Florida vs. West Virginia College Basketball Odds & Pick: Bet the Gators to Cover Against Mountaineers
Mark Brown/Getty Images. Pictured: Scottie Lewis.
- The SEC/Big 12 Challenge rolls on as the Florida Gators take on the West Virginia Mountaineers on Saturday afternoon.
- The Gators are starting to get healthy, which could be a problem for the Mountaineers.
- Check out BJ Cunningham's full betting breakdown and pick for the game below.
Florida vs. West Virginia Odds
Perhaps the biggest matchup of the SEC/Big 12 showdown takes place in Morgantown as Florida battles 11th-ranked West Virginia.
Florida is in the midst of a three-game win streak, which includes a 26-point blowout win over Tennessee.
The Gators are finally starting to get healthy with a couple of their key players — like Scottie Lewis — back in the lineup.
A win on the road at West Virginia on Saturday would be a huge resume-boosting win for the Gators, who could potentially be near the bubble heading into Selection Sunday.
Meanwhile, West Virginia pulled off a 88-87 win over Texas Tech in an absolutely thrilling finish.
HE CALLED GAME 🚨
No. 11 West Virginia beats No. 10 Texas Tech in Morgantown. pic.twitter.com/qaMvZLX3Dc
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 26, 2021
The win moved West Virginia to 11-4 on the season and within striking distance of a top-10 ranking. A win over Florida on Saturday would definitely ensure the Mountaineers get into the top 10.
When Florida has the ball
Florida has been on fire offensively the last three games, averaging over 1.15 points per possession. The main reason for that? It’s are getting to the rim at an extremely high level, shooting almost 60% from inside the arc.
That’s been the case all season for the Gators, who are one of the best teams in the SEC at scoring in the paint, averaging 66% on shot attempts at the rim, per Hoop Math.
Additionally, getting Lewis back from injury is huge because the sophomore averages 10.9 points per game.
Around the glass is where Florida is going to need to dominate to win this game because West Virginia has struggled to defend inside the arc this year.
The Mountaineers allow over 59% on shot attempts at the rim and 54% from 2-point range during conference play.
Additionally, West Virginia is one of the worst defensive rebounding teams in the Big 12, allowing an offensive rebounding rate well over 33%.
That’s going to be a major issue on Saturday because Florida is second in the SEC in offensive rebound rate, so the Gators should find plenty of second-chance opportunities on Saturday.
When West Virginia has the ball
I’m sure it took a lot of convincing, but Bob Huggins has adapted his team into a run-and-gun 3-point shooting team. For years, West Virginia dominated games by throwing the ball into the post while almost completely ignoring the three-point line.
However, the loss of Tshiebwe has caused the Mountaineers to play small ball a lot more often this season, and the results have been positive.
West Virginia has put up over 1.10 points per possession in its last three games and is shooting over 40% from 3-point range.
However, the Mountaineers are still crashing the boards at a ridiculous 36.2% rate, which is going to be a major problem for Florida. The Gators allow one of the highest offensive rebounding rates in the SEC, so the Mountaineers are going to pour in a lot of second-chance points on Saturday.
Florida is going to have to keep the Mountaineers out of the paint if it wants any chance at winning this game.
The Gators allow under 50% from 2-point range and has one of the highest block rates in the country. So, if they do not defend the paint well, West Virginia is going to score everywhere because Florida struggles to defend the perimeter.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Even though Florida doesn’t match up well with West Virginia on the defensive end of the floor, I still think its offense should be able to keep it in the game.
The Gators have torched their last three opponents and should find a way to penetrate West Virginia’s interior defense.
I have West Virginia projected as only -4.84 favorites, so I think there’s some value on the Gators at +6.5 or better.
Pick: Florida +6.5 or better.