Free NCAA Basketball Picks: Take Auburn Getting Double-Digits At Tennessee

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, February 9, 2016 4:22 PM GMT

The Auburn Tigers have lost five straight games and are without their suspended leading scorer, and yet they still seem to offer value catching double-digits at mediocre Tennessee.

 

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Auburn +11 (-105)
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

The slumping road team without its suspended leading scorer still seems to offer good value as a double-digit underdog vs. a mediocre opponent Tuesday night when those Auburn Tigers (9-13, 9-12 ATS), again without Kareem Canty and his 18.3 points per game, pay a visit to the Tennessee Volunteers (11-12, 11-10 ATS) at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, TN at 7:00 ET in a game televised nationally on the SEC Network.

The point spread at 5 Dimes has Auburn as a big road underdog for this contest with the current line at +11 on the NCAA Basketball odds board at odds of -105.

 

Five Straight Losses for Auburn
Auburn was off to a 3-3 start inside the SEC including a win over this Tennessee team at home to open up conference play and also an upset win over Kentucky. However, the Tigers have now been the losing NCAA Basketball picks in five straight games including a non-conference loss to Oklahoma State to fall to 3-7 in the SEC, and they lost their first game without the suspended Canty 65-55 at Georgia on Saturday.

Canty will miss his second game tonight after being suspended for an indefinite period for “behavior that was detrimental to the team."

Tennessee meanwhile has been rather erratic while going only 11-12 overall and 4-6 inside the conference, and the last two games for the Volunteers have been a microcosm of their inconsistency. First, the Vols rallied from an early 17-point deficit to upset Kentucky 84-77 last week, bur they could not build on that momentum as they followed up be getting destroyed by 18 points 85-67 at Arkansas on Saturday.

 

Tigers Not a One-Man Team
Auburn very nearly stole an NCAA Tournament bid last season despite ending the year just 15-20, as the Tigers won three games in the SEC Tournament before finally losing to then top ranked and undefeated Kentucky in the conference semifinals. Well, it now looks like it will take another Cinderella runs in the SEC Tournament this year for the Tigers to be playing in the post-season as their current five-game skid leaves them at just 9-13 overall.

Still, Auburn is not a team devoid of talent, and while its leading scorer Canty will obviously be misses, this is not simply a one-man team. The Tigers also have a pair of versatile players in the frontcourt in Tyler Harris and Cinmeon Bowers, with Harris actually being the team’s most used “go-to” guy this season according to the Pomeroy Ratings at 28.3 percent of the offensive possessions.

Harris has also recorded eight double-doubles this year while Bowers has done him one better with nine of them, making Auburn one of only four teams in the entire country with two players that have recorded at least eight double-doubles! Bowers did his best to keep the Tigers in the game at Arkansas Saturday with 12 points and 13 rebounds, and both he and Harris could have easier assignments tonight vs. a Tennessee team ranked just 167th in defensive efficiency.

 

Is Tennessee Worthy of Double-Digit Favoritism?
Now, the Volunteers are not a bad basketball team in their first season under former Texas Longhorns Coach Rick Barnes, and we would even go so far as to say they are probably a better team than the 11-12 record. However, that does not change the fact that they have been maddeningly inconsistent, and looking at the 4-6 SEC mark, only one of those four wins was by double-digits.

So while the potential for improvement is there, has this team really done enough to merit being favored by double-digits over a conference rival? We certainly do not think so as Tennessee still figures to have its hands full with Harris and Bowers near the basket even in Canty’s absence.

Moreover, the Volunteers are not reliable enough offensively either to be counted on to cover such a big number, ranking only 251st in the country in effective field goal percentage at 48.0 percent.

 

Playing Down to Opponents’ Level
Finally, Tennessee has become notorious to playing down to the level of its opponent, especially when playing here at home. To wit, the Volunteers are 4-14-1 ATS in their last 19 home games vs. teams with losing road records overall as well as 2-13-1 ATS in their last 16 home games vs. teams with a road winning percentage of less than .400!

With Tennessee probably not worthy of being a double-digit favorite over anyone in the SEC and with Auburn having other viable options besides the suspended Canty, take the big points with the Tigers when they visit Knoxville on Tuesday.