Cokin’s Corner, Tuesday 1/26/16
I’m skipping the commentary today, but as always, there’s the daily free play. Georgia Southern got to the winner’s circle on Monday in a 101-100 thriller at Appalachian State and I’ll go the road dog route again on Tuesday evening.
757 TENNESSEE @ 758 ALABAMA
Take: TENNESSEE +4
I’m playing strengths vs. weaknesses tonight as Tennessee pays a visit to Alabama. As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m big on keying on categories and looking for underdog advantages, and we’ve got some to look at in this game.
One area of interest in turnovers. The Volunteers are taking good care of the basketball, with one of the better ball security percentages in D1 this season. The same cannot be said for the Crimson Tide, who are toward the bottom of the national rankings offensively and really aren’t significantly better on the defensive end. Things haven’t changed much since SEC league play began, with Tennessee still holding pretty substantial edges in this category on both ends of the court.
There’s also a huge free throw accuracy disparity in play here. The Vols are one of the better foul shooting teams in D1, and they’ve even money at the stripe in league play, with a sensational 81% conversion rate. Contrast that with Alabama, and it’s a blowout comparison. The Tide have failed at the foul line all season, and have gotten worse since conference play got started, connecting at a pathetic 61% clip.
Those aren’t the only areas where Tennessee holds an edge, but they’re the biggest differentials. To be sure, Alabama also does some things better than their guests, and I can’t deny the fact that the Tide have a clear size advantage tonight. Tennessee is a very small team and my biggest concern tonight is how well the Volunteers do when it comes to prevent second chances opportunities for the Tide. As lousy as Alabama is at the foul line, my play could get in trouble if the Volunteers are forced to foul the bigger Tide players.
But the bottom line for me is that I’ve got a good number of check marks on the Tennessee side when doing the head to head comparisons, and these types of plays have produced pretty well in terms of garnering an edge with the underdog. So I’ll stay that course in this game and will side with Tennessee plus the points.
UPDATE: The number on this game is now mostly +3. Still worth playing in my opinion, but I am recommending 0.5x rather than the full unit with the loss in value.