Pointspread: Florida -3.5
Total Line: 121
Friday’s action in the second round of the West Regional kicks-off with an East Coast matchup between the Virginia Cavaliers and the Florida Gators in Omaha. This ACC-SEC clash is set to tip-off at 2:10 p.m. (ET) and the game will be broadcast nationally on TNT.
Virginia is coming off one of its best seasons in recent memory at 22-9 straight-up, but limps into this tournament with a 4-6 SU record in its last 10 games. It made an early exit from the ACC Tournament with a 67-64 loss to NC State as a 3.5-point favorite to fall to 14-11-1 against the spread this season. The Cavaliers are 9-6 SU (8-5-1 ATS) on the road with the total staying ‘under’ in 11 of the 14 games.
The weight of pulling-off the upset in this contest will fall directly on the shoulders of Mike Scott and Joe Harris. Scott is Virginia’s leading scorer with 18.1 points and is averaging 8.4 rebounds a game, while Harris is scoring 11.5 points and averaging 3.9 rebounds a game.
Florida posted a 23-10 SU record on the year, but has also struggled down the stretch with just one SU win in its last five games. The Gators gave Kentucky all it could handle their last time out in a 74-71 loss as nine-point underdogs, but overall they are just 12-15-1 ATS. They are 7-8 both SU and ATS on the road this season and the total has gone ‘over’ in 10 of the 15 games.
Kenny Boynton is Florida’s leading scorer with an average of 16.3 points a game, but there are four other players scoring in double figures to help account for an average of 76.3 point a game, which is a huge advantage over the Cavaliers’ 63.1-point scoring average.
The Cavaliers are 12-5 ATS in their last 17 games following an ATS loss and 6-2 ATS in their last eight games as underdogs of 6.5 points or less. The total has stayed ‘under’ in 13 of their last 16 games played outside of the ACC.
The Gators are 13-4 ATS in their last 17 NCAA Tournament games and 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games as a favorite of 6.5 points or less. The total has gone ‘over’ in 11 of their last 12 NCAA Tournament games.
These two teams have not played each other in recent history, but Florida is a perfect 5-0 ATS in its last five games against the ACC. Neither ballclub brings its best form into this game, but stick with the Gators’ overall edge in talent and experience to help them pull out a win.
The Free NCAA Pick: Florida 66 Virginia 59