The Florida Gators have momentum heading into the SEC Tournament, but they have a tough test against the Missouri Tigers on Wednesday. What are the best picks? What are the best sportsbooks?
Missouri Tigers vs. Florida Gators
Wednesday, March 03, 2021 – 06:30 PM EST at Exactech Arena
Florida had all sorts of hype heading into this season, but they have failed to live up to it. That being said, they have all but clinched their birth in the NCAA Tournament. With a recent win streak, the Gators will likely be favored in the first round of the postseason.
To continue the streak, they must beat Missouri. The Tigers started conference play off strong, but things have fallen apart in recent weeks. While they are still expected to make the postseason, they might play themselves out of the NCAA Tournament due to some poor performances in recent weeks.
This upcoming game will be pivotal as both teams need some momentum before the SEC Tournament. With only a few games left in the regular season, seeding matters more than ever.
Due to the win streak and the home-court advantage, NCAAB odds favor Florida by 4 points. Here are keys for each team and a prediction.
Keys for Florida to Cover
For a team that is so efficient inside the three-point line, Florida struggles to get to the line. They need to focus on this against Missouri. At home, this should be the easiest way to get free points and keep momentum. They are efficient once they get to the line, but they need to attack and force contact in the paint.
Another weakness for Florida is the ability to make the extra pass. They rely on isolations and winning without assists. That might work here and there, but the most stable offense has synergy, and that is something the Gators lack.
Florida’s defense is solid, but they can’t rely on that to win them a game. Their goal should be to score 70 points. If they reach that clip, they should feel comfortable about their odds to win the game.
To cover the spread posted by betting sites, Florida needs to push tempo when they have momentum. With their crowd, they should be able to turn a few Missouri mistakes into major point swings. This is always crucial at home, but it matters even more against the Tigers.
Keys for Missouri to Upset
The Tigers have stumbled offensively in recent games, but the worst performance came against Ole Miss in their last matchup. They only managed to score 53 points despite scoring 93 in their previous game against South Carolina.
So, why can’t the Tigers fix this problem? They struggle to dictate the tempo in any game. If the other team slows it down, they can’t speed it up. Even in high-scoring wins, their opponents run up the score as well. They are a victim to the opponent, and that is not a good way to win basketball games.
Missouri needs a quick start in this one for the sake of confidence. After such a bad offensive performance, it can be disheartening to see the ball continue to miss the mark. If they can just see themselves score early, their confidence will keep this close for at least a half.
They also need to limit their own mistakes. Missouri is a terrible free throw team. They struggle with fouling too often, and they lose easy rebounds. These aren’t things that only elite teams can do well. If they can just clean up the mistakes, they might be able to pull off the upset.
So, What’s the Best Pick?
Missouri has what it takes to win this game, and they’ve proven that against other teams earlier in the year. However, they have lost all momentum in recent weeks. Despite the desperate need to add a win to the resume, they won’t be able to do so against the improving Florida Gators.
So, what about the spread? There’s some value here. Some online bookies have bumped the spread, but Florida -3.5 feels like the way to go. They have better leadership, and they’re playing at home. The only way Missouri keeps this close is if they can finally learn how to dictate the pace of this game. Since they haven’t shown the ability to do that in recent weeks, I’m taking the Gators to cover.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.