Go With Home Chalk: Alabama vs. Arkansas NCAA Basketball Pick

Darin Zank

Thursday, January 22, 2015 2:09 PM GMT

Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015 2:09 PM GMT

Alabama owns the upper hand in the recent basketball rivalry with Arkansas, winning five of the last six meetings, covering the spread four of the last six. But the Hogs are favored by a touchdown for Thursday night's meeting in Fayetteville.

Tide-Hogs Betting Odds
Most of the NCAA basketball odds opened this game with Arkansas favored by right around seven points, and that number was holding steady in the early betting.

Those who believe Alabama might win this game outright could get +255 on the moneyline at 5Dimes.

 

Tide-Hogs: Background
Arkansas hasn't made the NCAA tournament since 2008, but coming into this season, with three starters back from a team that just missed last season, we thought the Hogs had a good chance to end that drought.

Arkansas opened this season by going 11-2 through its non-conference schedule, the best wins probably coming against SMU and Dayton, the losses coming against Iowa State and Clemson. The Razorbacks then won their first two SEC games, winning at Georgia 79-75 as three-point road dogs, and beating Vandy 82-70, covering as 10-point home favorites. But the Hogs have lost their last two games, falling at Tennessee 74-69, losing ATS as four-point underdogs, and last time out getting upset at home by Ole Miss 96-82, losing outright as nine-point favorites.

Arkansas ran into a buzzsaw against the Rebels, giving up 52 points in the first half, allowing the Rebs to shoot 56 percent from the field for the game. The Hogs trailed by 14 right out of the gate Saturday, and never got closer than nine points after that.

Alabama, meanwhile, has missed the Big Dance the last two seasons, and last year dropped to just 13-19. But with four starters back the Tide have hopes of returning to the NCAA tournament this season.

Alabama went 10-3 through its non-con slate, the best wins coming against UCLA and Arizona State, the losses coming against Iowa State, Xavier and Wichita State. The Tide then won their first two SEC games, topping Texas A&M 65-44, covering as five-point favorites, then stuffing Tennessee 56-38, winning straight-up as three-point road dogs, snapping a 16-game road losing streak.

However, Alabama has also dropped its last two games, losing at South Carolina 68-66, although covering as a four-point dog, then getting kicked by Kentucky 70-48, missing on the spread as a 10-point home dog.

The Tide shot 49 percent from the floor against the Gamecocks, but got outrebounded 34-23. They then shot only 44 percent against the Wildcats, and got outrebounded 30-21.

Alabama trailed Kentucky by 18 at the half last Saturday, got within nine points with about 13 minutes to go, but faded from there.

Last season these teams split two games, each winning on their home court. Arkansas took the fifrst game 65-58, but Alabama covered as an eight-point dog. The Tide then clobbered the Hogs 83-58 in Tuscaloosa in a game that went off as a “pick 'em.”

 

Tide-Hogs Key Stats
Alabama is shooting 45 percent from the field this season, just 30 percent from 3-point range but 73 percent from the FT line, which is pretty good for a college team. At the other end of the court the Tide are holding opponents to 41 percent FG shooting.

Arkansas is shooting almost 47 percent from the floor, 39 percent from long range and 73 percent from the line. But the Hogs are also allowing opponents to shoot 44.5 percent, which ranks in the bottom third in the country.

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Tide-Hogs Betting Trends
Alabama is 7-6 on the OVER/UNDERS this season, as Tide games have averaged 132 points.

Arkansas has played four OVERS in a row, and is now 10-5 on the totals, as Hogs games have averaged 155 points.

Alabama is 3-1 ATS this season as a road dog.

Arkansas is 7-4 ATS as a home favorite.

 

Tide-Hogs Free Pick
There's a chance this line is slightly inflated toward the home team, as if often the case, but we give Arkansas the edge in this match-up. The Razorbacks shoot the ball a little better than Alabama, do a little better job on the boards, and they're ripe for a bounce-back effort, after losing as a betting favorite last time out. And if the Hogs win this game, we give them about a 75 percent chance of covering this spread. So we'll go with the home chalk as our NCAA basketball pick, and give the points.

Free College Basketball Pick: Arkansas -7 at Pinnacle

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