NCAA Basketball Picks: Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Missouri Tigers

Alabama Crimson Tide at No. 10 Missouri Tigers
Tuesday, 1/8/12, 7:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPN
Opening Point Spread:  Missouri -10
Current Betting Line:  Missouri -8.5
Opening Total:  133
Current Total:  132.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

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The Alabama Crimson Tide have used seven different starting lineups in their last 10 games

Alabama will square off against Missouri in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams, as it looks to win consecutive games for the first time since November.  The Crimson Tide will need to get after it on the boards, as they’ve been out-rebounded by a small margin this season, but the Tigers have posted an average margin of 13.0 in that category.  “It’s a huge concern,” stated Crimson Tide head coach Anthony Grant.  Alabama is 8-12 ATS as an underdog the last two-plus seasons, which is important to consider when looking over the college basketball odds page.

The Crimson Tide have lost 12 consecutive road games against ranked opponents, but they’ve won their last three SEC openers away from home.  Anthony Grant has also never lost a league opener in his previous six seasons as a head coach, which includes a 3-0 mark during his time at VCU.  Sophomore guard Trevor Lacey is the player to watch offensively, averaging a team-leading 15.0 points on the road this season.  Grant has been forced to use seven different lineups in the last 10 games, with Lackey and Levi Randolph being the only two players to start every game.

Missouri bounced back from its loss to UCLA to earn a 66-64 win over Bucknell Saturday, with Phil Pressey leading the way, scoring a career-high 26 points after setting a school record with 19 assists in Westwood.  “I love where we are at,” commented Tigers coach Frank Haith.  “I love our attitude and toughness.”  The Tigers have won five consecutive conference openers dating back to the 2006-07 campaign, which can’t be ignored when making your NCAA basketball picks, considering they’ve gone 16-13 ATS at home since 2010.

The Tigers have compiled a solid 25-9 mark in January since the 2008-09 season, as they’ll look to continue dominating the boards.  Missouri is first nationally in grabbing 46.7 rebounds per game, while ranking second in rebounding margin.  Pressey is one of four players that average double figures offensively, but he’s the focal point of the group—being named SEC Preseason Player of the Year before the start of the season.

Sports bettors will likely back the Crimson Tide due to their 5-1 ATS mark on the road when the total is between 130 to 134.5, while the Tigers are 1-4 ATS in their last five games versus SEC opponents.

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