It’s tournament season in the NCAA, and the SEC is no different. Today the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament commence, and the most exciting matchup should be between Arkansas and LSU. The four and five seeds come into the game with big aspirations for the tournament as a whole. It would be a big disappointment for either team to go home this early, and as a result, we should expect their best today.
On paper, Arkansas comes into the game as the minor favorite. They finished the season one place ahead of LSU. In reality, they should be a bigger favorite than you might expect. You see, the top four teams in the conference separated themselves from the rest of the SEC as the season ended. Arkansas had a 13-5 in-conference record, and despite only finishing one place behind, LSU had a 9-9 in-conference record. While LSU did makeup ground in out of conference games, those games are not very relevant to the outcome of the SEC Tournament.
Despite the difference in records, it should be a good game tonight. It’s been almost a weak since Arkansas has played, and as a result, they should be coming into the game cold. They also lost their last regular-season game, so they’re limping into the game. Conversely, Arkansas has a game of playoff basketball under their belt, and they closed the regular season with a big win over Alabama in overtime. They clearly don’t crumble under the pressure, and as a result, they should be ready for Arkansas today.
Arkansas vs LSU Odds
This game is an interesting one because while the teams are close in the standings, they aren’t close record-wise. That being said, the odds are projecting a close game between these teams. Here you can find the odds, courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
- Spread: Arkansas -3 LSU +3
- Total: Arkansas U 141.5 LSU O 141.5
- Money Line: Arkansas -155 LSU +135
The odds favor Arkansas, but not by much. With close odds, does that mean that this is a good opportunity to bet on the favorite?
Arkansas Betting Outlook
Normally, betting on the favorite does not give you much of a chance of turning a profit, but that is not the case here. The odds are very close between these two teams. You receive -155 odds when you bet on Arkansas to win. It’s clear that the oddsmakers looked at the standings and overall records when making the odds. As a result, you have a chance to take advantage of poorly researched odds.
Arkansas should be a big favorite this game because of their elite in-conference record. They also defeated LSU twice this season, meaning that they know how to handle this matchup. With that in mind, placing a big bet on Arkansas could be the way to go.
The total could go either way. The first game played between these teams had far less than 141.5 points, whereas the second game was way above that mark. That being said, we’re inclined to bet the under because the strength of both teams is defense.
As for the spread, it’s set at -3 for Arkansas. So, if you bet on Arkansas to win the game, it’s reasonable to also bet on their side of the spread. Chances are that if they win, they’ll do so by more than three points.
LSU Betting Outlook
As you could probably guess from our discussion of Arkansas, we aren’t fans of an LSU bet here. We think Arkansas is a much bigger favorite than the odds make them out to be, and as a result, you aren’t getting good enough odds to bet on LSU. Betting on LSU only provides you with +135 odds. That simply isn’t good enough for a team that has lost to Arkansas twice this season and had a much worse in-conference record.
Arkansas vs LSU Prediction
We haven’t hidden our thoughts on the outcome of this match. While we have been impressed with LSU in recent weeks, we don’t think that they will be able to handle Arkansas. That being said, we’ll take you through the reasons.
Throughout the season, Arkansas has performed better in their conference, finishing with a 13-5 record. Conversely, LSU finished 9-9 in the SEC. While it’s true that LSU closed the gap overall, finishing with a 22-10 record to Arkansas’ 24-7; games outside the SEC are not very relevant to the SEC tournament.
It’s also important to look at recent form, and while Arkansas lost their last game to Tennessee, it was a close match and they’ve performed great as of late. Before their loss to Tennessee, they had won five games in a row and had a 14-1 record in their last 15 games.
Conversely, while Arkansas has performed well in their last two games, they were struggling in prior games. They finished the season on a 2-3 run and appeared to struggle in games they should’ve been favored to win.
Finally, the advanced stats show that these are two elite defensive teams and not much separates them there. However, LSU is terrible on offense, whereas Arkansas is average. With that in mind, it’s hard to bet against Arkansas.
So, our prediction is for Arkansas to win 70-65.
Where to Watch
You can watch this game on ESPN at 2 PM EST.