Auburn Tigers vs. Tennessee Volunteers Pick – SEC Title Prediction
Auburn Tigers (25-9 SU, 17-15-1 ATS) vs. Tennessee Volunteers (29-4 SU, 17-14-1 ATS)
When: Sunday, March 17, 2019 – 1 p.m. ET
Where: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee
Point Spread: AUB +5 / TENN -5 (MyBookie Sportsbook)
Total: O/U 146.5
Last Time Out: Auburn beat Florida 65-62 in the first SEC semifinal; Tennessee beat Kentucky 82-78 in the second SEC semifinal.
Scouting the Tigers:
The Tigers may have been a 5-seed in this SEC tournament, but they have managed to play their way into the title game. This is partly thanks to Florida, who upset LSU in the quarterfinals and gave the Tigers an easier matchup for the semifinals. Auburn is projected to be a 5th-seed in the NCAA tournament by ESPN’s, Joe Lunardi, but a win in this title game will certainly give them an argument to be moved to a 4-seed. This, of course, will alter the matchups for the Tigers and could have a drastic effect on how deep of a run they could make.
Scouting the Volunteers:
The Volunteers finally dethroned Kentucky and now will be looking for the school’s first SEC tournament title since 1979. With a win, the Vols should be seriously considered for a 1-seed. Especially over teams like Gonzaga, who failed to win their weak conference. Anyways, the Vols will be ready for this game and are sure to put on a show, just like they did when they upset the Wildcats.
Head to Head:
Auburn literally just beat this Vols team in the regular season finale, when they played on March 9th. With that win, the Tigers have now won two straight over the Vols, but Tennessee still holds a 7 to 3 advantage in the last 10 games played against one another.
Notable Betting Trends:
A recent betting trend to watch is the Tigers have covered in two straight games against the Volunteers. Tennessee still holds a 6 to 4 advantage in the last 10 meetings, but Auburn has undoubtedly been able to cover as of late. Other trends show that after a win by 0 to 4 points, Tennessee is 2-1. As for Auburn, they are 1-2, meaning they do not play as well when coming off a close win.
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Just like against Kentucky, Grant Williams must have a fantastic game for the Vols to claim the SEC title. Williams did not necessarily have his greatest game against Kentucky, but down the stretch, Williams leadership led them to the upset. Williams shot 5 for 10 from the field and poured in 20 points to help down the Cats. He shot also shot 1 of 2 from behind the three-point line, but his one shot that connected came in the dying seconds to bring the Vols back to life.
Auburn will Cover if:
Force turnovers like they did in the Florida game. First off, the Tigers allowed the Gators to shoot 60.5% from the field which is unacceptable at this point in the season, but nonetheless, they forced 18 turnovers. This allowed Auburn to stay in the game since their closeout defense was poor. The Tigers are going to have to improve defensively in the title game because if they leave the Tennessee shooters open, they will get burned. Tennessee also takes care of the ball, so forcing turnovers to lead to fast break points will be a significant factor.
Tennessee will Cover if:
They make their threes at a high percentage. Against the Tigers in Auburn, the Vols shot 9 of 28 behind the arc or 32.1%. Against the Wildcats in the semifinal game, the Volunteers shot 10 of 21 or 47.6%. This difference obviously played a huge part in the results in each game, so look for Tennessee to get hot once again against the Tigers. So really this game will come down to Grant Williams, Jordan Bone, an Admiral Schofield.
Matt’s Pick for Auburn vs. Tennessee:
This is a massive game for both programs, especially since Kentucky is not in the finals for the first time in years. The Vols have finally taken down their biggest rivals when it means the most, while Auburn has rebuilt their program under Bruce Pearl. MyBookie currently has the Vols as a 5-point favorite, and with how they played against Kentucky, this seems like an easy pick on the Volunteers. I like Tennessee to win, cover and secure a number 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament.