Kentucky vs. Florida Odds – Where to Bet Online

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C Costigan
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 Kentucky vs. Florida Odds – Where to Bet Online

Carrie Stroup here with this early morning look at the Kentucky vs. Florida odds for Saturday’s big game.  As always you can place your 1st bet and get your 2nd bet free here. Line: Kentucky -8.5

Once looked at as the featured game in the SEC conference season, Florida looks for a season-saving home win versus undefeated arch-rival, No. 1 Kentucky.

Billy Donovan’s Florida Gators, ranked No. 7 in the preseason AP Top 25 poll, have been one of the biggest disappointments in college basketball this season. The Gators have flopped their way to a 12-10 record (7-12-2 ATS), without defeating one top-25 team in the process. After winning their first three SEC games, the Gators have dropped four of their last six conference contests and are a putrid 1-5 ATS during that time.

Kentucky is money (line) in the bank this season (22-0), but covering in conference play has been a different story: The Wildcats are 3-6 ATS in SEC play (11-11 ATS overall) and have failed to cover in four of their last five contests. To be fair, Kentucky has only seen three lines all season where they were favored by only single digits (Kansas, at Louisville, at Alabama) and they covered all three of those games. Since 2010, Kentucky is 8-5 SU (6-6-1 ATS) versus Florida and 3-4 SU (4-3 ATS) in Gainesville.

Florida is coming off possibly its worst loss of the season on Tuesday at Vanderbilt, where the Commodores snapped a seven-game losing streak and won for only the second time in conference play. Kentucky is coming off an 11-point victory at Georgia on Tuesday, their 5th straight win with a margin of victory below 20 points (nine of Kentucky’s 12 non-conference wins were by 20 points or greater). The Wildcats’ victory Tuesday was without F Trey Lyles (7.5 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 21.7 MPG) who has an undisclosed illness. Calipari indicated during the post-game press conference that “we don’t know” how long Lyles will be out, hinting at an extended absence.

Kentucky’s dominance in going 22-0 with 10 potential first round draft picks has been well documented. Just in case a reminder was in order, a list of stats in which Kentucky is #1 in the country: Scoring margin (22.8 PPG), block % (13.5), FG% defense (32.9%), points per-possession against (0.79), assists per-game against (7.2), assist-to-turnover ratio against (0.46 A:TO) and, of course, winning %. Every stat listed is rooted in defense, as the Wildcats have been on a historical run defending the goal this season.

Kentucky doesn’t have a poor offense by any means (73.9 PPG, 70th NCAA; 46.1% FG, 64th NCAA). Their efficiency numbers are elite (1.15 pts per-possession, 13th NCAA) and they don’t beat themselves (1.4 A:TO, 18th NCAA), but they still haven’t clicked on offense. Maybe it’s because they’re not getting enough shots at the rim (71.3% FG at-the-rim, 5th NCAA; only 33.8% shots taken at-the-rim, 231st NCAA), or maybe it’s because even in limited minutes, fouling is an issue (17.3 FPG, 248th NCAA). The Wildcats don’t shoot it from deep, but when 88% of your rotation is 6-foot-6 or taller (except G Tyler Ulis), then Calipari has the right idea when talking his kids out of the three point shot (5.9 threes/game, 215th NCAA).

The Wildcats do have one sneaky weapon at their disposal on offense: Drawing fouls, especially in SEC play (57.4 FT rate 2nd NCAA during conference play). 28.9% of Kentucky’s points in conference have come from the line, as they’ve shot a respectable 72.2% from the stripe over that period.

By now, the much-famed “platoon” system from John Calipari has seemingly taken a backseat to a more normalized rotation in conference play. Emerging from the pack to each garner over 23 MPG in conference play has been (all stats are conf. play) G Aaron Harrison (12 PPG, 2.2 threes/gm, 1.4 SPG, 29.1 MPG), G Andrew Harrison (9.6 PPG, 3.8 APG, 27.3 MPG), who had a season-high 23 points vs Georgia on Wednesday, C Willie Cauley-Stein (6.8 PPG, 6 RPG, 1.6 BPG, 27 MPG), G Devin Booker (11.6 PPG, 1.9 threes/gm on 53% from deep, 23.9 MPG), Tyler Ulis (5.8 PPG, 3.4:0.8 A:TO Ratio, 23.2 MPG). Stepping up for the injured Lyles, F Karl-Anthony Towns (8.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 19.9 MPG) had a huge game versus the Bulldogs on Tuesday with 15 points, 13 rebounds, 2 blocks in a career-high 31 minutes.

Florida’s 12-10 record, despite a roster full of talent, can be blamed on all the things they don’t do: They hoist a bunch of threes (444 threes attempted, 1st SEC) but they can’t make them with any regularity (33.6% from three, 200th NCAA). They don’t get to the line (31.7 FT rate, 305th NCAA), nor do they get second-chance points off the offensive glass (10 O-RPG in conf. play, 13th SEC). When you don’t shoot it well from deep, you’re not corralling your own misses, and you don’t make up for that by piling up points at the line, you’re going to have a mediocre offense (66 PPG, 11th SEC).

As Billy Donovan teams historically do, Florida creates offense from defense by picking your pocket (7.8 SPG, 2nd SEC, 43rd NCAA) and boasts a solid turnover margin (+2.2, 45th NCAA). That said, if you can get past the Gators’ press, there’s nobody waiting at the rim to greet you (2.9 BPG in conference play, 13th SEC). While rebounding hasn’t been a red flag for the Gators, they did get punished on the glass by Vanderbilt in Tuesday’s loss, 42-26. In fact, if the Gators win the rebounding battle in conference games, they win the game and vice versa (5-0 when outrebounding their opponent; 0-4 when getting outrebounded).

Florida’s attack is led by G Michael Frazier II (13.4 PPG, 2.4 threes on 39.6% from deep). Frazier II led the Gators with 21 points and six steals in a defeat at Vanderbilt on Tuesday, but has been wildly inconsistent scoring the ball in conference play (four games with 8 points or fewer).

Six-foot-eight F Dorian Finney-Smith (12.8 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 1.8 threes on 39.2 from deep), a transfer from Virginia Tech, has a world of talent and versatility, but constantly finds himself coming off the bench and seems to be off the floor for long stretches (only one conf. game of 30 mpg).

Much was expected of Mickey D’s All-American G Kasey Hill (7.4 PPG, 4.1 APG) when he committed to the Gators last season. Hill seems to have bottomed out however (4.5 PPG in his last four games, 25% FG) as he’s only hit double figure scoring once in conference play.


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