NCAA Basketball Pick on Florida Gators on road at Alabama

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, January 27, 2015 2:49 PM GMT

Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015 2:49 PM GMT

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Tuesday.

 

A perennial NCAA powerhouse that is squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble this season seeks a big road win when those Florida Gators (10-9, 1-4 away) pay a visit to the Alabama Crimson Tide (13-6, 11-1 home) at Coleman Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, AL at 9:00 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPN.

The point spread at Bet365 has Florida as a tiny road favorite for this contest with the current line at -1 with odds of -105.


Lost Three Starters from Final Four Team
The Gators lost three starters from the team that won 30 straight games last season before losing to eventual National Champion Connecticut in the Final Four, but it was believed that they had enough talent returning to at least be the second best team in the SEC behind Kentucky. While the talent may indeed be there, the results have been erratic at 10-9 overall as 3-3 in the SEC, and the tournament bubble is not where Florida expected to be at this point of the year.

Now Alabama is 13-6, but the Crimson Tide are also 3-3 in the SEC and another bubble team. The Tide did win on Saturday after being the losing NCAA Basketball picks in their prior three games, but they were far from impressive while nipping an Auburn team ranked 145th overall on the Pomeroy Ratings 57-55 here at home in Tuscaloosa. Although both teams will probably remain on the bubble after this game, the winner will obviously be in better position.


Florida Still Ranked Higher on Pomeroy
And despite the overall records of these teams, the 10-9 Gators are still ranked 37th overall on Pomeroy, making them the only team in the Pomeroy Top 40 with more than seven losses. And that is despite being on a three-game losing streak right now after appearing to have turned the corner with a 3-0 start in SEC play. Comparatively, Alabama is ranked 45th.

So can Florida turn another corner here? Well, we believe it can considering its near-miss on the road at 34th ranked Mississippi Saturday where the Gators fell 72-71 but started to get back the three-point stroke they have become famous for going 12-for-20 from beyond the arc. Florida has been just average from three-point land this season at 34.7 percent vs. a national average of 34.0 percent, so hopefully Saturday’s performance signifies a return to normalcy.

One thing that Florida has done well this season is rebound, and they should have distinct edges on both ends of the court in that area here. That is because the Gators are above average in offensive rebounding percentage at 33.8 percent vs. a national average of 31.2 percent while Alabama is just 249th in defensive rebounding percentage. On the other end, the Crimson Tide are only 220th in offensive rebounding percentage at 29.7 percent and Florida is 70th defensively.


Three-Point Shooting Could Make Difference
As good as the record for Alabama is, the Tide still lack that one statement win although to their credit they did almost upset Wichita State in a narrow 53-52 loss in Wichita. Still the highest ranked Pomeroy team that Alabama has actually beaten to this point was 55th ranked Texas A&M 65-44 in the SEC opener, and frankly the Tide have not played that well since that contest.

And if Florida’s three-point shooting Saturday was not a mirage, then the Tide could be in trouble because besides the aforementioned rebounding edge Florida is expected to have, Alabama would not have the three-point shooting to keep up ranking just 250th nationally at 31.9 percent from long range.

Alabama’s shooting strength is closer to the basket where it ranks 16th in the country in two-point percentage at 54.3 percent, which is the best two-point percentage in the conference, but that could get almost offset here by the Gators’ two-point shooting which is currently at 51.0 percent, second best in the SEC.


Visitors Series
Finally, the Gators have not minded visiting Alabama in recent seasons going 4-0 ATS in their last four trips to Tuscaloosa. In fact this has been a Visitors’ Series in general with the road teams going 13-3-1 ATS in the last 17 meetings.

Look for that pattern to continue here as Florida looks to position itself for a late season run to get off of the NCAA Tournament bubble, beginning with an important win at Alabama on Tuesday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Florida -1 (-105)

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