College Basketball Betting Preview: Florida Gators at Kentucky Wildcats

Joshua Clarke

Fri Mar 08 2019

One of the best rivalries in the SEC will highlight the final weekend of the 2018-19 regular season. The Kentucky Wildcats still have hopes of a regular season SEC Championship, but will need some help from some other teams. Florida heads into historic Rupp Arena needing a huge quadrant 1 victory in hopes of becoming an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament. Kentucky beat their long-time rival by a score of 65-54 earlier this season, and are looking for a season sweep.

The Kentucky Wildcats were the number-one ranked team in the preseason, and they have started to look like that team of late. Kentucky has won five of their last six games to improve their record to 14-3 in SEC Conference play. The Wildcats are trail both LSU and Tennessee by just one game in the standings heading into the final day of the regular season. Florida has dropped their last two games, and are desperate for a resume-boosting win against Kentucky. The Gators find themselves in the middle of the pack in the SEC with a 9-8 record. Kentucky is -12.0 over Florida on Saturday.

Kentucky Solid On Both Ends

The Kentucky Wildcats are one of the youngest teams in college basketball again this season, but coach John Calipari has his team playing great on both ends of the floor. Kentucky is averaging 77.2 points per game this season and score in a variety of ways. The Wildcats are also one of the top defensive teams in the entire country, allowing just 65.5 points per game. This version of Kentucky might not have as many future NBA stars, but they are playing great team basketball.

Sophomore forward PJ Washington has emerged as a star for the Kentucky Wildcats. Washington is leading the team 14.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game and will be a big key for Kentucky in this game. Freshman guard Tyler Herro has proven the ability to make huge shots and has chipped in with 14.1 points per game while shooting better than 37 percent from deep. The Wildcats will still be without center Reid Travis for the regular season finale.

Gators Just Can’t Score Enough Points

Florida has been extremely competitive throughout the SEC portion of their schedule, but their offense has held them back. The Gators are averaging just 68.7 points per game, and their lack of offense has killed them down the stretch in many games. Florida is considered one of the top defensive teams in the country, giving up just 63.7 points per night. Expect the Gators to play some great defense against Kentucky, but they are going to have to score some points to pull this game off.

Florida is shooting just 33.8 percent from the three-point line this season, which has really hurt their offense. Guard KeVaughn Allen leads the Gators with just 12.2 points per game and is one of just two players that are averaging double-figures. Forward Keyontae Johnson has started to score more points of late, but points just don’t come easy for Florida this season. Playing against a great defensive team on the road likely won’t help to fix the Gators scoring woes.

Big Blue Nation Rolls At Home

Florida has really struggled down the stretch, and they are in danger of missing out on the NCAA Tournament. Having to win at Rupp Arena is not a good option for the Gators, especially against a much improved Kentucky team. The Wildcats have their sights set on a deep NCAA Tournament run, and they will blow out the Gators in the season finale. Bet the Kentucky Wildcats -12.0 over the Florida Gators.

Joshua Clarke
Joshua Clarke