The Southeastern Conference Championship Tournament Semifinals are set for Saturday, March 13, 2021, so I’ve prepared all the key betting tips and trends for the Tennessee Volunteers vs. Alabama Crimson Tide showdown at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee, along with my top betting pick.
The Tide opened as slight 3-point favorites on William Hill Sportsbook. They already defeated Tennessee this season, 71-63, as 10-point road underdogs on January 2.
The Vols had no problems beating Florida in the quarterfinals
The Tennessee Volunteers (18-7; 10-7 Conf.) put on a strong performance in the SEC quarterfinals, outlasting the Florida Gators 78-66 as 4-point favorites. They shot 46.7% from the field and 36.0% from beyond the arc while handing out a whopping 21 assists.
On the other side of the ball, the Vols held the Gators to just 34.5% shooting from the field and forced 16 turnovers that helped them on the way a lot. Five guys scored in double figures, while freshman guard Keon Johnson led the way with a terrific line of 13 points, nine rebounds, and six assists.
The Vols lean heavily on their defense. Senior forward Yves Pons posted nine blocks against Florida, and the Volunteers are averaging 4.5 swats per contest (33rd in the nation). Tennessee surrenders only 87.5 points per 100 possessions (4th) while scoring 109.8 points in a return (67th).
The Tide rolled over Mississippi State in the quarters
The Alabama Crimson Tide (22-6; 16-2 Conf.) dismantled the Mississippi State Bulldogs 85-48 as 8-point favorites in the SEC Championship Tournament quarterfinals to record their fourth straight victory. Nate Oats’ boys built a massive 28-point lead by the end of the first half and never looked back.
They shot 48.5% from the field while limiting the Bulldogs to a terrible 18-for-62 (29.0%). None of the Bama starters played more than 19 minutes, and senior forward Herb Jones led the way with eight points, seven rebounds, seven assists, three steals, and a couple of blocks.
Alabama owns the best defensive rating in the country, yielding just 86.1 points per 100 possessions. The Tide score 112.1 points in a return (36th) while making 35.5% of their 3-pointers (99th). They grab 40.3 rebounds per game (11th) and make 8.7 steals (17th).
- 3-7 ATS in the last ten games against Alabama
- 13-7-1 ATS in the last 21 games overall
- 8-2 ATS in the last ten games as favorites of three or fewer points
The Vols have been unpredictable over the last few weeks. They are 5-3 straight up and 4-4 ATS over the last eight games. Tennessee certainly possesses the quality to pull off an upset here, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.
The Vols lack consistency on the offensive end and the Tide will play some very aggressive defense. Alabama has been terrific on both sides of the ball all season long, so I’m backing them to put on another strong performance and beat Tennessee by three or more points.
Pick: Take Alabama -3.0 at -110
The under has hit in 13 of the last 15 encounters between Tennessee and Alabama including the previous seven. Also, the under is 4-1 in Bama’s previous five outings, and it is 3-2 in Tennessee’s last five tilts overall.
Both teams rely on a stout defense, but the tricky thing is that Alabama plays at the eighth-fastest pace in the country, averaging 74.1 possessions per 40 minutes. Still, Tennessee has to try to slow down things, so I would stick with the betting trends.
Pick: Go under 137.5 points at -110