Florida State vs. Murray State Betting Guide: Can Seminoles Slow Ja Morant?

Florida State vs. Murray State Betting Guide: Can Seminoles Slow Ja Morant? article feature image
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USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Murray State Racers guard Ja Morant (12), Florida State Seminoles guard Terance Mann (14).

  • Get a complete betting breakdown of Murray State-Florida State below.

#4 Florida State vs. #12 Murray State NCAA Tournament Betting Odds

  • Spread: Florida State -4.5
  • Over/Under: 144.5
  • Date: Saturday, March 23
  • Time: 6:10 p.m. ET
  • TV: TNT
  • Location: Hartford, CT

>> All odds as of 6 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and live win probabilities on your bets.


Florida State (28-7) survived a three-point barrage from Vermont in the opening round to win 76-69. The Catamounts shot 42% (18-of-43) from beyond the arc, but the Seminoles still secured the victory. Florida State did not cover the 8.5 point spread despite a chance to score as time expired.

Murray State (28-4) put forth a masterful performance in an 83-64 drubbing of Marquette.  Sophomore guard Ja Morant (24.4 points per game, 10.6 assists per game) continued his scintillating play with a triple-double (17 points, 11 rebounds, 16 assists) against the Pirates.  The Racers easily covered the 3-point spread.

Seminoles Need To Score Inside

Florida State usually holds a significant height advantage on the interior and will do so again today. The Seminoles are led by 6-foot-10 Mfiondu Kabengele (13.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg) who has the ability to connect from 3-point range as well (36.1%).  They also have 7-foot-4 Christ Koumadje (6.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.5 bpg), which gives them options on the interior.

The Seminoles are 32nd in adjusted offensive efficiency and are fantastic from the free throw line (74.5%). The free throw shooting prowess can often compensate for their three-point shooting weakness.

The Seminoles only shot 3-of-12 from deep against Vermont, but more than made for that by shooting 31-of-37 from the foul line.

Florida State may again be without Senior forward Phil Cofer (7.4 ppg) who missed the opening round game with an ankle injury and learned of the passing of his father immediately after the game.

What Can Morant Do For An Encore? 

Murray State’s entire offense is driven by the spectacular Morant. The Racers scored at will against a Marquette team that ranked 39th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency. The Racers shot 53.6% from the floor and 50% (9-of-18) from 3-point range.

They will need to keep that efficiency from deep to have a chance at the upset. As a team, Murray State is only shooting 34.8% from beyond the arc. However, the Seminoles are vulnerable to the long three, ranking 12th in ACC conference play at limiting the opposition from deep.

In every other offensive area, Florida State’s defense matches up very well. Overall, the Seminoles rank as the 10th best team as per adjusted defensive efficiency.

As expected, the Seminoles are top 30 in defensive block percentage, putting an even bigger premium on the 3-point efficiency.

Prediction

The Morant effect will be limited by Florida State’s superior defense, leaving Murray State’s supporting cast to carry the offensive load.

That will not happen, and the Seminoles’ huge advantage inside will put an end to a spectacular season by Morant and the Racers.

Mike’s Pick:  Florida State -4.5, would bet up to 6.5

Sean Koerner’s Florida State-Murray State Projections

Get point spreads for this game and every possible tournament matchup with our bracket simulator built by Sean Koerner, our Director of Predictive Analytics, a former oddsmaker and FantasyPros’ most accurate in-season fantasy football ranker from 2015-2017.

  • Spread: Florida State -7.5
  • Total: 141.5
  • Proj Score: Florida State 74.5 | Murray State 67
  • Win Probability: Florida State 76.8% | Murray State 23.2%

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game is from the individual writer and are based on his research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.

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