While there may be reasons to be down on the Auburn Tigers this year, there are just as many to be optimism about their chances. We highlight some of each in our George Mason vs. Auburn betting preview below.
The 2022-23 NCAA basketball season is finally here and games tip-off on Monday afternoon. One of the many games on tap on this opening Monday includes the George Mason Patriots at the Auburn Tigers.
George Mason had a mediocre last year under first-year coach Kim English, but they have plenty of new talent to improve quickly. The Auburn Tigers lost some major players from a team ranked No. 1 for most of the year, but Bruce Pearl has reloaded.
Will the Tigers start off the new season with a big home victory? Read our college basketball picks and predictions for George Mason vs. Auburn below to find out.
George Mason vs Auburn best odds
George Mason vs Auburn picks and predictions
It was a disappointing end to a season that saw the Auburn Tigers as one of the premier programs in the Nation last year when they lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament to 10-seeded Miami. Compound that with the losses of Jabari Smith and Walker Kessler and you may think it is going to be a down season for Auburn.
However, the Tigers have loaded right back up with some new talent to mesh with their returning players. John Broome transferred in from Morehead State, where he was the OVC Defensive Player of the Year and averaged 16.8 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. Their top recruit was five-star forward Yohan Traore, who was the No. 27 overall recruit according to ESPN.
The Tigers also return starting guards KD Johnson and Wendell Green from their spectacular season last year and will be returning an injured wing Allen Flanigan, who averaged 14.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per game two years before his achilles injury.
Flanigan looked close to back to his normal self in their exhibition games, dropping 11 points and four assists against Alabama-Huntsville last Wednesday.
On the other side, George Mason had a rough season in Kim English’s inaugural year as head coach. They finished 14-16 overall and 7-9 in the Atlantic 10 after a 4-1 start to the conference season. Lack of depth and experience played a huge factor in a losing skid that saw them drop nine of their last 12 games to finish the year.
However, depth should not be as big of an issue this season, as they brought in transfers Victor Bailey Jr. from Tennessee, Ginika Ojiako from Virginia Tech, and Saquan Singleton from New Mexico State. They also got a highly rated four-star recruit from IMG Academy, Justyn Fernandez, who was the No. 74 overall recruit, per ESPN.
While the Patriots certainly improved their depth and should be much improved this season, the Tigers have already had plenty of opportunities to mesh their new faces with the old. Auburn got to play exhibition games in Israel this summer against professional teams, where they won two of the three games.
Auburn’s overall talent and experience should be more than enough to not only win this season opener but to cover this 10-point spread as well.
My best bet: Auburn -10 (-110 at DraftKings)
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George Mason vs Auburn spread analysis
Last season, Auburn went 19-12 against the spread, but it went 9-4 ATS in non-conference games. They were even better in home non-conference games, going 6-1 ATS in such instances. They covered a similar season opener last year, winning by 23 points over Morehead State despite only a 14.5-point spread.
George Mason went 15-13-1 ATS last year, but they were excellent as underdogs. They went 7-1-2 ATS when given points and even covered a road game at Kansas, losing by nine as a 19.5-point road pup.
Broome and Flanigan are both marked as questionable with Broome nursing an ankle injury and Flanigan recovering from an undisclosed illness. If neither player can go, that may sway my opinion a little bit on this game, because the two of them are vital in replacing the production of Smith and Kessler from last year.
Even without those two though, I trust the Tigers’ guards to be able to score from the outside. George Mason ranked 298th in 3-point field goals allowed per game last year and Johnson and Green are certainly not shy to pull the trigger.
I believe the Tigers will score enough from range to put the Patriots away late and cover the spread.
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George Mason vs Auburn Over/Under analysis
George Mason loves the 3-point game and wants to play shootouts. Not only was this one of the worst teams in the country in allowing 3-pointers, but they ranked 24th in the country in 3-point field goals made per game.
The Patriots are going to play a quick pace and Auburn will be OK with that given all its experience at the guard position. Auburn did have some turnover issues last season, but the Patriots were not great at forcing turnovers themselves. This should be a clean game with a lot of shooting early in the shot clock.
Given the way that George Mason wants to play with the experienced lineup that Auburn will be putting on the floor, the Over seems like a safe bet. The Tigers averaged 78.2 points per game last year and they should be able to keep that average close this season.
I expect Auburn to be able to reach the 80s in this matchup, which puts the target score for George Mason as low as the mid-50s to hit the Over.
George Mason vs Auburn betting trend to know
The Over is 7-3 in the Tigers’ last 10 home games. Find more College basketball betting trends for George Mason vs. Auburn.
George Mason vs Auburn game info
|Location:||Neville Arena, Auburn, AL|
|Date:||Monday, November 7, 2022|
|tip-off:||8:00 pm ET|