(16-5, 8-8 ATS)
(17-5, 7-11 ATS)
Arguably the two best contenders for the NCAA Tournament in the SEC are going to be squaring off in the Sunshine State on Saturday night, as the Florida Gators meet up with the Kentucky Wildcats in college basketball betting action.
The Wildcats might be ranked No. 11 in the country, but they know that they are dropping out of the Top 15, especially if they lose this one on Saturday. Going into Rupp Arena is a tremendous challenge for all of the teams that have come across the youthful Wildcats this year, but they are only 3-4 on the road to show for their work. Kentucky actually has only won one game outside of the Bluegrass State since before Thanksgiving, and the last legitimate road game, save the one at the South Carolina Gamecocks, was at the Portland Pilots on November 19th. Needless to say, Terrence Jones, Brandon Knight and company really have their work cut out for them against one of the better teams from the conference. Jones is inevitably going to be one of the top picks in next year’s NBA Draft if he decides to come out. He is averaging 17.9 points and 9.0 rebounds per game this year, and it really feels like he is a double-double machine. Knight is going to be a top pick as well. He is averaging 17.2 points per game and is one of the top passers in the conference with 79 helpers.
The Gators don’t quite have the feel of a Final Four team, but this is a squad that has a great chance of winning the SEC, which is usually key for the NCAA Tournament. Head Coach Billy Donovan doesn’t have a particularly deep team once again this year, but he does have a fantastic first six men like he did a season ago when his team snuck into the dance. A 2-8 ATS mark is going to have to be improved this season at home, but the O’Connell Center is going to have to become a house of horrors for the opposition to keep up in first place in the SEC. Erving Walker is the top scorer on the squad at 14.5 points per game this year, but he is closely followed by Kenny Boynton at 13.0 points per game. Keep an eye on Chandler Parsons, the do it all from Lake Howell High School. He scored 10.7 points per game this year, but he is more importantly the team’s leading rebounder at 7.5 per game and the leading assist man with 77 in 22 games.
UF is going to be getting a lot of respect in this one from the oddsmakers, but we’re not so sure that it is all that justified. Kentucky is just the superior team, and the point is going to come in which it breaks this road hex. This just might be Head Coach John Calipari’s lucky day.
College Basketball Free Pick: Kentucky Wildcats