LSU vs. Florida College Basketball Odds & Picks: Betting Value on Tigers in SEC Showdown
Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Cameron Thomas.
- In its first game since losing Keyontae Johnson for the season, Florida basketball bounced back with a win over lowly Vanderbilt.
- The Gators face a much tougher test on Saturday, as they host a 6-1 LSU Tigers team.
- BJ Cunningham breaks down odds for Saturday's matchup and offers his betting pick for LSU vs. Florida
LSU vs. Florida Odds
|LSU Odds||+1.5 [BET NOW]|
|Florida Odds||-1.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+102 / -120 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||152.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||2 p.m. ET|
LSU takes its high flying offense on the road Saturday to Gainesville to battle with the Florida Gators.
LSU’s offense has been lighting up the scoreboard this season, leading the Tigers to a 6-1 start. However, in their biggest of the season, they fell short at St. Louis, which is the best mid-major team in the country.
But head coach Will Wade has so much talent in Baton Rouge this season that the Tigers are poised to battle Tennessee for the top spot in the SEC this season.
Florida began life without their best player, Keyontae Johnson, on Wednesday by blowing out Vanderbilt on the road 91-72. The Gators were poised to be one of the best teams in the SEC before losing Johnson. Head coach Mike White still has a talented squad that can compete at the top of the conference against teams like LSU.
When LSU has the ball
The Tigers are one of the best shooting teams in the country, which has led them to be the No. 5 offense in terms of efficiency entering play on Friday, according to KenPom. They are top-15 in effective field goal percentage, 2-point percentage, and free throw percentage, all of which have allowed them to shoot many opponents out of the gym.
The offense runs through five-star freshman Cameron Thomas, who is a walking bucket. Thomas has taken over one-third of LSU’s shots this season and is averaging a cool 24.1 points per game while shooting over 47% from the floor.
Another reason LSU’s offense is so good is because it takes care of the ball and crashes the offensive glass at a very high rate, ranking inside the top 70 in both areas, per KenPom.
Florida has made big improvements from last season on defense, ranking inside the top 25 in KenPom’s defensive efficiency rankings.
The reason for that? They’re long lethal and defending the paint at an elite level. Florida is denying opponents at the rim with a 20% block rate, which is the highest in the country. The Gators are also allowing opponents to shoot only 41.2% from inside the arc, which is the 11th-best in the country.
One area Florida has struggled in is defending the 3-ball, as it ranks 245th in 3-point percentage allowed. LSU takes a ton of 3-pointers so if Florida can’t hold the Tigers to a low percentage, it might be in trouble.
Key for LSU on offense
Shoot a high percentage from 3-point range. Trying to score at the rim is almost a death sentence against Florida so if the Tigers can light it up from deep, they’ll have a great chance to win this game.
Key for Florida on defense
Force LSU to go to the rim. If the Tigers are able to get a ton of open looks from deep, it could be a long day for the Gators.
When Florida has the ball
White had one of the youngest teams in the country last season but now has the benefit of a lot of returning experience.
The Gators’ coach also made a big change on offense, as he increased the offensive tempo in a big way, as Florida is now one in the top 100 in terms of tempo; last year, they were in the bottom 40, according to KenPom.
That change really hasn’t had an effect on their offense in terms of efficiency since they have almost the same ranking as last season. Also, Johnson being out of the lineup is going to be a big blow for the Gators since he averaged double digits for them last season.
LSU’s Achilles’ heel ever since Wade arrived has been its defense. Last season, the Tigers ranked 179th in defensive efficiency. They have made positive strides in that category this season, though, entering Friday ranked 107th, per KenPom.
The biggest improvements have come in defending the 3-point shot. The Gators are only allowing opponents to shoot 26.7% from beyond the arc this season, compared to 34.5% a season ago.
Florida shoots a very high percentage from deep, so LSU will need to continue defending the deep ball well on Saturday.
Key for Florida on Offense
Get the ball inside. LSU is below average at defending inside the paint but elite at defending threes. So, attack LSU’s weakness and to the rim.
Key for LSU Defense
Force Turnovers. Florida is an elite shooting team but is turning the ball over at a 20.3% rate. If the Tigers take advantage of that, they may be able to slow down the Gators’ offense.
Betting Analysis & Pick
I think LSU’s offense should be able to dominate this game, especially from deep. If the Tigers can shoot a high percentage from 3-point range, I think they can win as short favorites, especially with Johnson out for Florida.
I have LSU projected as a -1.23 favorite, so I am going to back the Tigers on the moneyline at +104.
Pick: LSU +104 (up to -105).