College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions for Florida vs. Tennessee
Photo by Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Rick Barnes & Jahmai Mashack (Tenn)
- Tennessee hosts Florida at Thompson-Boling Arena, where the Vols have been nearly unstoppable this season.
- Meanwhile, the Gators will be without their best player Colin Castleton.
- Kyle Remillard breaks down Wednesday's SEC college basketball matchup and explains why the value lies with the Volunteers.
Florida vs. Tennessee Odds
+100o / -120u
+100o / -120u
Florida attempts to do what no team has accomplished this season: win at the Thompson-Boiling Arena.
Tennessee is 10-0 at home, including victories over top programs in Arizona and LSU. The Volunteers have leaned on their top-five defensive efficiency rating to get them to a 13-5 record.
It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster for Florida through the first half of the season. The group is trying to salvage the campaign after losing its two dominant interior players in Keyontae Johnson and more recently, Colin Castleton.
Florida has lost two of its three conference road games by double digits. Home-court advantage could be a significant factor in this matchup.
Castleton could be out for a lengthy period of time after injuring his shoulder late last week. Castleton’s importance can’t be understated, as he leads the team in points (15.4) and rebounds (9.1) per game. He’s scored in double figures in all but one game and has put up seven double-doubles.
The 6-foot-11 forward is averaging 2.8 blocks per game, which ranks in the top 20 in the country.
The Gators mustered up victories in their first two games without him, but that came to an end on Monday, as they lost to Ole Miss, 70-54. Florida’s offense was stagnant, shooting just 38% from the field and hitting 4-of-29 (14%) of its 3-point attempts.
Castleton going down could be a long-term detriment to this offense, as he ranks third in the SEC by hitting 54% of his field goal attempts. That inside production will be sorely missed, especially for an offense that ranks 315th in 3-point percentage (29.7%).
Florida has four other players who are averaging between eight and 10 points per game this season. Over the last two games, the Gators haven’t had any one player score over a dozen points.
Tennessee has been dominant at home this season, winning all 10 of its matchups by an average margin of 25 points.
But it’s been a different story when the team has been on the road.
|Record||Avg Points||Avg Opp Points||Avg Margin|
The Volunteers have relied on its top-five defensive efficiency ranking to carry them through the mid-point of the season. They’ve allowed just 62 points per game this season while owning a top-10 unit in forcing turnovers.
They’ve been dominant defending the paint, but have struggled to guard the perimeter. That shouldn’t be an issue in this game, as Florida has been atrocious, hitting just 30% of its 3-point attempts this season.
Offensively, Tennessee is a well-balanced group with seven players averaging seven or more points. Santiago Vescovi and Kennedy Chandler are the only two players averaging double figures this season.
Santiago is the sharp-shooter on the roster, as he has connected on 38% of his 141 3-point shots this season. Chandler runs the show for the Volunteers and ranks fourth in the SEC with 4.9 assists per contest.
John Fulkerson has been struggling offensively, averaging less than five points over his last six games. But he could be in store for a big bounce-back game with Florida missing its key interior pieces.
Florida vs. Tennessee Betting Pick
We’ve seen two separate Tennessee teams this season. The one that travels away from home is 3-5 and is being outscored by four points per game. Meanwhile, the team that plays at Thompson-Boiling Arena has won all 10 of its games by an average of 25 points.
The Volunteers defeated LSU by 14 points and handed Arizona its only loss of the season while playing at home.
Now, they welcome in a Florida team that is struggling to find its identity after losing its leading scorer. The Gators’ offense is reliant on offensive rebounds and scoring in the paint, but have been unable to do both those things since Castleton’s injury.
The Florida offense will have its hands full playing in its second road game in three days against a top-five defense.
Tennessee’s offense has been strong at scoring in the paint, hitting 52% of its field goal attempts. The Gators’ interior defense has taken a massive step back recently after allowing Ole Miss to hit 60% of its 2-point field goals last time out.
I anticipate the Vols will come out inspired to keep their home-court winning streak alive against a SEC rival. There is blood in the water for the Gators’ program, and Tennessee will jump all over them out of the gate.
Pick: Tennessee -9 (Play to -11)
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