Can Tigers tame Tide?

Most sports books monitored by SportsOptions have Alabama installed as a five-point road favorite, with the total at 117.

Alabama (15-7 SU/8-10 ATS) is coming off  Saturday’s tough 69-67 double-overtime home win over Mississippi, though the Tide didn’t get the cover as 10½ point favorites.

Andrew Steele hit a jump shot and added a free throw in the final 31 seconds of the second overtime as Alabama held off the Ole Miss Rebels. JaMychal Green led the way for the Crimson Tide with a double-double consisting of 16 points and 12 rebounds. Tony Mitchell finished with 14 points, and Charles Hankerson chipped in 10 points in the narrow win for Alabama, which was coming off a 72-66 non-cover (-11½) home win over Arkansas in their previous outing.

Alabama struggled in the first half against Ole Miss, shooting just 37.9 percent from the floor. As a result, Alabama trailed 33-26 at the break. The Tide shot better in the second half (43 percent) and used a 12-3 run midway through the final stanza. The score was tied 54-54 at the end of regulation.

‘Bama took a five point lead in the first overtime, but couldn’t stave off the Tigers. In the second overtime, Alabama used an 8-2 run to get some separation and held on down the stretch. Steele, who rejoined the team in January after sustaining multiple concussions earlier in the season, finished with seven points.

Alabama had a 42-40 edge on the boards, but only shot 39.7 percent overall (27-of-68) and 3-of-17 from downtown (17.6 percent). Green leads Alabama in scoring (13.8 PPG) and rebounding (7.2 RPG), while Mitchell is right behind him with 13.1 PPG and 7.0 RPG. Trevor Releford adds 12.3 PPG, giving the squad plenty of balance. The trio also led the team in scoring last year in their current respective order.

Auburn (13-10 SU/9-10 ATS) went toe-to-toe with a good Mississippi State team on Saturday, but came up short in a 91-88 setback as 11½ point road underdogs.

Varez Ward had 24 points and five assists and Kenny Gabriel had 22 points and 11 rebounds in the setback. Frankie Sullivan added 16 points for the Tigers, who have dropped three of its last four outings.

Mississippi State led for much of the first half, shooting 63 percent, but Auburn connected on 15-of-28 from the floor (53.6 percent), including a three-pointer by Gabriel at the buzzer that gave the Tigers a 44-43 halftime lead. Auburn fell behind by 13 in the second half and the Tigers fought back, but they couldn’t make enough stops on the defensive end to get the road win.

Auburn scores 64.7 PPG, but what it lacks in offense it makes up on defense. The Tigers allow foes to score just 64.5 PPG. The team has just two double-digit scorers in Sullivan and Gabriel, who both score an identical 12.3 PPG. Gabriel also leads the team in rebounding with 8.0 boards per game.

The Tigers have struggled recently with just three wins in its last 13 games overall and they’re 1-8 away from home this season. However, Auburn is 12-1 at home this season, with the only blemish a 68-53 loss to No. 1 ranked Kentucky on January 11.

Auburn is on a 36-15-1 ATS run in SEC tilts and 7-1 ATS in its last eight games overall. Alabama won both meetings with Auburn last year, 68-58 as 10½ road favorites and 51-49 as 17 point home chalks in the second encounter.

Alabama is only 7-10 ATS as a favorite recently, while Auburn is 26-11 ATS off a conference loss. Tigers could be a live home ‘dog in this one.

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