The Florida Gators may be the country’s new number one team, but they remain a tough bet to back in my college basketball expert picks. They’re coming off a Tuesday night game where they nearly lost to the Vanderbilt Commodores, albeit on the road, by a score of 57-54. The Gators are now 3-5 ATS through the month of February. Is there anything they can do to earn your trust?
Where Florida excels is in front court domination. I know that sounds like something you’d hear on a Saturday morning wrestling commercial, but those are the facts. When the Gators can overwhelm you on the boards, and use their overall depth up front to punish you for sixty minutes they usually cover.
That won’t be so easy against LSU, a team that crashes the boards as well as anyone else in the country. They haven’t been a mainstay in my college basketball picks because they’re a horrifyingly bad cover team, with a strange record of 5-5 SU and 3-5-2 ATS in their last 10 games. It shouldn’t shock anyone that LSU is also a paltry 2-5-2 ATS on the road this season. None of this sounds appealing, right?
The x-factor in this game will be Johnny O’Bryant III, LSU’s destructive, 6-foot-9 and 256 pound forward who averages 15.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. O’Bryant and the Tigers just went toe-to-toe with Julius Randle and Kentucky in a 76-77 loss in overtime. O’Bryant is fighting to make a name for himself as a junior on a bad team in a stacked draft class. There’s no better place for him to prove his worth than by giving Patric Young and Florida all they can handle.
The hardest part about leveraging Florida in my NCAAB expert pick isn’t just the matchup – its’ their offence. They’ve won their last three games by just 4.0 points on average, and that includes teams that should be relative cake walks like Vanderbilt and Auburn. Florida relies on defensive intimidation, but if you have a larger roster like LSU, you can get past them quite frequently. The Gators allow the eighth fewest points in the country with 58.6 points against on average, but are nowhere near the type of scoring juggernaut you need to be in order to be a comfortable college basketball betting asset.
LSU shouldn’t be an attractive pick to bet on here, but with a huge spread and O’Bryant finding all the motivation he needs to make an impact on this game, LSU should be able to give Florida a run for their money. I love the Tigers to cover in this game, even if I know that Florida will win straight up.