2020 Florida Gators NCAA Basketball National Championship Odds with Predictions
The Florida Gators didn't exactly fall off a cliff after their last Final Four appearance in 2014, but they haven't been living up to the expectations of a program that is only a dozen years removed from consecutive national titles, either. They missed the tournament entirely in 2015 and 2106, made the Elite Eight in 2017, and then fell in the second round the last two years. They are a program that wants to be better than that. And this year they have the ingredients in place to get back to where they like being. They have three returning starters, perhaps the best transfer in the country, and their best recruiting class since at least 2013. It all shapes up for Mike White to have the best year of his career in his fifth season at Florida. In fact, if he doesn't have his best career year this year, it would qualify as a bit of a disappointment.
The team returns three sophomore starters who are all poised to take big steps forward this year. Point guard Andrew Nembhard, who is Canadian, so we know he's good, flirted with the draft last year, but came back for another year. He needs to work on his offensive game, but there is a lot to like. His partner in the backcourt, Noah Locke, started out great last year, but faded a little as the season went along, but he still set a Florida freshman record with 81 three-pointers. And forward Keyontae Johnson was slow to get rolling last year but was the team's best player over the last few weeks of the season. Having those three to build around, along with junior Dontay Bassett, who is useful off the bench, is a very solid foundation to build around.
Florida Gators Additions/Losses
The team had a lot of turnover - four graduations, five transfers, and another departure - but there is nothing worth losing sleep over. There wasn't a drafted player among the group, and the big pieces are all back.
The player who will have the most immediate impact of the newcomers is likely Kerry Blackshear Jr., a grad transfer from Virginia Tech who has one year of eligibility. You don't get to add a guy who had 15 points and 7.5 rebounds in a major conference too often, and he's a big man who perfectly fills a need the team has had for two long. It's a move that really helps both player and team.
The recruiting class was strong, with the first two McDonald's All-Americans the program has added since 2013. Scottie Lewis was the seventh-ranked recruit and the top small forward in the country. He can earn himself as much playing time as he is capable of filling right out of the gate. Point guard Tre Mann is the second five-star. He's much more naturally offensive than Nembhard and provides all sorts of options in the backcourt. They also added point guard Ques Glover and big men Omar Payne and Jason Jitoboh, but their impact likely won't be as immediate. They will have opportunities, though, since the roster returns only the four guys who played last year, so there are plenty of open minutes up for the taking.
Florida Gators Schedule
Compared to many of the other Top 10 teams, the Gators have a very soft nonconference schedule. They open at home with North Florida, followed by a Florida State team likely heading for a long year. Their pre-season tournament is the Charleston Classic, in which their only potential ranked opponent is No. 19 Xavier. And they don't face another scary game before Christmas. The downside of a soft nonconference schedule, though, is that you have little margin for error - voters will look down on any loss you do have. The SEC schedule is fairly soft, too. The conference is not at all deep this year, and their two games against conference power Kentucky don't come until February 22 and March 7 when they should have all of their kinks worked out. If this team can come together with their new roster, then they are going to win a lot of games. And their record won't mean much until they can prove themselves in the postseason.
Florida Gators Futures Odds and Trends
The Gators are at +1600 to win the national title, which has them tied with defending champions Virginia and North Carolina as the seventh choice. They are the second choice to win the SEC at +450, paying exactly twice as much as Kentucky at +225. The season win total is set at 28, but bettors are not buying it - the under is heavily favored at-150, with the over at +115. Blackshear is the eighth choice to win National Player of the Year honors at +1000.
The team was just 20-16 straight up last year, and they didn't outshine that for bettors, going a pretty dismal 17-19 ATS. They were much more useful on the totals, though, going under a highly profitable 25 times in 36 tries.
Florida Gators Predictions
I like the roster overhaul, and given the schedule I am more optimistic than some seem to be. I would happily take a shot at the over given the price - they could have as few as two games in which they aren't favored or close to it all year. Their SEC fate will come down to how well they stack up against Kentucky, but they are more than good enough to handle everything else they could face if the roster comes together. I'm fairly bullish on the squad.
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