point guard Jalen Cook likes to score in pick-and-roll sets while head coach Matt McMahon runs a motion offense.
That said, its easy to score on Bama, and LSU should find enough offense here to keep the game from getting out of hand.
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At the minimum, Cook is an elite isolation creator, and no Tide guard can stay in front.
While Alabamas in a sleepy spot, LSU should be fired up after consecutive losses by six combined points. Its a good letdown spot for the Tide and an even better buy-low, bounce-back spot for the Tigers.
The situational spot is excellent, and the schematic matchup is good enough that Im willing to throw some cash behind LSU on the road catching a ton of points.
The ShotQualityBets model projects LSU as only a seven-point road dog here, so were getting good value on anything north of +10.
LSU vs Alabama pick
LSU +13.5 (-110, FanDuel) | Play to +10
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