It's a lighter than usual college basketball betting card for a Tuesday, yet still a big night for the SEC where the LSU Tigers are part of the action and on the road against the Florida Gators.
Just when it looked like the Florida Gators were coming around and about to realize some of the preseason potential, they drop a very winnable game over the weekend at Georgia.
Billy Donovan's crew now looks to once again kick-start what has otherwise been a disappointing season with a Tuesday visit from the LSU Tigers. A shorter than normal schedule is in store for college basketball bettors due to the annual State of the Union speech, or what I like to call More Empty Promises & Lies. Those of us not interested in listening to the garbage can tune in ESPN at 7 PM (ET) to catch this game.
SBR's live NCAA basketball odds have Florida -10, the total still to be released.
There's a logjam developing behind Kentucky in the SEC standings, the Gators and Tigers two of nine teams stuffed within a game of each other in the race to see who finishes second behind the No. 1 Wildcats. Tuesday's tilt is the 104th meeting between LSU and UF, the Tigers owning a 60-43 advantage in the series that has swung in the Gators' direction the last decade or so.
Florida won last season's only meeting in Gainesville, 79-61, covering a 12 point line in a contest that just slipped past a 137 point total. It was the Gators' 6th-straight win over the Tigers, their backers covering four of those half-dozen victories. The clubs will meet again this season in Baton Rouge on Feb. 21.
Poor 2nd Half Costs Tigers Against Texas A&M
If RPI was the only factor in putting together a Field of 68 for the NCAA Tournament, Louisiana State (13-4 straight up, 7-7-2 against the spread) would be a lock while the Gators were relegated to a 16-seed play-in game at best. The Tigers roared into the SEC portion of their schedule with 8-straight wins, including taking down West Virginia on the road, but have since dropped two of four league encounters.
The latest defeat was Saturday at home to Texas A&M, 67-64. Favored by 5, the Tigers watched a 13-point lead melt away thanks to turnovers and a connecting on just nine of 31 field goal tries in the second half.
The 64 points were LSU's fewest since logging only 61 twice during the Paradise Jam last November, both of those losses to Old Dominion and Clemson. The only other time since then that the Tigers didn't reach 70 was in the conference opener at Missouri, also a defeat.
Gators Hope To Start New Conference Streak
Florida (10-7 SU, 6-8-2 ATS) never had a lead to blow in its matchup with Georgia. The Bulldogs raced to a 12-zip lead and held that same margin at the final buzzer, the 73-61 victory marking the first time the Gators had lost an SEC contest since the conference championship in March 2013.
Three straight wins and covers were how the Gators began their league slate, but they never got close to beating the -2 that college basketball oddsmakers on them in Athens. Florida shot 50% for the game, but failed to contest Georgia on defense and committed one silly foul after another.
It was another victory for bettors playing the 'over' in games involving the Gators, the 6th-straight game to sail past the total. The Tigers check into this match at 2-1-1 O/U/P on the conference slate.
Florida does have more big bodies to put on the floor than LSU, but for the Gators to wear the Tigers down inside, it will mean getting more quality minutes from both Chris Walker and Jon Horford. The 'over' is what really interests me in this game, but I'm going to take the points while they're still in double digits, playing the Bayou Bengals for my free NCAA Basketball pick.
Free College Basketball Pick: LSU +10 at Pinnacle Sports
Season: 22-26 (-6.60)