Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:54 AM
Tuesday's Best Bet
Ever since conference play started, Tuesday boards in college basketball have been consistently loaded with quality games and tonight's card is no different. We've got six teams ranked in the Top 25 hitting the floor this evening, highlighted by the Penn State/Michigan State matchup in the Big 10. In fact, the Big 10 schedule is a great one on Tuesday in general, but it's not where I'm going with tonight's preview.
Instead, it's off to the SEC where there is one game that's such a bad situational spot for one team that it's got to be pointed out. So let's get right to the breakdowns.
Auburn at Arkansas (SEC, 7:00 p.m. ET)
Best Bet: Arkansas -1.5
There is no question that Auburn is a great team again this year that looks poised for another deep run in March, but they've started to play with a little too much fire in my view. Yes, they've won four in a row after two ugly games at Alabama and at Florida for their only two defeats of the year, but their last three wins have all been a struggle.
First their was the 80-76 win against Iowa State where Auburn nearly blew a 11-point halftime lead as they stumbled down the stretch and held on for dear life. That game was followed by a nail-biting 83-82 win at Mississippi, where the Tigers needed to outscore the Rebels 46-29 in the final 20 minutes just to force extra time and then hung on from there.
Finally, there was the win over Kentucky on the weekend, which the final box score will tell you was rather comfortable (75-66), but Auburn against needed a 2nd half comeback and really just made the margin of victory much bigger then it really should have been with free throws late to ice things. That's three straight games where the Tigers have basically scraped by their opponents and eventually games like that catch up to a team with a dud-like performance in the near future.
Whether it's simply not having their best stuff, or running out of gas after those emotional outings, Auburn's got a dud in them soon in my view, and this game on the road in Arkansas appears to be a great situation to bet on that happening. Remember, Auburn's got a huge home game on deck with SEC-leading LSU on deck as well.
Not only is this a potential lookahead spot for the Tigers, but in terms of positives for Arkansas there are at least a few.
At 16-5 SU (11-2 SU at home), Arkansas is a quality team themselves, and having lost two of their last three at home (both as favorites), they are looking for a measure of redemption themselves. The Razorbacks were able to right the ship somewhat with a road win in Alabama over the weekend, but knocking off a ranked rival like Auburn is the type of game that can propel Arkansas through the rest of the regular season. They would love to grab one of those top 4 spots in the conference to earn the double-bye in the SEC tournament, and they've got a very doable schedule the rest of the way to accomplish that type of goal.
Furthermore, the home side has won and covered three straight in this rivalry, and after their only meeting a year ago ended in a 23-point Auburn win down at Auburn, you know the Razorbacks have a bit of payback on their minds from that defeat as well. Arkansas catches this Auburn team at a great time in my opinion, and with Auburn being the ranked squad here and catching a point or two, them falling into that dreaded 'public underdog' role is another thing to consider as well.
Arkansas has been a pleasant surprise in the SEC play this year, and with this road game sandwiched between games against Kentucky and LSU, this is just such a horrible spot for Auburn that they've got to be faded here. Arkansas wins this game by multiple possessions, as all that playing with fire Auburn has done recently finally burns them.