Basketball Betting – #14 Kentucky Slightly Favored in SEC Showdown Over #3 Florida
Two of the SEC’s best teams will clash in a game that brings some of the nation’s best talent on the floor, along with a contrast in terms of experience, as the Kentucky Wildcats play host to the Florida Gators in college basketball betting action that is slated to get underway at 9 PM ET at the Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY.
Kentucky comes into this game with a straight-up record of 19-5 and a mark of 13-8-1 against the basketball pointspread. Florida comes in at 22-2 straight-up and the Gators are 9-8-3 versus the points.
The Wildcats were an early choice for national championship consideration, but they are not even the top dog in the SEC at this time. UK is #13 in the USA Today coaches poll and #14 in the Associated Press rankings. Florida is ranked third by the AP and #4 by the USA Today, and the Gators are currently on a 16-game winning streak.
Kentucky Wildcats -2
Florida Gators +2
There was much fanfare about the arrival of a number of blue-chip freshmen at the Lexington campus, but of course that is what we hear every year, it seems, when John Calipari. the master recruiter, finishing up his pitches.
The prize catch was Julius Randle, who was considered to be one of the top three players in the country (along with Andrew Wiggins of Kansas and Jabari Parker of Duke), but there were other outstanding recruits to be had, including guards Aaron and Andrew Harrison, forward James Young and center Dakari Johnson. There were plenty of basketball betting analysts who predicted that with these guys, and what Kentucky had left over, a national championship was not a bad bet. In fact, this team was ranked #1 in the nation by the pre-season polls.
Randle is the leading scorer (15.8 ppg) and has pulled down just south of ten rebounds per contest; the Harrison brothers and Young are also among the double-digit scorers Kentucky puts out on the floor. But there is a sizable presence underneath, with two of the gems from last year’s recruiting crop – center Willie Cauley-Stein and forward Alex Poythress, who get a lot of the dirty work done. Stein has blocked three shots a game, so it isn’t going to be so easy for Florida in the paint.
Basketball bettors know there are not really any secrets between these SEC giants, and the Kentucky coach has often been able to harness his talent, albeit young, to bring forth an extra effort against this foe. Since Calipari took over as Kentucky’s coach, he has fashioned an 8-2 straight-up record against Billy Donovan.
Like one would have out of any group of youngsters who have never played with each other, the Wildcats have been prone to mistakes and don’t always look out for each other on the defensive end of the floor. There is a vast difference in terms of experience, as the Gators have four seniors in their rotation. One of those seniors is point guard Scottie Wilbekin, who is going to harass whoever it is that has the basketball in Kentucky’s backcourt at any given time. There is going to have to be a lot of poise on the part of the youngsters.
VietBet patrons are well aware that Kentucky has lost to good teams along the way. Of course, there was the early defeat at the hands of Michigan State, and a loss to North Carolina in non-conference play as well. Baylor has faded since defeating the Wildcats 67-62 on December 6. Arkansas may be a lousy road team, but they do know how to win in Fayetteville. The one that really stings is an 87-82 loss at Baton Rouge against LSU. But there is a 22-game winning streak in Lexington, and the ‘Cats have also beaten Donovan and the Gators (who have lost only to capable Wisconsin and UConn teams) six straight times on this home floor.
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