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Auburn Tigers vs. Tennessee Volunteers Prediction: Winner Gets SEC Regular Season Edge

Written by: Andrew Norton
Published February 28, 2024
10 min read

Two of the top four SEC teams, the Auburn Tigers (21-6, 10-4 in SEC) and Tennessee Volunteers (21-6, 11-3 in SEC), will fight for positioning atop the conference standings on Wednesday night. The winner of this game will have a chance to secure an SEC regular season title, so the stakes are sky-high!

This is the first and only time (barring an SEC Tournament matchup) that the Tigers and Volunteers will battle, giving Tennessee an advantage since it is at Thompson-Boling Arena. Check out our Auburn Tigers vs. Tennessee Volunteers prediction, picks, betting odds, and analysis below to see which team will stay at the top (or leap to it) at the end of this game!

Auburn Tigers vs. Tennessee Volunteers Prediction

Auburn Tigers vs. Tennessee Volunteers Betting Odds for Wednesday, Feb. 28

On Wednesday night, the Auburn Tigers strolled into Thompson-Boling as 6.5-point road dogs against the Tennessee Volunteers. Auburn is 4-4 against the spread as a road team this season, while Tennessee is 9-4-1 ATS on its home floor. The Moneyline odds for the Tigers and Volunteers were unavailable when this article was written.

The point total for this SEC showdown hangs around 150 points, with the Over (-112) holding a slight advantage over the Under (-108.) Despite usually scoring fewer points, the Volunteers have a 15-12 Over record. Meanwhile, the Tigers tend to have more Unders due to their strong defense, currently holding an 11-16 Over record this season.

Auburn Tigers+6.5 (-115)N/AOver 150 (-112)
Tennessee Volunteers-6.5 (-105)N/AUnder 150 (-108)

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Auburn Tigers vs. Tennessee Volunteers Prediction

Short of a top-five matchup or a simmering rivalry game, this is about as good as it gets! Two of the best defensive teams in the nation, Auburn and Tennessee, go toe-to-toe in an SEC matchup that could decide who wins the conference’s regular season title. The Tigers currently have a 10-4 record in SEC play, which is tied with the South Carolina Gamecocks, while Alabama and Tennessee boast impressive 11-3 conference records. 

A win for the Tigers would propel them ahead of Tennessee in the SEC standings because they would own the tiebreaker. If the Volunteers win, they will pressure Alabama to beat Ole Miss on the road. However, Tennessee's remaining schedule is brutal because it plays No. 11 Auburn first, then Nos. 14 Alabama and No. 18 South Carolina on the road, and finally No. 16 Kentucky at home.

Tennessee was projected to win the SEC in the preseason media poll. Conversely, Auburn was not highly regarded, with the media expecting the Tigers to finish sixth in the conference. The Tigers have been led by their two star frontcourt players, Johni Broome and Jaylin Williams, as well as a barrage of talented guards who can seemingly all defend at an extremely high level. 

Broome is among the best two-way forwards in the nation, averaging 16.1 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks in just 24.5 minutes per game. He has accomplished this on an efficient 55.1% shooting from the field, too. Williams also pours in 13 points per game on a shooting split of 58/41/81. This frontcourt can compete with any other forward and center combination in the country.

Auburn’s guards are solid, with no single player shouldering too much weight on the perimeter. The Tigers have four guards who average between seven and eight points per game, including Aden Holloway, a freshman five-star guard. As Holloway continues to improve throughout the season, along with the rest of the backcourt, this Auburn team will become more dangerous, especially with a defense that already ranks sixth in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric.

Speaking of defense, only one team ranks better in adjD than the Tennessee Volunteers, and that is Houston. They are physical, have quick hands and feet, and maintain intensity on every possession. Tennessee lost some talent from last year’s team (Olivier Nkamhoua and Julian Phillips) that nearly made an Elite Eight despite being without their starting point guard Zakai Zeigler, who suffered an unfortunate and untimely knee injury. However, the Volunteers brought in All-American senior Dalton Knecht and Jordan Gainey to fill their shoes. Zeigler, Santiago Vescovi, Josiah-Jordan James, and Jonas Aidoo also returned to Knoxville to try to win a national championship this time around. The Volunteers certainly have the personnel, talent, coaching, and toughness to do just that.

In fact, Tennessee ranks sixth in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency margin and boasts an impressive 21-6 record behind its elite defense and the extraordinary play of Dalton Knecht. Knecht has given this team the primary scoring option that they were missing last season, allowing them to be much more well-rounded. He has averaged 20.1 points per game on a 48/40/76 shooting split, but that number shoots up to just shy of 26 points per game in his past 13 outings.

Which of these two powerhouse squads will come away with a win on Wednesday night? Find out in our prediction and betting pick below!

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Auburn Tigers vs. Tennessee Volunteers Betting Pick

Winning on the road against nearly any conference opponent in college basketball isn’t easy. But it is almost impossible to win on the road against this fourth-ranked Tennessee Volunteers team that has won four of their past five home games by at least 19 points. And that’s exactly the spot we are in here. 

Tennessee’s only loss at home came against the No. 18 South Carolina Gamecocks on January 30. Since then, the Volunteers have decimated opponents at home, beating LSU by 20 points, Vanderbilt by 35, and Texas A&M by 35. Sure, these teams aren’t the same caliber as Auburn, but these are conference games. They aren’t often supposed to end in 30-point blowouts.

The primary concern for backing Auburn in this spot is its guard play. The Tigers don’t generate enough perimeter offense (170th in 3P% and 119th in threes made per game) to keep up with the Volunteers, especially on their home floor. In fact, Tennessee ranks seventh in average scoring margin, tenth in opponent points per game, and first in opponent effective field goal percentage at home while turning the ball over fewer than ten times per game.

Further, Tennessee has posted at least 85 points in seven of its past eight games at home, with the outlier game against the Gamecocks being the only blip. The Volunteers know this game is a must-win, so expect them to play accordingly.

How to Watch Auburn Tigers vs. Tennessee Volunteers

  • When: Wednesday, Feb. 28 @ 4:00/7:00 p.m. PT/ET

  • Where: Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, TN

  • TV: ESPN

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Andrew Norton

148 Articles

Andrew has always been an avid sports fan and followed his hoop dreams all the way to college. He’s well-versed in everything betting with multiple years of experience and is qualitatively and quantitatively knowledgeable in sports statistics and analytics.

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