Florida vs Mississippi State Odds & Picks: Why to Bet the Gators

Florida vs Mississippi State Odds & Picks: Why to Bet the Gators article feature image

James Gilbert/Getty Images. Pictured: Colin Castleton

Florida vs Mississippi State Odds

Saturday, Jan. 21
8:30 p.m. ET
SEC Network
Florida Odds
-110o / -110u
Mississippi State Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via  FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Mississippi State welcomes Florida to the Humphrey Coliseum Saturday night for a game between two teams desperate for a victory.

The Bulldogs have lost six of their last seven, coming into the game at 1-5 in the SEC.

Meanwhile, the Gators’ three-game winning streak was snapped in the narrow defeat at Texas A&M in the midweek slate, and they enter this contest at 10-8 overall and 3-3 in the SEC.

These schools are on the bubble to receive an invitation to the NCAA Tournament, which makes this a huge game in Starkville, Miss.

Florida Gators

You have to give Florida credit for playing such a strong non-conference schedule in the debut season under coach Todd Golden, with the Gators’ strength of schedule ranked inside the Top 25 by KenPom.

However, Golden’s team has not been able to pick up a big win so far, sitting at 0-6 against Quad 1 opponents. The Gators have been close in SEC play, losing the pair of games to the Aggies and the other loss at No. 16 Auburn by a combined eight points.

You can’t point the finger at fifth-year senior Colin Castleton, who leads the Gators in scoring (14.9 PPG), rebounding (8.1 RPG) and blocks (58). He is also tied for the team lead in assists (48).

The matchup of the big men in this game will be the most important on the floor between Castleton and MSU’s Tolu Smith. The winner of this head-to-head battle will be important for the result of the contest and in the eyes of NBA scouts.

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Mississippi State Bulldogs

If there is one reason to be positive about this slow start, head coach Chris Jans’ team has played one of the tougher SEC schedules to open conference play. The Bulldogs have played Tennessee twice to go along with both nationally ranked schools from Alabama.

Even against the tough opposition, the Mississippi State defense has still held up, with MSU ranking inside the Top 30 in AdjD (14th), EFG% (30th), turnovers (9th) and 2-point shooting defense (21st). Jans’ squad does this all without fouling (15th FT rate), which makes it even more difficult to consistently score.

The big question is who is going to step up on the offensive end of the floor to compliment Smith? The Bulldogs do not have another player who averages double figures this season or in conference play.

If Jans can find additional shooters and scorers, nobody is going to want to play MSU as we get closer to March.

Florida vs Mississippi State Betting Pick

Until Mississippi State can consistently score against tough opposition, there is no way I can back the Bulldogs here as a home favorite, especially against a team with a top defense.

With that said, my best bet is to play Florida on the spread getting two points, which I also feel has value on the moneyline at plus odds.

The Gators come into this contest ranked inside the Top 20 in AdjD (11th), EFG% (17th) and 2-point defense (14th), while they are also 89th in guarding the 3-point line.

This is not good for an MSU squad that has one of the worst offensive units in the SEC, ranking outside the Top 275 in EFG% (326th), 2-point% (278th) and 3-point shooting (345th). The Bulldogs have also averaged fewer than 60 PPG in conference play.

If this game comes down to free throws in the late stages, there is also a huge mismatch, with Mississippi State sitting in 356th in FT% compared to 57th for Florida.

Ultimately, I don’t think we see a lot of points in this game, which is why I’m electing to take the two points that are more valuable in a low-scoring matchup compared to an up-tempo affair. I just trust the Gators more than the Bulldogs at the moment.

Pick: Florida +2 (Play to PK)

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