SEC Tournament Betting Picks: Florida vs. Alabama

SEC Tournament Betting Picks: Florida vs. Alabama

Florida (22-10 straight up, 14-17-1 against the spread) is 11-4 SU in its last 15 games, but the Gators blew double-digit leads in all four losses. The double-digit leads were in the second half of three of those defeats, and the fourth (in last week’s 79-78 loss at Vandy) saw UF give up a 12-point lead in the first half and an eight-point advantage with less than six minutes remaining.

One of those four losses came at Alabama in a 98-93 setback in overtime on Feb. 21. UF still covered the spread as a 10-point road underdog.

The Gators avenged that loss by dominating the Crimson Tide from start to finish in a 105-87 home win on March 5. They led by as many as 23 points in the second half.

Todd Golden’s team had five players in double figures in the blowout win over Alabama. Will Richard led the way with a team-high 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field. Walter Clayton Jr. had 22 points, while Tyrese Samuel and Zyon Pullin finished with 19 points apiece.

Two of UF’s four recent losses – at Vandy and at Texas A&M – were by two combined points. The other came at South Carolina when the Gamecocks rallied from a double-digit second-half deficit and ended the game on an 8-2 run to win 82-76.

Whatever the case, Florida is playing as well as any team in the country right now. Of its 11 recent wins, there are high-quality victories at home over Alabama, Auburn (81-65) and Mississippi St. (79-70).

There are also road wins at Kentucky (94-91 in OT) and at Georgia (88-82), in addition to last night’s neutral-court win over UGA (85-80).

Meanwhile, Alabama (21-10 SU, 16-14-1 ATS) has limped badly down the stretch. Nate Oats’s team has lost three of its last five games outright and is mired in a 1-5 ATS slide.

In both recent wins, ‘Bama had to rally from big deficits. The Tide trailed in every second of regulation at home vs. Arkansas last Saturday as a 15.5-point favorite. The Tide was down by as many as 13 points in the first half.

But Mark Sears hit a tying 3-pointer with 21 seconds left and the game went to overtime, where ‘Bama ended up winning, 92-88. The other recent win came at Ole Miss when ‘Bama trailed by double digits for a good chunk of the first half. Oats’s bunch dominated the second half, though, and won 103-88.

‘Bama lost 117-95 at Kentucky three Saturdays ago. Two Saturdays ago, the Tide lost 81-74 to Tennessee at home and then got spanked at UF three days later.

I like the Gators to win outright.

PREDICTION: Florida +4.5 for two units. Florida +170 on the money line, risking 0.5 units to win 0.85 units.