Free Pick Breakdown, Odds & Prediction: #1 Alabama vs. #10 Tennessee (2/15/2023) - Taking Vegas

Free Pick Breakdown, Odds & Prediction: #1 Alabama vs. #10 Tennessee (2/15/2023)

By TakingVegas Staff Writer
February 15, 2023
Photo by: Marvin Gentry - USA TODAY Sports

#1 Alabama Crimson Tide vs #10 Tennessee Volunteers (2/15 @ 7:00 PM EST)

Spread: Tennessee -2.5
Money Line: Alabama +115 / Tennessee -135
Total: 144.5

Overview and Betting Info

The top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (22-3) will head to Knoxville to take on the #10 Tennessee Volunteers (19-6) on Wednesday night. The Tide leads the SEC, with the Vols four games behind in third place. This is the first time these teams have met this season.

This season, Alabama is 15-9-1 against the spread, covering six of their nine road games. They have gone over the total 11 times but have been under in six of their last eight games.

Tennessee is 13-12 versus the spread but has failed to cover their last four games. They have gone over the total ten times but have been under four of their previous six.

Alabama Crimson Tide

Alabama has risen to the top of the national rankings thanks to winning 13 of their last 14 games. The lone loss was a stunner at Oklahoma, but they answered by dominating their next four opponents. Their offense has been fantastic, ranking sixth in the nation in scoring (83.4 PPG) and first in rebounding (44.4 RPG). In the SEC, they rank fourth in field goal percentage (44.9%), third in three-point percentage (35.1%), and fourth in assists. The defense has been ok, ranking ninth in the SEC in opponent scoring (68.7 PPG), second in field goal (37.0%), and three-point (26.3%) percentage. They do not generate turnovers, ranking in the bottom four in the conference in steals and blocks. On offense, turnovers are also a concern, as they average a conference-high 14.1 per game.

The Tide is led by Brandon Miller (18.8 PPG, 8.2 RPG) and Mark Sears (14.0 PPG, 1.4 SPG). Miller has dominated this season and ranks fourth in the SEC in rebounds. His scoring has been a bit erratic of late, but he still leads the team by making 42.7% of his threes. Miller is also an elite defender, with nine steals in his last six games. He’s gone for over 30 points four times this season, an insane stat for a freshman. Sears is their steals leader and a talented scorer, making 43.5% from the field. He’s been on fire from three of late, making 64.2% of his attempts over their last three games.

Alabama’s top scorers are supported by Noah Clowney (9.8 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 1.0 BPG) and Jaden Bradley (7.9 PPH, 3.4 APG). Clowney has become one of the best big men in the SEC, ranking fifth in rebounding. He’s only a freshman but has become a big part of the Tide’s success. His scoring is erratic, but his ability to rebound and defend the basket makes up for it. Bradley is a solid passer and shooter, mainly playing a support role to the other three players. Keep an eye on Rylan Griffin (7.2 PPG), as the freshmen guard is averaging 12.4 points over their last five games. His ability to score could be the difference in Wednesday’s game.

Tennessee Volunteers

The Vols started the season by going 18-3 and rising to the second spot in the national rankings but went on to lose three of their next four games. They managed to stay inside the top ten by beating Auburn in an ugly home win. Their offense has been average, ranking sixth in the SEC in scoring (72.5 PPG), eighth in field goal percentage (43.2%), and sixth in three-point percentage (32.9%). They move the ball well, ranking second in assists (16.8 APG). Their defense has been the biggest reason for their success, ranking third in the country in opponent scoring (56.3 PPG), second in field goal percentage (35.5%), and first in three-point percentage (24.2%). They also rank third in steals (8.8 SPG) and second in opponent turnovers (15.5).

The Vols are led by a trio of stars in Santiago Vescovi (12.2 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 2.0 SPG), Zakai Zeigler (10.8 PPG, 5.4 APG, 2.0 SPG), and Olivier Nkamhoua (10.7 PPG, 5.0 RPG). Vescovi is their leading scorer despite making just 38.8% of his shots. He’s an incredible defender, ranking fifth in steals in the SEC. One area of concern has been foul trouble, as he has gotten 4+ fouls in four of his last five games. Zeigler is also an elite defender and the floor general that runs this team. He can score in bunches but has struggled to be consistent over their last five games, with two games scoring under six points. Nkamhous has also been struggling to find consistency in his scoring, but he has been shooting better. He’s our player to watch, as the big forward had 27 points and eight rebounds against the last top-ten team they played (Texas on 1/28).

The trio is supported by Josiah-Jordan James (9.5 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.1 SPG) and Julian Phillips (9.0 PPG, 4.8 RPG). James is a solid rebounder averaging eight over his last five games, despite three poor scoring performances. His solid defense makes him a great role player for this team. Phillips is a freshman who can score in bunches but has been quiet over their last five by averaging 5.2 points during that span. Watch out for Tyreke Key (8.8 PPG), as the senior guard is coming off a game where he shot 55% from three to score 23 points with six rebounds.

Free Pick: Under 144.5

The under seems like easy money in this one. For Tennessee, their offense has been a weakness all season. While they scored 85 in a loss last week, they have failed to score over 70 in their previous three games. While the Tide’s season defensive numbers are average, they have not allowed an opponent to score over 70 points since December 17th.

We think the Tide will struggle to score a bit on the road against a great Tennessee defense. While their offense is incredible, they have an issue with turning the ball over. That will be a big problem when they face a Vols team that is second in the country forcing turnovers.

We are happy to take the under in this battle between two of the nation’s top defenses.