In what can be fairly described as a mundane matchup between Tennessee and Auburn, the experts at Pro Edge Sports believe the value rests with the home underdog at +4.5 or more. While it can certainly be argued that Tennessee has a lot more to play for (improving resume for NCAA Tournament Selection Committee), elite teams would not find themselves in “must-win” situations at this juncture of the season. And, the Volunteers are far from elite as they have suffered upset losses to Vanderbilt (64-60) and Texas A&M (68-65) within the last month.
Let’s take a look at what Tennessee has done this season. The Volunteers are averaging 72.1 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 68.7 points per game, thereby making the Volunteers just 3.4 points per game better than average offensively. The larger problem for Tennessee is the fact that the Volunteers are 5-8 SU and ATS on the road where they are averaging just 66.2 points per game on 40.8% shooting from the field and 27.2% from beyond the arc. In short, Tennessee is a pedestrian squad on the offensive end of the floor.
The strength of Tennessee is its defense that is allowing 62.6 points per game to teams that would combine to average 70.9 points per game. Being 8.3 points per game better than average defensively is certainly good enough to contain an Auburn attack that is 3.6 points per game better than average (72.8 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 69.2 points per game). Tennessee’s advantage on the defensive end of the floor is enhanced by the fact that the Volunteers are allowing 59.4 points over their last five games, whereas the Tigers are averaging just 71.4 points per game over that span.
Strictly from a fundamental standpoint, Tennessee possesses a 4.0 points per game advantage offensively and a 4.7 points per game advantage defensively in tonight’s game. However, Auburn plays significantly better at home (12-5 SU and 8-5 ATS), while the Volunteers play substantially worse on the road. Tennessee also has a huge revenge game on deck against Missouri in its home finale so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Volunteers overlook Auburn tonight.
Pro Edge Sports Pick: Auburn (+5) (-110)