Since having the dubious distinction of being the final team left out of the NCAA Tournament, the Texas A&M Aggies have been on a mission to get back there. They'll have a massive opportunity at a statement win when they travel to Alabama tonight.
The Auburn Tigers' success have felt quiet this season. But, since an opening-month loss to Georgia, they've rattled off five straight wins and rank in the Top 15 nationally. One of those wins included an impressive routing of a then-hot LSU team.
As mentioned, A&M is looking to return to the NCAA Tournament and, after this start, has to feel well-poised to do just that. Before a loss at Kentucky, the Aggies had been on a run with wins in seven straight games, including five in SEC play. Now they've had four days off heading into this matchup.
What's the best bet for this one? Find out in our college basketball picks and predictions for Texas A&M vs. Auburn.
Texas A&M vs Auburn best odds
Texas A&M vs Auburn picks and predictions
This is an excellent spot for Texas A&M, and I'm backing it to pull off the outright upset as my best bet.
Making a habit of betting against a home favorite in a conference game is never a fun way to live in college basketball. However, this is an Aggies side that has faced tougher competition over the last month, is more prepared for the physicality of this game, and has a great matchup.
Head Coach Buzz Williams established a strong identity during his time in Texas. His teams want to expose their physicality to you in different aspects of the game. One of those places is on the offensive backboard.
They create a litany of second-chance points, with Henry Coleman, Tyrece Radford, and Julius Marble all ranking in the upper half percentile in offensive rebounding scoring. As a team, the Aggies have the 10th-best offensive rebounding percentage in the country.
That's problematic for Auburn. It's been an Achilles heel for it all season, as evidenced by a defensive rebounding percentage that sits near the bottom of basketball.
What else has been part of the identity of Texas A&M basketball? Forcing turnovers. That may be even worse news for Auburn than the rebounding issues. Turnovers have been a problem for Auburn all season: it's why it has a turnover rate that sits in the 250s in basketball.
In their December loss against USC, the Tigers posted a turnover rate of 32%. That's a staggering amount, but what's even more impressive is that A&M has forced a turnover rate higher than that on three of its opponents this season. I expect it to have an excellent opportunity to do something similar tonight.
I don't see a significant difference in talent between these two teams. What we have on paper is a strategic nightmare for Auburn to navigate. I believe this line is an overreaction to the Tigers' home-court advantage. I don't think it's enough to overcome the issues that the Aggies will present. Back them to pull off the upset tonight.
My best bet: Texas A&M moneyline (+170 at bet365)
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Texas A&M vs Auburn spread analysis
If you're not sold on the above, there's even more that points the way of the Aggies.
If this game gets tight late (and it likely will), there is one team that is significantly better at getting to the free throw line, and that's Texas A&M. It has the sixth-highest free throw rate in the country.
To make matters worse, Auburn is fouling a lot, with a foul rate of nearly 37%. That's a double whammy for the Tigers. It makes points easier to come by when the game gets tight, but it also can force Auburn into foul trouble. That may be more significant for the Tigers than some other teams, given that four players have played almost 70% of the available minutes.
Texas A&M vs Auburn Over/Under analysis
Lots of forced turnovers, second-chance points, and free points at the free-throw line have me looking at the A&M team total. As of publication, the best price and total I could find in this market was 66.5, with the Over price at -118 at FanDuel.
Over its last three games, Texas A&M is averaging 71.7 points per game, and in road games, it's averaging 76.5 per game. With that in mind, in the context of the handicap, it should be well-poised to eclipse this number, and I'll be putting a unit on it to do so.
Texas A&M vs Auburn betting trend to know
The road team is 12-4 ATS in the last 16 meetings between these two teams. Find more College basketball betting trends for Texas A&M vs. Auburn.
Texas A&M vs Auburn game info
|Location:||Neville Arena, Auburn, AL|
|Date:||Wednesday, January 25, 2023|
|Tip-off:||9:00 p.m. ET|