Florida vs. Virginia Tech Betting Odds, Pick, Predictions: Take Gators as Small Underdog in NCAA Tournament First Round
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images. Pictured: Florida’s Tre Mann.
- Updated Florida vs. Virginia Tech odds list the Hokies as a 1-point favorite in the first NCAA Tournament game on Friday, with the total at 135.
- Both teams have struggled to live up to their potential this season because of personnel issues and COVID pauses.
- Get our analysis and Florida vs. Virginia Tech pick below.
Florida vs. Virginia Tech Odds
|Virginia Tech Odds||-1|
|Moneyline||-105 / -115|
|Time||Friday, 12:15 p.m. ET|
The Florida campaign has been rigorous from both scheduling and personnel performances this season.
Head coach Mike White was dealt the loss of Keyontae Johnson in December, a player who was a significant contributor a season ago with a top 100 offensive rating in the nation.
The pandemic also played a role in the Gators’ struggles. Play was halted twice this season, which occurred in December and then again via a two-week hiatus during SEC play in February.
Virginia Tech is also looking for consistency, losing four of its past eight games. Head coach Mike Young had one of the most inexperienced teams in the nation in the wake of the pandemic, with top players from its 2020 squad opting to transfer.
After leading Wofford for more than 15 years, Young looks to coach in his first March Madness game leading the Hokies.
Collin Wilson: White welcomed the return of Tre Mann in the SEC Tournament, but a non-cover win over Vanderbilt came before a bounce out by Tennessee.
Florida has now lost three of its last four games. The team is ultra-reliant on Mann and Colin Casteton, ranking 187th in bench minutes. Florida does have a very efficient offense (especially in transition) when it actually takes care of the ball.
Turnovers have been a major pain point for the Gators this year. The perimeter defense is sound for a unit that applies extended pressure before dropping into a matchup zone. However, Florida is fairly vulnerable against teams that can clean up the offensive glass. The Gators rank 301st in the country in defensive rebounding rate.
Virginia Tech is mid-pack in offensive rebounding, but that should be enough for the Hokies to pull down most rebounds. Despite the issue in the rebounding department, Florida is 12th in blocks and has a distinct advantage in the interior. The Hokies will want to shoot from the perimeter, which is a strength of this Gators defense.
Virginia Tech Hokies
Pat McMahon: The Hokies are one of the most mysterious teams heading into the tournament because they haven’t been on the court much lately. Virginia Tech has played only five games since the start of February and is just 2-3 in those contents.
Despite a difficult finish to the season both on and off the court, the Hokies have a strong team and earned their way into the field with some impressive early-season victories.
Virginia Tech has solid balance and ranks just outside the top 50 in both adjusted offensive (55th) and defensive (54th) efficiency, according to KenPom. The formula for success on offense is to throw it inside to star big man Keve Aluma (team-best 15.6 points per game), and surround him with a plethora of shooters on the outside to keep the defense on its toes.
The Hokies are a strong 35.7% as a team from 3-point range, led by the flamethrower Hunter Cattoor (45%), as well as Nahiem Alleyne (40.9%) and Jalen Cone (34.9%). Tyrece Radford (11.9 ppg) is back from a midseason suspension and gives this offense another element with his ability to attack the rim.
The Hokies are a very good rebounding team, and the defensive shooting numbers are decent.
One area they really struggle in defensively is forcing turnovers. The Hokies create takeaways on just 17.1% of their opponents’ possessions, which ranks 261st nationally, per TeamRankings.
As the competition steps up in the NCAA Tournament, they’ll have to increase that number to have a long stay in Indianapolis.
Matchup & Betting Analysis
Collin Wilson: Virginia Tech gets the bulk of its points from the perimeter, but the Florida defense is top-30 in opponent shooting percentage.
There certainly are free-throw rate advantages on both sides of the court for the Hokies, but a free-throw shooting mark of 70% may decide the game. Florida has the size advantages in this game and has a defense that is 12th in blocks.
Ultimately, the guard play of Mann and the inside offense of Castelton will get the Gators to the Round of 32.
Pick: Florida pick’em