SEC College Basketball Betting Preview: #8 Kentucky Wildcats at #24 Florida Gators

#8 Kentucky Wildcats at #24 Florida Gators
Saturday, February 4, 2017, 8:15 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Stephen F. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, Florida
Opening Line: Florida -1
Current Line: Florida -2 1/2
Opening Total: 160
Current Total: 160 1/2
Current Money Line: Florida -140 / Kentucky +120
Current Money Line: Florida -140 / Kentucky +120

America East Tournament Preview
Florida is slight home favorite against Kentucky Saturday in SEC action.

The 18-4 Kentucky Wildcats travel to the rival 17-5 Florida Gators Saturday. Kentucky is tied for first in the SEC with South Carolina at 8-1. Florida is a game behind at 7-2. Kentucky leads the series 99-37, including 35-24 in Gainesville. The Wildcats have won five straight games in the series including 88-79 in Gainesville last March. The two teams will play again in Lexington February 25.

Kentucky is coached by John Calipari. Kentucky has home losses to UCLA and Kansas, plus road losses to Louisville and Tennessee. The Wildcats have neutral site wins over Michigan State in New York City, Arizona State in the Bahamas, Hofstra in Brooklyn, and North Carolina in Las Vegas. Kentucky has home wins over Stephen F. Austin, Duquesne, Cleveland State, Valparaiso, Texas A&M, Arkansas, Auburn, South Carolina and Georgia 90-81 in overtime last Tuesday. The Wildcats have road wins over Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State. Kentucky is 12-10 ATS and the total is 14-8 this season. The Wildcats were 15.5 point favorites against Georgia and the total was 153.

Florida is coached by Mike White. The Gators have neutral site losses to Gonzaga in Orlando and Duke in New York City, road losses at Florida State and South Carolina, plus a home loss to Vanderbilt. Florida has won three straight games all by at least 32 points. The Gators have neutral site wins over Seton Hall and Miami in Orlando, Belmont in Tampa, and Charlotte in Sunrise, FL. Florida has home wins over Little Rock, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Georgia and Missouri 93-54 Thursday night. The Gators have road wins over Arkansas, Alabama, LSU and Oklahoma. The Gators are 12-8 ATS and the total is 11-9 this season. Florida was a 20 point favorite against Missouri and the total was 141.

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Kentucky is outscoring teams 91-73 this season. Kentucky is #3 in scoring nationally. The Wildcats are shooting 49.1% from the field and 35.8% from 3 point range. The Wildcats are #15 in field goal percentage. Kentucky makes 69.2% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 42.4% from the field and 31.3% from three point range. The Wildcats are #36 in three point defense nationally. Kentucky averages 40.9 rebounds per game and opponents average 31.8. Kentucky is #10 in rebounding nationally. The Wildcats average 17.5 assists, 11.9 turnovers, 6.3 steals and 6 blocks per game. Opponents average 11.6 assists, 15.7 turnovers, 5 steals and 3.1 blocks per game.

Malik Monk averages 22.4 points, 2.4  rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.3 steals per game. De’Aaron Fox  averages 15.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1.6 steals per game. He is probable with an illness. Isaiah Briscoe averages 14.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. Edrice Adebayo averages 13.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. Derek Willis averages 7.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Mychal Mulder and Sacha Killeya-Jones are both probable with an illness.

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Florida is outscoring teams  79-66 this season. The Gators are shooting 45.5% from the field and 36% from three point range. Florida makes 72% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 41.5% from the field and 31.6% from three point range. The Gators average 36.9 rebounds per game and opponents average 30.9 per game. The Gators average 12.9 assists, 11.5 turnovers, 8 steals and 5.1 blocks. Opponents average 9.5 assists, 15.8 turnovers, 5.4 steals and 2.8 blocks per game.

KeVaughn Allen averages 13.6 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Canyon Barry averages 12.8 points and 3.4 rebounds per game.  Devin Robinson averages 11.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.  averages 11.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game. Kasey Hill averages 9.4 points, 2.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.9 steals per game. John Egbunu averages 7.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game. Keith Stone is questionable with an ear infection. Four other players will get time in the rotation. Dontay Bassett is out for the season with a foot injury.

Kentucky is 1-6 ATS against teams with winning records, and overall, 1-5 against SEC teams, 1-4 after failing to cover, after a straight up win, in road games and against teams with winning home records. Kentucky is 4-0 ATS against Florida recently and the Wildcats were favored in each of those contests.

Florida is 4-0 ATS after a straight up win by 20 points or more, 10-1 as favorite of 6.5 points or less, including 4-1 at home, 17-5 as a favorite including 9-3 as a home favorite, 5-2 after scoring more than 90 points, and after a cover, and 9-4 at home. The under is 10-4 in this series. The home team is 4-1 ATS in the series recently.

Both teams like to run, so this should be a high scoring game. Kentucky is a much better rebounding team. I think this will be a close game, but I like Kentucky to win and stay in first place in the SEC.

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