Can Yale, at home, keep this one close? Or will Florida just swat the 'Dogs away, like they've done to so many other foes already this year? And which way might this game fall along the college basketball betting lines?
Last week we twice lost college basketball bets by one point. Saturday we won two games by a total of a point and a half. Such are the maddening machinations of making NCAA basketball picks.
This Week's Hoops Betting Record: 3-1
Gators-Bulldogs Betting Lines
Of the NCAA Basketball odds shops that we sampled Sunday morning, most opened this game with Florida favored by 20.5 points, the total set at 128. And both those numbers had held steady in the early betting.
Gators-Bulldogs Game Preview
Yale returned three starters this season from a team that won 19 games last year. But the two guys they lost averaged 30 and 15 last year, so there was big chunk of production to be replaced. So far, the Bulldogs have struggled in that effort.
Last year Yale started 10-4 through its non-conference slate; this year, they're about the exact opposite. The 'Dogs opened 0-3 this year, then went through a 4-4 stretch, then lost three more in a row. But their last time out, Friday night, they won at Holy Cross 61-54, despite shooting just 32 percent from the floor.
Actually, over its last four games, Yale has covered the spread as 11-point underdogs vs. Nevada, 21-point dogs vs. St. Mary's and 18-point dogs vs. Iowa State, and got that win over the Crusaders.
On the heavy side of this match-up Florida also returned three starters this season, from a team that got to the regional finals of the NCAA tournament. The Gators then started this season 7-0, with blow-out victories over, among others, Wisconsin, Marquette and Florida State.
Florida then lost a tough game out at Arizona 65-64, rebounded to pound Southeastern Louisiana, but then got upset at Kansas State 67-61.
Last time out, one week ago, the Gators beat Air Force 78-61. But in allowing the Falcons to hit nine of 20 shots from beyond the arc Florida didn't pull away until the second half, and couldn't quite cover the spread as 18-point chalk.
Gators-Bulldogs Recent History
These teams met on New Year's Eve last season, Florida coming away with a 90-70 victory in Gainesville. That game pushed the spread, with the Gators favored by 20 points.
For Sunday, with a better Florida team and a weaker Yale outfit, the Gators are favored by almost exactly the same amount, 20.5 points.
Gators-Bulldogs, Statistically Speaking
Playing what Sagarin at USATodaySports ranks as the 201st-toughest schedule in college basketball so far this season Yale has shot 40 percent from the floor, 32 percent from the 3-point line and 71 percent from the FT line.
Defensively the Bulldogs are allowing opponents to shoot 44 percent, and out-rebounding foes by about two per game.
Florida, playing Sagarin's No. 8 toughest schedule, has shot 47 percent from the floor, 36 percent from long range and 71 percent from the line. At the other end of the court, the Gators are holding foes to just 36 percent shooting, and out-boarding them by about seven per game.
Gators-Bulldogs Betting Trends
Florida games have averaged just 125 total points this season, as the Gators have held opponents to 52 PPG.
Yale games have averaged 133 points.
Florida is 0-3 ATS over its last three lined games.
The Bulldogs are 3-0 ATS over their last three lined games.
Gators-Bulldogs Free Pick
Florida started hot-hot, cooled just a bit with a couple of recent losses, but is still a very dangerous team. The Gators should have enough not just to win this game but cover the big number against a much weaker Yale team. Take Florida at the -20.5 points offered at 5Dimes.
NCAA Basketball Picks: Florida -20.5 at 5Dimes