Auburn vs. Florida Odds & Picks: Betting Value on the Underdog (Feb. 19)
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Brandon McKissic (Florida)
- The Auburn Tigers travel to Gainesville on Saturday to take on the Florida Gators in an SEC college basketball matchup.
- The Tigers are ranked No. 2, but do the Gators have a chance to pull off the upset?
- Check out Anthony Dabbundo's full betting guide and pick below.
Auburn vs. Florida Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Auburn's lead atop the SEC standings extended to two full games Tuesday night thanks to Tennessee's home victory against Kentucky.
At 12-1 and with five games remaining, Auburn just needs to finish 4-1 or 3-2 and get help to be outright champions of what many see as the toughest conference in all of college basketball.
A road loss to Arkansas is the lone blemish on the Tigers' resume in conference play. However, Auburn has also rode its luck in close games against very inferior opponents when playing on the road in the league this season.
With the Tigers visiting Florida — just as the Gators are getting healthier — the home team could be primed to pull off an upset and enhance its own NCAA Tournament resume.
Even though the Gators suffered consecutive losses to put them under .500 in league play, Florida has had star big man Colin Castleton back for the last four games. He can compete with Auburn's dominant frontline and potentially help the Gators pull off the upset and defend their home court.
There's no doubting that Auburn is one of the best teams in the country, but consider its performances and results away from home this season.
The Tigers won by six at South Florida and four at Saint Louis in the non-conference.
Since getting into league play, Auburn was tied or trailing late against Alabama, Missouri and Georgia. The Tigers won all of those games by a possession. The Tigers beat Mississippi, but the Rebels didn't have star Jarkel Joiner and still led by six at the half.
Auburn has been one of the most dominant home teams in the country, but that level of consistency has not translated on the road, especially in conference.
Saturday is the first of three tricky road games remaining on the Tigers' schedule, and the Gators are a team that has to be all-in because of their NCAA Tournament bubble status.
All of those close wins are a major reason that Auburn is a bit overrated based on the ShotQuality metrics. Based on SQ record luck, only LSU and South Carolina have been more fortunate than Auburn this season. The Tigers should have four more losses than they actually do.
Auburn is 5-2 in close games, per BartTorvik, but playing most of those against inferior opponents is a bit of a concern.
The offense ranks just 95th in finishing at the rim ShotQuality, and Castleton should be able to impact plenty of shots in the middle for UF.
The Tigers' biggest issue from a national title perspective comes from beyond the arc, where they're outside the top 200 in 3-point percentage and just 268th in catch-and-shoot ShotQuality.
Castleton's return to the lineup didn't result in wins at Kentucky or Texas A&M, but he's one of the more important players to his team in the entire country.
Florida is currently the sixth team out of the NCAA Tournament field, according to Bracket Matrix, and a win against Auburn would vault it into the field.
The Gators' defense is one of the great pace controllers in all of college basketball. It's a unit that has generally underachieved over the entire season, but has been pretty good when healthy.
Florida ranks 352nd in average opponent possession length, and it forces teams to execute in the half-court against it. If Auburn is forced to play in the half-court, Florida's 22nd ranked half-court defense, per ShotQuality, should be able to control this game and keep the Tigers bogged down.
The Gators are top-65 in the country at defending the rim, the post-up and the mid-range. They can be vulnerable from the perimeter, but Mike White teams have always done a good job of switching ball screens and being versatile.
Auburn isn't about to exploit the holes in the Gators' perimeter defense, and the Gators should alter some of the shots on the inside.
One major red flag for Florida: Auburn is a top-40 offensive rebounding unit, and the Gators struggle to prevent second chance looks.
Hopefully it's better with Castleton in the middle, who is one of the better rebounders nationally.
Auburn vs. Florida Betting Pick
When these two teams met at Auburn in January, the Gators were within one with seven minutes to play before the Tigers got red hot from beyond the arc and pulled away late.
The Tigers made 8-of-18 from 3 in that game — 11% better than their season average — but the Gators were very much in the game based on the box score.
A major reason for that was Castleton, who got the better of Walker Kessler. Castleton finished that game with 22 points and 10 rebounds on 14 shots. Meanwhile, Kessler had just six points and eight rebounds.
Castleton's ability to compete on the glass and limit Auburn's biggest matchup edge can force the Tigers to operate from the perimeter.
Auburn could get red hot from 3 again, but more often than not, being away from home this year has meant the Tigers are settling for bad shots and hoisting up difficult 3-pointers.
If the Tigers try to shoot their way to a win in this game, and the occasionally inconsistent and passive Jabari Smith isn't at his best, the Gators will have a real shot to win this game.
I think the Gators will be all-in with a top-five team in their building on Saturday. I'd take anything five or better on Florida.