The Tennessee Volunteers (12-12) will hit the road in Southeastern Conference play and take on the Florida Gators (19-5) inside the O’Connell Center on Saturday afternoon.
Tennessee Volunteers at Florida Gators
Tennessee tallied two home wins after suffering a 69-44 loss to the Kentucky Wildcats as 15.5-point road underdogs, as the program looks to sweep its season series with Florida. The Volunteers held the Gators to a season-low 56 points in Knoxville on Jan. 7, which has played a part in holding four of nine SEC opponents under 60 points. Playing away from its home court hasn’t been kind to the squad, dropping all seven true road games during the 2011-12 campaign. Tennessee is 12-17 ATS on the road the past two-plus seasons.
The Volunteers have two starters averaging double figures in scoring, with sophomore guard Trae Golden leading the way in averaging 13.0 points and 4.6 assists per game. Tennessee has come away with 24 wins in its trips to Gainesville in this series, including victories in four of the last seven meetings inside today’s venue. Defensively, the team ranks second among SEC teams in holding opponents to 60.2 points per game.
Florida was handed an embarrassing 78-58 loss by the Kentucky Wildcats last time out, going “under” the total in four of the last five games. The Gators came into that affair leading the country in 247 3-pointers made, but shot just 22.2 percent from beyond the arc in defeat. “They know that we are a 3-point shooting team and they took our best strength away,” stated Gators freshman Bradley Beal. The team is extremely balanced in terms of scoring, with five players averaging in double figures. Florida is 0-4 ATS as a home favorite of 12.5 to 15 points the last two-plus campaigns.
The Gators rank 13th nationally and first in the SEC in scoring 79.2 points per game, hitting 10 or more 3-pointers in 16 games this year. Junior guard Kenny Boynton leads the way in averaging 17.6 points per game, coming off an 18-point performance against the nation’s top-ranked team. Point guard Erving Walker must put his scoreless performance behind him, as he missed all seven shots versus Kentucky, snapping a string of six consecutive games of scoring in double figures.
Bettors will likely back the Gators due to their 7-3-2 ATS mark on Saturdays, while the Volunteers are 1-5 ATS as a road underdog.
Recommendation: Florida Gators -12
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