SEC Basketball Picks: Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Alabama Crimson Tide

Arkansas Razorbacks at Alabama Crimson Tide
Saturday, 1/28/12, 1:30 PM EST, TV:  ESPN3
Opening Point Spread:  Alabama -11
Current Betting Line:  Alabama -12
Opening Total:  130.5
Current Total:  131.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Alabama Crimson Tide are poised to snap a four-game losing streak Saturday

Arkansas is still looking for its first road win of the year and will travel to Tuscaloosa to play inside Coleman Coliseum.  The Razorbacks have won each of their last two games, including a 56-53 win over the Auburn Tigers as 9.5-point home favorites last time out, while posting a 4-0-1 “under” mark over the past five contests.  “That game was a grinder,” commented Razorbacks head coach Mike Anderson.  “I’m happy with the win.”  His defense is all about creating turnovers, leading teams to commit more than 17 miscues per game, including a pair of 20-plus turnover games against SEC foes.  Arkansas is 6-16 ATS on the road the past two-plus seasons.

The Razorbacks haven’t won inside Saturday’s venue since the 2006-07 season, as home court has ruled each of the last four years, as the two teams have won at their arena.  Arkansas is led offensively by sophomore guard Mardracus Wade, who is averaging 11.1 points per game, leading the SEC in three-point percentage.  Offensively, the team is averaging 74.6 points per game, outscoring opponents by an 8.8-point margin per contest.

Alabama hopes to end its current four-game losing streak and returns home for just the third time in the month of January.  The Crimson Tide’s current spell is the longest of the season and tied for the longest in head coach Anthony Grant’s three seasons on campus.  The Crimson Tide are coming off a disappointing 56-54 loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks as five-point road favorites, which came directly off a 77-71 loss to the Kentucky Wildcats as 10-point road underdogs.  Alabama is 4-0 ATS as a home favorite of 9.5 to 12 points the last two-plus seasons.

The Crimson Tide are still one of the best defensive teams in the country despite their recent struggles as a team, allowing just 57.5 points per game, which is 12th-best in the nation.  Trevor Releford has led the team in scoring in five of the last nine games, averaging 14.0 points per game.  He will get help from JaMychal Green, who surpassed the 1,500 career point mark versus Kentucky.  B.J. Young leads the team in scoring for the entire 2011-12 campaign, averaging 14.6 points a contest.

Bettors will likely back the Crimson Tide due to their 7-1-1 ATS mark as a home favorite of 7 to 12.5 points, while the Razorbacks are 1-6 ATS as an underdog in the same range.

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