Arkansas vs LSU Basketball Prediction, Odds & Picks: Will the ranked Razorbacks survive in their SEC opener?
If you’re looking for a potential upset tonight in college basketball, the SEC is the place to cast your eyes, as four ranked SEC teams are on the road. In Baton Rouge, #9 Arkansas will look to stave off an upset bid from LSU in a matchup set to tip off at 9:00 pm ET (8:00 pm local time, ESPN2).
The Razorbacks (11-1) enter SEC play with their only blemish being a three-point loss to Creighton in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational, while the Tigers’ only blemish in a strong start under new coach Matt McMahon is a two-point loss to Kansas State in the championship game of the Cayman Islands Classic.
While Arkansas, who started the season ranked 10th in the AP Poll, is where many expected them to be at this point, LSU has arguably exceeded the expectations many might have when coach Will Wade was fired and most of the roster went out of the door with him.
Will a signature win be added to that strong start tonight? Read on for our Arkansas vs LSU prediction, as well as our picks and analysis for tonight’s showdown at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
Arkansas Razorbacks vs LSU Tigers Odds
Game odds are via FanDuel as of Wednesday, December 28, 2022, at 5:45 pm ET. This article may also include odds from our other recommended legal sports betting sites.
- Arkansas -4.5 (-105)
- LSU +4.5 (-115)
- Over 143.5 (-106)
- Under 143.5 (-114)
- Arkansas -184
- LSU +152
Will the Razorbacks Reveal LSU to be Paper Tigers?
As has been the case for most of the season, Arkansas will be shorthanded tonight.
First, they were without freshman phenom Nick Smith Jr. for the first six games. Then they lost sophomore forward Trevon Brazile, their leading rebounder and one of their leading scorers, for the season due to a torn ACL suffered against UNC Greensboro.
Now, they are without Smith again, as he is out indefinitely due to “right knee management,” which is the same thing that kept him out for the first six games.
So, the Razorbacks have had the services of Smith, Brazile, and guard Davonte Davis–who was away from the team for a week and missed the Troy game–for all of part of two games, a win over San Jose State and part of the UNC Greensboro game.
Missing in Action for Arkansas
- Nick Smith Jr.: 12.6 PPG
- Trevon Brazile: 11.8 PPG, 6.0 RPG
But the Hogs keep on trucking along, and they finished up their pre-SEC schedule by beating UNC Asheville by 34 last Wednesday.
Against the Bulldogs, six players scored at least nine points, led by a season-high 16 points from Arizona State transfer Jalen Graham.
The Razorbacks are averaging 79.4 points per game, which is third in the SEC, and they are second in the conference in field goal percentage (49.6%).
But they are also third in the SEC in points allowed per game (61.9 PPG) and second in turnovers forced per game (18.8), and they are eighth in adjusted defensive efficiency at KenPom.
LSU ranks only 96th in offensive efficiency and is averaging just 73.0 PPG, but the Razorbacks will have a big challenge–both in size and production–to neutralize in KJ Williams, who leads the SEC in scoring (19.3 PPG), is fourth in the field goal percentage (55.7%) and ranks fifth in rebounding (8.3 RPG).
Williams is also a real threat from outside, making half of his 46 three-point attempts this season, including 7 of 9 in a 35-point, 10-rebound performance against Wake Forest.
But outside of Kansas State and Wake Forest, the highest-rated team that LSU has faced this season (as per KenPom’s rankings) is Akron, who comes in at 123rd. They have faced eight teams ranked outside the top 200, and they dispatched both East Tennessee State (259th) and UT Arlington (274th) by four.
Arkansas vs LSU Prediction and Picks
Arkansas vs LSU Prediction: Arkansas to win
Arkansas vs LSU Picks: Arkansas team total over 73.5 (Best Value: FanDuel) & Arkansas/LSU first half over 66.5 (Best Value: Caesars Sportsbook)
The Razorbacks are shorthanded, and the 6’10’’, 260-pound Williams will pose a real challenge for a team that doesn’t have someone who really matches him size wise.
But I don’t see the upset happening tonight in Baton Rouge. McMahon has done really well to get his rebuilt roster to gel and produce results, but they will need to unlock a whole different level to send Arkansas back to Fayetteville with a loss, and I don’t see that level being unlocked tonight.