Outkick Bets: Betting Auburn/Ole Miss

Way down in the South, the college basketball is really good and Kentucky isn't who I am referencing. Even further down I-65, the Auburn Tigers are #4 in the country and could be one win away from the #1 spot in the nation. They travel to Oxford as a nine-point favorite for an evening tilt and we want to look at it.

Auburn rose with Bruce Pearl with tenacious defense and a fearless approach to jacking up deep shots. They Tigers made it to the Final Four with that mentality. Now, add that defensive mindset, add buckets of threes and a whole lot of explosive playmakers including the possible No. 1 NBA selection in June and you've got a recipe for an elite team and season.

Jabari Smith is that potential NBA top pick and when he's on the floor, it's obvious. Auburn runs and runs so well with his legs churning. He's averaging 16 points a game and he's only on the court for about 26 minutes a game. That's because as good as he is, he is protected with legitimate depth. K.D. Johnson, a 4-star Georgia transfer, is the heart and fire of the team and as the team's third-leading scorer, you never know which shot will be the one that starts a run or ends another team's. Walker Kessler is a North Carolina transfer and his big seven-foot frame is the SEC's leading shot blocker and is third in the country. If you haven't watched Auburn, do it.

Ole Miss was a preseason bottom-dweller selection for the conference (9th to be exact) and they've been about that (10th currently). The team's leading scorer Jarkel Joiner will be out for this game (and six more weeks worth). Kermit Davis, the Rebels' head coach, just called his team the "softest" team he's ever put on the floor after dropping a 16-point decision to Texas A&M. They are struggling. Ole Miss will have top rely on their defense to slow the 80-point-per-game Tigers and it'll be a tough task against the physical fighting Bruce Pearls.

Auburn has won their two SEC road games ATS but this number is much larger. I expect Ole Miss to really dial back the pace of this game to extend this one as much as possible. Auburn's half-court game is pretty strong in 2021-22 so the key will be to make some shots early, get the crowd into it, do not get wild with the ball, get tough after being called out by coach and get some favorable whistles at home. It's not impossible (Ole Miss was won 4 of their last 6 vs Auburn), but highly improbable because if Auburn is smart, they'll take advantage of their inside size, skill and depth for a long time. I'll take Auburn -8 and the OVER 139.5.