College Basketball Best Bets: Will UConn Or Auburn Win Frontcourt Battle?

Written By Eli Hershkovich on November 24, 2021
College Basketball Best Bets

There’s only one ranked game on Wednesday’s slate — No. 19 Auburn against No. 22 UConn in the Battle 4 Atlantis first-round matchup. Let’s break it down in my college basketball best bets.

Click on the odds below to bet now. You can also continue the discussion in our betting community, as we break down all of the games throughout the week.

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College Basketball Best Bets: Wednesday, Nov. 24

Auburn Tigers vs. Connecticut Huskies

Even though Auburn is ranked higher in the AP Top 25, I have UConn positioned above it in my college basketball power rankings.

To no one’s surprise, Dan Hurley’s team is scoring a majority of its points inside the arc. The Huskies are generating the fifth-highest near-proximity rate (lay-ups, dunks and tip-ins), according to Haslametrics, as it boasts one of the most lethal frontcourts in Division I. Sophomore big man Adama Sonogo leads the way with a 23.1% possession rate.

Bruce Pearl’s unit is surrendering the seventh-lowest near-proximity percentage in the country. The 7-foot-1 Walker Kessler and five-star freshman Jabari Smith have made life difficult for their opponents in the paint. Nevertheless, the Tigers have yet to face the size and physicality that the Huskies present.

UConn is also generating the fourth-highest offensive rebounding rate. While that’s within a four-game sample size in its lowly non-conference schedule thus far, it accrued the same ranking last season. The Tigers haven’t been dominant on the defensive glass, so the Huskies should be in position to tally second-chance opportunities with their size advantage.

Bettors could be expecting Auburn’s typical uptempo pace to tire out UConn as the game rolls along, but Hurley has reverted to a similar style from his Rhode Island tenure. The Huskies are notching the ninth-shortest average possession length (14.6 seconds). That could help the total go over too.

Defensively, Hurley’s pressure defense is a difficult test for Pearl’s smaller backcourt. The Tigers racked up 14 turnovers in their win at South Florida on Friday, and UConn’s length with the 6-foot-6 Andre Jackson and Tyrese Martin will disrupt Auburn’s dribble penetration. Without Alan Flannigan (Achilles injury), the Tigers lack some athleticism on the wing as well.

The betting market backed Auburn after UConn opened as a 3.5-point favorite, creating value in the process. It’s underestimating UConn’s potential this season, especially with a transfer-filled Tigers roster that’s searching for cohesion.

Eli’s College Basketball Best Bets: UConn -2 (bet it up to -2.5)
Best Available Line: UConn

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Written by
Eli Hershkovich

Eli Hershkovich is a lead sports betting writer with TheLines and Catena Media, formerly with Audacy and The Action Network. His goal is to provide you with data and information to lead you to winning bets. Eli is an avid college basketball gambler — among many other sports — and still hasn't forgiven Virginia for ruining his 2018-2019 Texas Tech futures.

View all posts by Eli Hershkovich