Auburn vs Notre Dame Odds, Picks and Predictions: Irish Slow Things to a Halt

Notre Dame and Auburn's coaches are both preaching effort heading into this matchup, and our college basketball picks think that will manifest itself on defense, with one side especially apt to control tempo.

Last Updated: Nov 16, 2023 3:56 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
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The Legends Classic begins this evening when the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Auburn Tigers meet in the Big Apple.

It's a transition year for Notre Dame as the Irish adjust to life without longtime head-man Mike Brey leading the way. They have a good coach in Micah Shrewsbury to guide them through that transition, though. 

The Tigers — heavy college basketball odds favorites here — looked impressive in their opener against Baylor but allowed a late comeback. After that, they quickly dispatched Southeastern Louisiana with a double-digit win before heading here.  

Who will get the win in this one? What's the best bet in this matchup? Find out in our college basketball picks and predictions for Thursday, November 16.

Auburn vs Notre Dame best odds

Auburn vs Notre Dame picks and predictions

Heading into this game, both coaches had a common theme that they wanted to get across:

"I'm still not happy," Auburn Head Coach Bruce Pearl said. "I'm still having to coach effort and energy. That's a problem."

Shrewsbury agreed with that assessment regarding his team as well, simply stating that it was on the coaches to give the team more of an energy boost. You'll see an increase in that department tonight, and I'm grabbing the Under as my best bet. We'll discuss why as we continue, but where does energy appear? Usually on the defensive end. It leads to the reasons why we like this side tonight.

The days of run-and-gun Notre Dame are over or on pause, with Shrewsbury leading the way. The Irish enter this game with one of the slowest tempo ratings in basketball (per ShotQuality) at 323. Auburn has been a much faster team this season but has yet to face a team with the ability or the will to slow down a game like Notre Dame. Both of its games have gone over 70 possessions, and if you look back at Shrewsbury's time at Penn State, then you'd see this as par for the course. Asking where this total will finish is asking which team can dictate the game. I'm backing Notre Dame to do that because its coach has done an excellent job of doing it so often. 

The defensive matchups for both of these teams are reasonably favorable, too. Notre Dame is trying to move somewhat away from the chaotic musical chairs of backdoor cutting for 3-point shooters to more of a spread-out, dribble-drive system. Shrewsbury's primary offense mode at Penn State was a simple high-ball screen, and his working to instill it here. Auburn has been good defensively against this. Denver Jones, so far, has proven himself to be a terrific on-ball defender, and Auburn ranks in the Top 3 percentile against the pick-and-roll, holding opponents to .60 points per possession.

On the other hand, Auburn's transition issues cause concern. Although Notre Dame wants to slow this down, Auburn's athleticism will inevitably lend itself to some transition chances. The problem? The Tigers have just been a good team in transition. KD Johnson, the main experienced engine of the offense, has struggled individually, and Auburn has started this season as a team in the Bottom 20% of the country scoring here. By simply struggling to convert on these chances, Auburn will be forced to work in the halfcourt more. Whether the Tigers score at the end of these possessions is inconsequential because they burn the clock when they have them.

Take the Under this evening. Each of these teams will be forced to score in the halfcourt, and at least one of them will want to go deep into the shot clock on most of those possessions.

My best bet: Under 143.5 (-110 at bet365)

Auburn vs Notre Dame same-game parlay

Under 143.5 

First half Under 67.5

We have next to no options in the same-game parlay market for this one, so we're placing this: One highly correlated play that continues our thought process. Auburn will be forced to grind this one out from time to time. That starts early, and projects the first half Under closer to 65.

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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Auburn vs Notre Dame spread and Over/Under analysis

Auburn should win this game. It has more talent and more cohesiveness within the system that it's playing in. 

Pearl is trying to build a team that advances deep into the NCAA Tournament, while Shrewsbury is trying to lay a foundation and culture for years to go. That doesn't mean this won't be competitive at times, though, and a good reason for that is Shrewsbury's ability to do more with less. He's done it throughout his career at Penn State, and I'd expect nothing different with the Irish. 

My projections made Notre Dame a 13.5-point underdog, so there is a slight differential. With that in mind, I'm leaning towards the Irish at +14.5, which is widely available, but you'll get a better number in-game. 

Auburn has seen its first two games go Over by a comfortable margin, but it has yet to face a team that wants to slow down the tempo like the Irish. It’s advantageous for Notre Dame to shorten this game because it lacks in the athleticism department. I'm expecting it to do enough tonight to keep this one Under. 

Auburn vs Notre Dame betting trend to know

Notre Dame has hit the team total Under in 20 of its last 30 games (+8.65 Units / 25% ROI). Find more college basketball betting trends for Auburn vs. Notre Dame.

Auburn vs Notre Dame game info

Location: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
Date: Thursday, November 16, 2023
Tip-off: 9:00 p.m. ET

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