Florida at Tennessee Picks and NCAA Basketball Odds
by Dave Schwab - 2/26/2013
The Florida Gators will try and move one step closer to wrapping up the SEC regular season title when they face the Tennessee Volunteers this Tuesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena. Tip off for this conference clash is scheduled for 9 p.m. (ET), and the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.
The Gators bounced back from a tough three-point loss to Missouri last Tuesday as 4.5-point road favorites with a sound 71-54 thrashing of Arkansas as 17.5-point home favorites this past Saturday. Florida is 22-4 straight up on the year, but, after failing to cover in five of its last seven games, it is 14-9 against the spread.
Tennessee has won its last five SEC games both SU and ATS to improve to 8-6 SU in conference play. It is 16-10 SU on the year and 14-10 ATS. The total has now gone “over” in its last three home games and in four of its last six games overall.
Florida at Tennessee Betting Storylines
Florida remains a legitimate contender to lock up a No.1 seed for this year’s NCAA Tournament, but it will most likely have to win out in its last four conference games against a watered-down SEC. Some of its bench depth has been depleted with injuries to both Michael Frazier II and Will Yeguete. Frazier remains questionable with a head injury, but Yeguete is out until mid-March after undergoing minor knee surgery. The top scorers on the team have been Mike Rosario and Kenny Boynton with 13 points a game each. Erik Murphy is averaging 12.5 points, and Patric Young is the fourth player scoring in double figures with 10.3 a game.
Overall, the Gators are averaging 73.7 points a game while shooting a rock-solid 49.2 percent from the field. They are holding opponents to just 53.1 points overall, and this average only goes to 55.8 points a game on the road. Florida is pulling down an average of 35.3 rebounds with Young leading the way with 6.5 a game.
The Volunteers are averaging just 66.4 points a game this season, but they have been able to ramp things up over the past three games with 82 points or more in each. It is highly doubtful they will be able to reproduce that kind of effort against the Gators, but look for Jordan McRae, Jarnell Stokes and Trae Golden to do their best as the top three scorers on the team. McRae remains the best pure shooter in hitting 43.3 percent of his shots from the field and 34.5 percent from three-point range while averaging a team-high 14.9 points a game.
Defensively, the Volunteers are allowing an average of 62.9 points a game at home this season where they are 11-3 SU and 6-6 ATS. They should have a slight advantage under the boards against Florida with an average of 36.7 rebounds. Stokes leads the team in that department with nine a game.
Florida at Tennessee Betting Odds and Trends
Florida has been opened by BetOnline as an 8.5-point road favorite over the Volunteers with the totals line at 123.5.
The Gators are 2-5 ATS in their last seven conference games but a healthy 6-2 ATS in their last eight games on the road. The total has stayed “under” in six of their last eight Tuesday games.
The Volunteers are 2-7 ATS in their last nine home games against a team with a winning record on the road but 4-0 ATS in their last four games against a team that has a winning record overall. The total has gone over in five of their last seven road games.
The underdog has covered in four of the last five meetings, and the total has gone over in four of the last six games. Florida is 3-8 ATS in its last 11 trips to Tennessee.
Florida at Tennessee Picks and Betting Predictions
Florida fully realizes these are the kind of games it has to win to remain planted in the Top 5, but it is going to have a battle on its hand as the Volunteers appear to be peaking at just the right time. The talent gap is still wide enough for the Gators to get out of Thompson-Boling Arena with a SU win, but the play is on the Volunteers to cover with the 8.5 points.
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