NCAA Basketball Picks for Tennessee vs. Florida

Willie Bee

Saturday, January 25, 2014 6:24 AM UTC

Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014 6:24 AM UTC

Unbeaten in the Southeastern Conference and winners of 10 straight, Billy Donovan and the Florida Gators look to keep a good thing going at home Saturday afternoon when the Tennessee Volunteers pay a visit.

Free NCAA Basketball Picks of the Day for Saturday

Tip-off at O'Connell Center is set for a little past 4 PM (ET) with ESPN's cameras on hand to broadcast the clash. The No. 6 Gators went out as 9.5 point favorites before that number slid down a half-point. SBR's live college basketball odds will have the official total when it's released, but until that shows up, 133 is the scoreboard mark I'm working off.

Florida will be looking to snap a 3-game losing skid vs. the Vols who own a 72-52 advantage in the series all-time. The two schools met just once last season when Tennessee scored a 64-58 victory in Knoxville as 8 point home 'dogs.

The Gators are 32-25 at home against the Volunteers, but lost the last time Tennessee trekked to Gainesville, 75-70. Once again, the Volunteers defied the NCAA odds as 12.5 point road 'dogs to upset then-No. 8 Florida.

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Vols Hope To Pull Away From Middle Of SEC Pack

Cuonzo Martin, of course, would like to keep his perfect record intact vs. Florida since taking over at Tennessee (12-6 straight up, 8-6-2 against the spread) a couple of years back. Picking up a fourth consecutive win over the Gators will mean doing as the underdog for a fourth straight time.

It also means winning on the road, which hasn't been kind to the Vols during the 2013-14 campaign. Four of their six defeats have come away from Knoxville, the most recent last Saturday in Lexington where Tennessee fought the good fight but still fell short against Kentucky, 74-66. Volunteer backers had to sweat out eight Wildcat free throws in the final 43 seconds to skim a cover on an +8.5 point spread.

Tennessee returned home after that setback to score an 81-74 win over Arkansas, the final pushing a 7 point line. The Volunteers got a season-high 34 points from senior guard Jordan McRae, and needed every one of them to overcome a 63-55 deficit with 11½ minutes left in the game.

McRae leads the Vols, and is second in the SEC, with a 19.2 PPG average. Forwards Jarnell Stokes (13.4 ppg) and Jeronne Maymon (11.2 ppg) are the only other Tennessee ballers to average double-digits, and combine for nearly 18 rebounds per game.

Gators Out To Extend Home-Court Win Streak

The last time the Volunteers played at Florida (16-2 SU, 6-6-2 ATS), Tennessee stopped the Gators' 19-game home-court win streak. Billy Donovan's troops are now going to have to protect against UT doing that again with the Gators owning a 26-game string of dubyas at O'Connell Center heading into Saturday's matchup.

Florida's overall 10-game win streak hasn't been a boon for college basketball bettors. The Gators are just 3-5-1 vs. the spread in the nine lined games during the span, and coming off one of their worst nights from the field in Thursday's 68-62 victory at Alabama where Florida backers just missed a -6.5 point cover.

Donovan's squad converted on just 23-of-61 field goal attempts, and had to play much of the game without center Patric Young who got into early foul trouble. Michael Frazier II led Florida with 18 points, hitting 5-of-13 from beyond the arc to account for his all of his shots from the field.

Tennessee plus the points is a tempting play, but my confidence is running much higher on this game falling short of the total. Play the Vols and Gators to go 'under' the mark for my free college basketball pick.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Tennessee-Florida Under 133

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