March Madness Team Betting Preview: Arkansas Razorbacks

Mar 15, 2021 - 1:58 PM

It feels like nobody is talking about the Arkansas Razorbacks. Perhaps because they started conference play 2-4, or because they didn’t win the SEC tournament. Or maybe because Arkansas isn’t really known as a basketball school.

Regardless of the perception surrounding the Razorbacks, they’re poised to make some serious noise in the 2021 NCAA Tournament, led by head Eric Musselman and future NBA draftee Moses Moody.

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Betting Preview: Arkansas Razorbacks

  • Record: 22-6 overall, 13-4 SEC
  • ATS: 18-9-1 (64.3%)
  • O/U: 14-13-1 (50.0%)
  • Points Scored/Game: 82.4 (7th overall)
  • Points Allowed/Game: 70.7 (192th overall)
  • Outright Odds: +5000 (BettingPros Consensus)

Team Strengths

Arkansas is an extremely well-rounded team that excels at scoring the basketball. They rank seventh in the country in points per game, and they can beat you in a variety of different ways. They’re not the greatest three-point shooting team (33.9%) or shooting team in general (45.5%), but they play extremely fast (77.1 possessions per game; 12th in the country) and are above-average in terms of offensive efficiency (34th).

Perhaps the Razorbacks’ biggest strength is star freshman guard Moses Moody. He started the season a bit slow, hitting just five of 21 shots over his first two games. But since, he’s been outstanding and one of the best guards in the SEC. He finished the season averaging over 17 points per game and, perhaps most importantly this time of year, hit 81.7% of his free throws. Moody is Arkansas’ go-to guy, and as a potential lottery pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, there aren’t a ton of teams equipped to stop him.

Team Weaknesses

The Razorbacks aren’t a poor defensive team, but when you play as fast as they do, you’re going to give up some points. The Razorbacks rank just 176th in the country in scoring defense but still rank 24th in defensive efficiency. They’ll need to find some balance if they want to make a deep March run.

I’m also a bit concerned about their lack of quality wins this season. They played the 45th-hardest schedule in the country but had just a single Quadrant-1 win. No team will lay down for Arkansas, and the lack of experience of beating quality teams could initially shock them.

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Why They’ll Win it All

Arkansas will play Colgate in round one, a team that likes to run and score as much, if not more, than they do. There’s certainly some fear that a game like that could drain the Razorbacks’ energy right out of the gate, but it could also be an early wake-up call. I think it will be, and the opening game’s pace will get Arkansas into gear right away.

The Razorbacks also have the ability to force teams to throw their game plan out the window early with their fast-paced offense. They play in perhaps the toughest region in the tournament but could really flip the script if they dictate the tempo and force teams to play their style of basketball.

Why They Won’t Win it All

As I mentioned, Arkansas plays in maybe the most difficult corner of the bracket. Colgate is not to be overlooked in round one, and the Razorbacks may legitimately need to navigate this gauntlet if they want to reach the Final Four: Texas Tech, Ohio State, and Baylor. I fear the bracket may be stacked against them.

Seeing as they didn’t piece together a great collection of quality wins this season, it may be tough for Arkansas to knock off multiple good teams in a row on their way to a potential Final Four.

Arkansas Razorbacks March Madness Prediction

Arkansas’s offensive pace is something I’ve loved to watch all season, and I’m excited to see how teams choose to defend it in March.

At +5000, there’s a great value on the Razorbacks as a potential National Title winner. They’re also +800 to make the Final Four, and that’s exactly where I’ve pegged them to land. The South Region is so difficult that there will be upsets, clearing Arkansas’s path a bit. Both the one-seeded Baylor Bears and two-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes are on upset watch starting in round two, and I expect the Razorbacks to seize the opportunity and win the South Region.

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Mike Wagenman is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him on Twitter @mjwags23.

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