College Basketball Picks: Vanderbilt Commodores vs. Alabama Crimson Tide

Vanderbilt Commodores at Alabama Crimson Tide
Thursday, 1/19/12, 7:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPN2
Opening Point Spread:  Alabama -6.5
Current Betting Line:  Alabama -5
Opening Total:  123
Current Total:  127.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Vanderbilt Commodores have started conference play with three wins

Vanderbilt has won seven consecutive games that includes a 77-66 win over the Georgia Bulldogs as 13-point home favorites.  The Commodores have covered three of their past five games, while the ‘under’ is on a 5-1 run.  “I think if you want to be a championship team, like we want to be this season, you have to start off well,” commented Commodores junior guard John Jenkins.  The program is 3-0 in Southeastern Conference play for the second time in the Kevin Stallings’ era.  Vanderbilt is 15-5 ATS as an underdog the last two-plus seasons.

The Commodores have limited opponents to just 58.0 points per game on 39.1 percent shooting during their seven-game win streak.  Vanderbilt has outscored its last five opponents by 15.0 points per game.  Jenkins leads the SEC in averaging 19.8 points per game, while Jeffery Taylor sits third in scoring 16.9 points a contest.  Stallings is 9-6 all-time in this series, posting a 2-4 mark when playing inside Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa.

Alabama returns home to face Vanderbilt and will look to push its record to 27-1 in its last 28 home games, while winning its 11th-straight SEC game inside Coleman Coliseum.  The Crimson Tide have covered three of their last four games, as they look to bounce back from a 56-52 win over the Mississippi State Bulldogs as 1.5-point road favorites.  “They made the plays they needed, and I think we played hard,” commented Crimson Tide guard Andrew Steele.  Senior JaMychal Green is the only player on the roster averaging in double figures, coming off a 14-point performance last time out.  Alabama is 4-1 ATS as a home favorite of 3.5 to 6 points the last two-plus campaigns.

The Crimson Tide continue to have one of the best defenses in college basketball, ranking eighth nationally in allowing just 55.7 points per game.  Alabama has allowed just four teams to reach the 60-point mark this season.  Of the team’s 17 opponents, 10 have managed to score their season low to date against this squad.  Trevor Releford will look to give Green help in the scoring column, leading the team in points in four of the last six contests.

Bettors will likely back the Commodores due to their 9-2 ATS mark as a road underdog of 6.5 points or less, while the favorite is 0-4 ATS in the last four meetings.

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