Two Picks Better Than One as Virginia Visits Florida State in ACC Tilt

Rainman M.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018 3:18 PM UTC

Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018 3:18 PM UTC

Florida State (17-6) hosts No. 2 Virginia (22-1) tonight at 7 ET. The game total is set at 132 points and the visitors are favored by three, but should bettors continue to back the Cavaliers on the road?

Wednesday College Basketball: Virginia vs. Florida StateFree NCAAB Picks: Under 132 and Virginia -3Best Line Offered: Heritage

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Second-ranked Virginia is rolling with 14 straight wins and a 6-0-1 ATS run, thanks especially to its top-ranked defense that has continued its dominant form into conference play. Virginia ranks in the top 25 in percentage of turnovers forced, opposing two- and three-point percentage and half-court defense.

Virginia doesn't score much because of its grinding offensive tempo, but it ranks 34th in offensive efficiency.

Shooting guard Kyle Guy leads the Cavaliers with 15.5 points per game. Guy is a lethal shooter who thrives off of screens. As the sophomore gets more playing time, he is becoming a better defender. Guy ranks 298th in steal percentage.

Ty Jerome and Devon Hall are Virginia's guards who rank in the top 200 in three-point shooting percentage. Hall, like Guy, ranks in the top 200 in turnover rate. Jerome is building a reputation for draining clutch shots on the road, including this late three that helped UVA seal the deal at Duke:

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Power forward Isaiah Wilkins is, alongside Guy and Jerome, one of three Cavs who average at least a steal per game. Wilkins and center Jack Salt are also UVA's two most reliable forces inside. Wilkins leads the team with 6.7 rebounds per game, and he and Salt rank in the top 200 in block percentage. Salt, along with rising freshman forward De'Andre Hunter, rank in the top 200 in two-point shooting. Hunter is coming off a solid offensive performance, with 15 points and six assists against Syracuse's suffocating home defense.

Virginia has sundry scoring options against a Florida State defense that has plummeted to 13th in the ACC in KenPom's efficiency.

Forward Terance Mann leads FSU with 15.5 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Mann excels at driving to the basket and ranks 66th in two-point shooting percentage.

Guard/forward Braian Angola is second with 14.1 points per game. He is one of three Seminoles ranking in the top 400 in three-point shooting percentage. Angola is shooting more than 50 percent from three in FSU's past four home games.

Power forward/center Phil Cofer is the other Seminole averaging double figures. With his versatility he ranks in the top 500 in both two- and three-point shooting percentage. He's averaging 20 points in FSU's past three games.

Guards CJ Walker and Trent Forrest distinguish themselves defensively. Both rank, along with Angola, in the top 300 in steal percentage.

The Verdict

Tonight's key trend on our NCAAB odds board is that the "under" has hit in eight consecutive Virginia road games. Virginia's defense excels at slowing down opposing teams. Oddsmakers account for the preferred tempo at which teams play, so the total is this high because FSU's offense likes to push tempo. But look at what Virginia has done to fast-paced (ranking in the top 50 in KenPom's adjusted tempo) ACC teams: held Duke to 63 points, N.C. State to 51, UNC to 49 and Virginia Tech to 52. Also, the Virginia-FSU matchup has gone "under" five times in a row, with FSU averaging 53 points in those five games.

The Cavs will make the Seminoles slow down and struggle to find a good shot. In doing so, they can control the game with their typically suffocating defense and superiority in turnover margin. Virginia is already 5-0 ATS in ACC road games.

With my NCAAB picks I recommend the "under" and parlaying it with Virginia ML or, if you dare to stack the odds (from a purely mathematical standpoint) against you, Virginia ATS. Virginia ATS is also a great play.

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