While most of the attention has been focused on Auburn’s rise to the top of the national polls for the first time in program history as well as fellow ranked teams Kentucky, Tennessee and LSU, the showdown between third-place Arkansas and fifth-place Mississippi State should not be overlooked.
Auburn (-1600) is pulling away from the field in the odds to win the SEC title. Preseason favorite Kentucky (+1500), LSU (+2500), and Tennessee (+3500) are the closest competitors.
Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe (+400) has moved atop the odds to win the National Player of the Year award. Jabari Smith of Auburn, one of the rising NBA draft prospects, comes in at +2400.
Here’s a look at this weekend’s games in the Big East with some information for those who bet online.
Auburn Tigers at Georgia Bulldogs
- Date, time, TV: Saturday, February 5, 1 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Auburn (21-1, 9-0 in the SEC) and Georgia (6-16, 1-8) have split the last four meetings after the Tigers won the previous five meetings. Just two of the last nine games in the series have been decided by less than 10 points.
Auburn’s first game in program history as the No. 1 ranked team in The Associated Press Top 25 poll was a bit dicey before the Tigers held on for a one-point win against Missouri while listed by the college basketball odds as a 12½-point favorite. That ended a run of eight games in a row covering against the spread. Auburn rolled past Oklahoma and Alabama by an average of 18.5 points. Seven of Auburn’s last nine games went over the total.
Georgia has lost 10 of its last 11 games although it has covered in two of the last three.
Auburn (6-0) is the only SEC team yet to lose a true road game while Georgia is the only team in the conference with a losing record at home.
Auburn freshman Jabari Smith has 40 points and 17 rebounds in his last two games. Georgia’s Braelen Bridges is shooting 63% in home games.
Tennessee Volunteers at South Carolina Gamecocks
- Date, time, TV: Saturday, February 5, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
Tennessee has won seven of the last eight matchups with South Carolina and has covered in each of the last three. The lone win during that stretch came in the most recent game hosted by the Gamecocks.
No. 22 Tennessee (15-6, 6-3) has won four of its last five games although the Volunteers have failed to cover in two of the last three.
South Carolina (13-8, 4-5) had won three games in a row and covered against the Las Vegas odds in all three of them before a 14-point loss at Mississippi State the last time out.
Three of the last four games for the Gamecocks have gone over the total while the Gamecocks are 9-2 at home.
Tennessee’s Kennedy Chandler is averaging 16 points (on 52.5% shooting), 3.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists on the road. South Carolina’s Erik Stevenson is 37 of 38 from the foul line this season.
Ole Miss Rebels at Florida Gators
- Date, time, TV: Saturday, February 5, 3:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network
The last four games between Ole Miss and Florida have gone under the total set by the Las Vegas odds with the home team winning each time
Ole Miss (12-10, 3-6) has won three of its last four games and covered in each of the victories while three of the Rebels’ last four games have finished under the total.
An up and down season for Florida (13-8, 4-5) is back trending in the positive direction with victories in the last two games. The Gators have covered in five of their last seven contests.
Florida’s Tyler Appleby has tried to fill the void left by the absence of Colin Castleton as he is averaging 15.5 points over the last six games. Daeshun Ruffin is averaging 16.8 points over his last four games for Ole Miss.
Tyree Appleby playing his best ball when #Gators need him most.
He’s taken his game to another level since Colin Castleton’s injury, scoring in double figures for 6 straight games.
“He just brings it. When he’s playing well, it means something.”
STORY: https://t.co/qWwcVtHquZ pic.twitter.com/2n2i8hysSf
— Zach Abolverdi (@ZachAbolverdi) February 3, 2022
Missouri Tigers at Texas A&M Aggies
- Date, time, TV: Saturday, February 5, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Texas A&M has won four of its last five matchups with Missouri including a three-point win on January 15 as a five-point road favorite. Missouri won the last time the teams met in College Station.
Eight of the last nine games between the teams went under the total.
Missouri (8-13, 2-6) has dropped six of its last seven games but managed to cover in five of the last six. The Tigers have been listed as underdogs in 11 of their last 12 games. The Tigers are just 1-6 on the road.
Texas A&M (15-7, 4-5) has lost five in a row but covered in four of those. Each of the Aggies’ last four contests has gone over the total.
Missouri’s leading scorer Kobe Brown is connecting on just 35% of his shots in road games including 17% from 3-point range. Quenton Jackson is averaging 14.8 points in the Aggies’ last four games.
Louisiana State Tigers at Vanderbilt Commodores
- Date, time, TV: Saturday, February 5, 6 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Louisiana State has topped Vanderbilt in three of its last four meetings. The winning team has covered in each of the last 10 games in the series with LSU coming out on top seven times during that stretch. Six of the last eight contests in the series have gone over the total.
No. 25 LSU (16-6, 4-5) has failed to cover in each of its last four games and is 1-5 against the spread in the last six. The Tigers’ last three games have finished over the total.
Vanderbilt (11-10, 3-6) has lost four of its last five games and failed to cover in four of those contests. Five of the Commodores’ last seven games went under the total.
Vanderbilt’s Scotty Pippen Jr. is averaging 26.7 points over his last three games including a 33-point effort against Kentucky.
Xavier Pinson has missed all four of his field-goal attempts in the two games since returning to the court for LSU.
Kentucky Wildcats at Alabama Crimson Tide
- Date, time, TV: Saturday, February 5, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Alabama has covered in the last three games against Kentucky and swept both games in 2021. Kentucky had won 12 of the previous 13 games in the series.
Three of Kentucky’s last four contests have finished over the total. The fifth-ranked Wildcats (18-4, 7-2) have won six of their last seven games but have covered in just one of the last five.
Alabama (14-8, 4-5) has failed to cover in 12 of its last 14 games including a loss to No. 1 Auburn the last time out.
Kellan Grady has scored in double figures in four straight games for Kentucky while Alabama’s Jaden Shackelford has five 20-point efforts in his last 11 outings.
Mississippi State Bulldogs at Arkansas Razorbacks
- Date, time, TV: Saturday, February 5, 8:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Mississippi State (14-7, 5-3) is 7-1 in its last eight meetings with Arkansas (17-5, 6-3) and covered in each of those seven victories although Arkansas won the last time the teams played in Fayetteville. Three of the last four games in the series went over the total.
Mississippi State is 7-3 against the spread in its last 10 games and is 6-4 straight up in those contests. Nine of the Bulldogs’ last 10 games have gone over the total.
Arkansas takes a seven-game winning streak into the game and is 6-1 against the spread in those games. Three of the Razorbacks’ last four games have gone over the total.
The Razorbacks are 12-1 at home while the Bulldogs have lost all four of its true road games.
Tolu Smith has missed the last three games for Mississippi State and is considered questionable for this game.
Tolu Smith practiced in the halfcourt yesterday. Ben Howland labels him as “questionable” for Saturday against Arkansas.
— Stefan Krajisnik (@skrajisnik3) February 4, 2022
Arkansas has no such issues with the top six scorers combining to miss just one game this season.