Will Totals Trend at Rupp Continue When Kentucky Hosts Florida?

Willie Bee

Saturday, January 20, 2018 12:40 PM UTC

Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018 12:40 PM UTC

The SEC gets the prime-time spotlight on Saturday when Florida heads to Kentucky, and we have a free college basketball pick for the crucial contest.

My Free Pick: Florida-Kentucky Under 142½
Best Lines are (-105) at Heritage

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By all accounts, the SEC is stronger and deeper than in years past just as the expectations were before the season began. The problem is that may not translate into more than the five bids the conference received to last year’s Big Dance, simply because no team has emerged as one of the elite squads in the nation.

Take the Florida Gators, for example, who are currently on top of the SEC standings yet unranked in the polls and 34th in RPI as they head to Lexington for Saturday’s skirmish with the Kentucky Wildcats. The 8:15 PM (ET) tip at Rupp Arena finds Bookmaker offering the ‘Cats for -3 with 148½ for the scoreboard target.

Gators Have Advantage If It Comes Down To Free Throws
A win in Lexington would be huge for Mike White and his Gators. The last time they did that was 2014, dropping all three appearances in front of UK Nation since then. Florida’s 5-1 start on the SEC fixture include road wins at Texas A&M and Missouri, the Gators covering four of the six contests with the ‘over’ 4-2 in those affairs. They love to jack it up from outside, attempting close to 25 treys a game, and won’t embarrass themselves at the charity stripe with a 77% mark, 19th-best in the country.

By contrast, John Calipari’s crew is in the bottom quarter of the country sinking free throws (67%), and that hurt the Wildcats in Tuesday’s 76-68 loss at South Carolina. Favored by a bucket on the NCAA basketball odds, Kentucky left 13 points at the stripe as the Gamecocks overcame a 3-point halftime deficit to pull off the mild upset. Freshman Quade Green – 5th on the team averaging 10.7 PPG – has missed the last three games with a back injury, and the guard is listed as questionable to play Saturday.

Series Notes, Final Thoughts & A Free Pick
The schools split their matchups a year ago, each winning and covering as short home chalk. Florida’s triumph was its only one in four tries under White, and Kentucky’s victory was its 100th in the rivalry against 38 losses. The Wildcats won five straight before that, brooming three from the Gators in 2015 and also taking two in 2016. Games at Rupp the last quarter century have been a boon for ‘under’ bettors, 16 of the last 21 falling short of the totals.

Both sides have very, very slight ‘over’ leans on the campaign, but my free college basketball picks have taken a very ‘under’ route the past week and that will continue with this matchup.
Season: 28-28-1 (-1.40)

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