Close Clashes Expected For FSU and Auburn Saturday

Jay Pryce

Saturday, January 27, 2018 4:24 PM UTC

Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018 4:24 PM UTC

Since starting conference play, Florida State is speeding up, while Auburn is slowing down. Check out how this is affecting the betting market, and get picks for their respective matchups Saturday against rivals Miami and Auburn here. 

Miami (FL) vs Florida State (-4.5)

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Free NCAAB Pick: Over 148.5Best Line Offered: at Heritage

Miami (15-4 SU, 8-6 ATS) travels well. It’s 28-29 SU (30-24-3 ATS in true road ACC games since head coach Jim Larranaga assumed control in 2011, ranking fourth in wins behind Duke (35), North Carolina (35), and Virginia (32). The Hurricanes are 5-2 SU in road contests in 2017, the most victories among all Power 5 programs.

At Donald L. Tucker Center, the Canes are 3-3 SU and 3-2-1 ATS under Larranaga, tipping off 2.1-point underdogs overall. Catching points, they have covered three of four, but come up a bit short offensively, shooting 41.6 percent from the field. The matchups are always competitive. All have finished within single digits; a 0.5 median margin of victory separating the rivals.

At least one team has put up 80 points or more in eight of Florida State’s (15-5 SU, 12-5 ATS) last nine contests. This includes an 80-74 defeat at Miami on January 7. The ‘over’ is 7-2 in this span, a 164.3 average finish besting a 151.2 total by 13.0 points per game. Just one (Syracuse) went into overtime. Combined, the Seminoles and their opponents are shooting just 88.2 percent from the field. The market is missing due to FSU picking up the pace. They rank 26th in KenPom’s tempo rating, up significantly from earlier in the year.

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Stage is Set
Sold Out Building
Get Loud#BeatMiami

— FSU Men's Hoops (@FSUHoops) January 26, 2018

Miami enters ranked No. 9 in adjusted defensive efficiency. Historically, the ‘under’ is the play at FSU, going 2-4 all-time with Larranaga in control. But the Hurricanes are finding it difficult to control games this season, swept up in end-to-end action against quicker teams. They have squared off against five opponents listed on the NCAA odds board averaging more than 60.0 field goal attempts on the season. The ‘over’ hit in each; a final score tallying no less than 153 points in any. The Seminoles average 64.4 attempts per game, ninth most in the country. With a close matchup expected, ‘over’ 148.5 is the play.

LSU vs No. 19 Auburn (-10.5)

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Free NCAAB Pick: ‘Under’ 158.5Best Line Offered: at Heritage

Two patterns are developing for LSU (12-7 SU, 9-7 ATS) since starting SEC play: the offense is cooling, while the defense is growing stronger. The Bengal Tigers enter ranked 35th in offensive adjusted efficiency, but averaging just 69.9 points per game against conference foes. They have surpassed their team total once in seven matchups. Against non-SEC opponents, LSU posts 84.7 points.

Coach Will Wade’s defense is starting to gel. It’s defending the arc better and forcing more turnovers. In the last 10 games, the team averages 14.3 takeaways, while yielding a 25.3 percent opponent 3-point rate. Prior, the figures came out to 13.0 and 38.7 percent respectively.

No. 19 Auburn (18-2 SU, 13-5 ATS) is an offensive juggernaut. Its 85.6 points per game leads the SEC, the most since Kentucky in 1996. Their offensive rebounding is class, and all five starters can take it to the hoop. They can also take advantage if fouled, each first-teamer draining 77 percent or better from the charity stripe.

It’s the defense dictating the betting market of late, though. The under’ is a perfect 5-0 when the Tigers tip off chalk against conference opponents, despite ranking as the 19th fastest team in tempo nationally. They are yielding 71.2 points per game on 42.3 percent shooting. Four of five opponents have failed to reach their projected team total.

LSU will stay closer than advertised in this one. They are bigger with an improving perimeter defense. This will hinder Auburn’s gaudy efficiency numbers (118.0 points per 100 possessions). ‘Under’ 158.5 and LSU plus the 10.5 points are your bets bets.

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