With probably the whole world watching to see if they’ll be making history, the undefeated No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats will be playing arguably the biggest game of their life this Saturday against the Florida Gators. The Wildcats will be hoping to become the first team in over 30 years to go the entire NCAA basketball regular season without suffering any loss. Expectedly, the NCAAB odds will be super-busy as bettors seek not only to cash in from this highly-staked game, but also become a part of the millions of people that will be (hopefully) making with the Wildcats, or witnessing Kentucky’s dreams crash ago-damn-nizingly close to the finish line.
Want to be part of this auspicious betting occasion? Check out the preview below for a guide on how the two teams compare against each other, plus free picks in case you need to know which side presents you the best odds of being a winner in the game’s NCAAB lines.
Gators vs. Kentucky NCAAB Odds Preview and Game Analysis
Venue: Rupp Arena, Lexington, Kentucky
Date: Saturday, March 7, 2015
Time: 2:00 PM ET
Spread: Kentucky -15
After losing seven of their last seven games between February 3rd and February 24th, the Gators seemingly figured their mistakes and fixed them, winning their last two straight games—a 66-49 victory over Tennessee on February 28th and the recent 66-62 win over Texas A&M this Tuesday (March 3rd). Saturday’s game is therefore a great opportunity for the Gators (15-15, 8-9 in SEC) to make it to the National Invitational Tournament, while also stopping Kentucky from going unbeaten in the regular season, something no team has successfully done so far.
Meanwhile, winning has been the consistent story for the Wildcats, who own a perfect 17-0 conference record in the SEC and a flawless 30-0 overall record for the entire season. Leading their shot at history-making this Saturday, as has been the case most season, will be Aaron Harrison (Kentucky’s top scorer with 11.3 PPG), his twin brother Andrew Harrison (team-best 3.9 assists), and the ever-dazzling trio of Devin Booker (11.0 PPG), Karl-Anthony Towns (team-best 6.5 RPG) and Willie Cauley-Stein (6.4 RPG).
Though the Wildcats’ main strength has been their well-blended mean defense (No. 2 in the league allowing just 53.5 PPG) and solid attack (74.9 PPG scoring), their biggest asset is the ability of everyone in the team to seamlessly score and defend interchangeably. For instance, in Kentucky’s 72-64 win over Georgia on Tuesday, it is the rebounding specialist Towns who came up big for the Wildcats, scoring a game-high 19 points 7 rebounds to save his team from blushes of an upset. Also, the likes of Tyler Ulis have been very important to the team, often putting up decent numbers off the bench.
It will therefore be a daunting task for Florida to specifically pin-point Kentucky’s go-to guy as all the players are very talented on both sides of the court. Even so, the Gators equally have talented players who are well-capable of holding their own.
When the two teams met on February 7th, the Gators led the game by as many as nine points, but they could not finish off the Wildcats, which gave Kentucky a chance to come back into the game and sneak away with a 68-61 victory. On that day, Dorian Finney-Smith (Florida’s second-best scorer with 13.1 PPG and a team-best 6.0 RPG) led his team with 16 points and five boards, while Kasey Hill, Eli Carter, and Michael Frazier II also scored in double figures, racking up 12, 11, and 10 points respectively. Frazier II, who is Florida’s leading scorer with 13.2 PPG, should thus be able to rally up his teammates for another solid game, even if they’ll be playing on the road.
The secret to doing keeping Kentucky contained, and within striking distance, will be to play in the same way they’ve done in their last two games—tightening up their defense and keeping the opponent pressured to force turnovers, and then using the ball from such opportunities to look for offensive scores. After Kentucky coughed up eight steals in their first meeting and missing most of its threes in February due to Florida’s meanness in defense, implementing a similar strategy is highly likely to work to their favor, and give them a chance to upset their hosts.
Florida vs Kentucky Key Betting Trends
• Florida is 5-2 ATS in its last seven games against Kentucky
• Kentucky is 4-4 ATS in its last eight SEC games at home
• Kentucky is 6-4 SU and 5-5 ATS in its last 10 games against Florida
• Florida is 0-4 SU and 1-3 ATS in its last four road games
• Kentucky is 5-0 SU and 3-2 ATS in its last five home games
• The total has gone UNDER in three of the last five games between Florida and Kentucky
• The total has gone OVER in three of the last five Florida games
• The total has gone OVER in four of the last five Kentucky games
My Prediction and Pick
Kentucky rolls to a win plus cover in spite of Florida’s persistent pressure. A shootout looks to be in the books, particularly early in the game, so a high scoring affair could be in the offing for an OVER game total.