NCAA Basketball Picks: Florida vs. Connecticut

Jeff Grant

Monday, December 2, 2013 2:46 PM GMT

Monday, Dec. 2, 2013 2:46 PM GMT

The Florida Gators are one of the best defensive teams in the country, as they prepare to face an offensive-minded Connecticut Huskies’ squad Monday night.

Let’s take a closer look at the college basketball betting lines for this non-conference matchup at Gampel Pavilion, with the opening tip scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

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Playing solid basketball

Florida has put together a five-game winning streak since suffering its only loss of the season, which includes a 67-66 victory over the Florida State Seminoles as 8.5-point home favorites last Friday, while going UNDER the betting total of 137.5.

The Gators are being led on the offensive end by senior forward Casey Prather, who is averaging 19.1 points per game after scoring just 3.1 a contest during his first three years in Gainesville.  

Winning at home

Connecticut has a perfect 7-0 record to start the 2013 campaign, with all four home victories coming by a double-digit margin, including a 76-66 win over Loyola Maryland last Tuesday.

The Huskies are getting tremendous all-around production by senior guard Shabazz Napier, who is averaging 15.0 points, 7.7 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game.

Underdog situation

College basketball handicappers need to take a long look at the Gators, as they’ve gone 4-3-1 ATS as an underdog the last two-plus seasons, especially since they were listed at a similar price in a 59-53 road defeat to the Wisconsin Badgers on Nov. 12.

It’s important to point out that the program has lost its last four non-conference road games against ranked opponents.

Bench and three-point shooting

The Huskies are receiving 24.9 points per game from their bench, which is far different than the unit’s top performance of 25 in a contest all of last season.

Connecticut is also knocking down 44.7 percent of its shots from beyond the arc, while holding foes to 28.7 in that important statistical category.

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Gators for their college basketball picks, as they’ve averaged 14.0 offensive boards over their current winning streak, while the Huskies are allowing 14.7 on the season.

College Basketball Pick:  Florida Gators +5.5

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