Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#719 Florida vs.
#720 Alabama
Wednesday, February 8, 2023 at 9:00pm EST
Written by Michael Briggs

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The Florida Gators will take on the Alabama Crimson Tide Wednesday at Coleman Coliseum. Tip-off from Tuscaloosa, AL, is at 9:00 p.m. ET. The home squad is a 9.5-point spread favorite and the game total is 147.5 points.

Florida, 13-10 SU and 12-11 ATS, lost 72-67 at Kentucky on Saturday. The Gators are 3-2 in their past five and 6-4 in Southeastern Conference play.

Alabama, 20-3 SU and 13-9-1 ATS, beat LSU 79-69 on Saturday. The Crimson Tide are 4-1 in their past five and 10-0 in SEC play.

Alabama beat Florida 83-70 in the lone meeting between the teams last season. The Gators lead the series 66-61 since the 1949-50 season.

The Gators are 10th in defensive efficiency

Florida is 13-10 overall, but don't let its record deceive you —the Gators are for real. Florida defeated second-ranked Tennessee and was narrowly beaten by Kentucky in its past two games, signaling a potential resurgence over the final weeks of the regular season.

In the close loss at Kentucky, the Gators trailed by 11 at halftime but didn't surrender. After scoring just 22 first-half points, Florida exploded for 45 after the break. Still, Florida never led in the game, as Colin Castleton's 25 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and three blocks weren't enough to lift the Gators. The victory spoke more of Kentucky's solid play, as Florida came into the matchup winners of six of its last seven. UF shot 41.8 percent from the field, including 6-for-19 from three, while UK shot 45.2 percent and 5-for-11 from long range.

Florida scores 71.3 points per game (183rd) and shoots 43.4 percent from the floor (253rd), including 32.4 percent from three (273rd). It converts 74.5 percent of its free-throw attempts (65th) and averages 33.0 rebounds (129th) with a -0.8 rebounding margin. UF is ranked 134th in schedule-adjusted offensive efficiency and 238th in effective field goal percentage (49.4%).

The senior forward Castleton leads the Gators in scoring. He averages 15.6 points on 50 percent shooting, along with 7.7 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game. Other players to watch are sophomore guard Will Richard (10.3 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 41.1 3PT%), senior guard Kyle Lofton (9.0 PPG), and sophomore guard Kowacie Reeves (8.4 PPG).

Florida surrenders 64.8 points per game (52nd) on 39.4 percent shooting (14th), including 30.8 percent from behind the arc (47th). It's 10th in adjusted defensive efficiency, 87th in adjusted tempo, and 116th in assist-per-turnover ratio.

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The Tide are 1st in adjusted tempo

The Crimson Tide have lost just once since falling to Gonzaga on December 17th, a lopsided defeat to Oklahoma in the SEC-Big 12 challenge. Otherwise, Bama has been flawless, mowing over its conference competition with ease. With a 6-3 mark in Quad 1 games and a combined 14-0 record in Quad 2, 3, and 4 matchups, it's easy to justify the Tide earning a top seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Following its 101-44 beatdown of Vanderbilt, Alabama took care of its business against Louisiana State. The Crimson Tide led by seven at the break and didn't relent, shooting 44.8 percent from the field and 13-of-29 (44.8%) from long range. They were efficient from the foul line (14-of-15), too. LSU was held to 30.6 percent shooting, including 25.9 percent (7-of-27) from three. The Tigers did outrebound the Tide, collecting 13 offensive rebounds, and got to the foul line often (24-for-31).

Alabama scores 83.1 points per game (9th) on 44.2 percent shooting (208th), including 34.8 percent from three (152nd). It converts 72.8 percent of its free-throw attempts (141st) and averages 41.3 rebounds (1st) with a +7.5 rebounding margin. The Tide are 20th in adjusted offensive efficiency and 77th in effective field goal percentage (52.5%).

Frosh forward Brandon Miller leads Bama in scoring. He's averaging 18.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, with a 45.2 field goal percentage, including 44.2 percent from long range. He'll be among the top selections in the next NBA Draft class. Other players to watch are junior guard Mark Sears (13.7 PPG), frosh forward Noah Clowney (10.0 PPG and 8.3 RPG), and freshman guard Jaden Bradley (7.7 PPG).

Alabama gives up 68.7 points per game (159th), and its opponents shoot 37.3 percent from the floor (3rd), including 26.1 percent from three-point range (2nd). It's 5th in adjusted defensive efficiency, 1st in adjusted tempo, and 148th in assist-per-turnover ratio.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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Florida has been a headache for its opponents in recent weeks, but it lost some of its momentum against Kentucky. The Wildcats outlasted the Gators, never trailing in a matchup between two hot teams. I have a feeling UF has run out of steam and will get run over by a more talented and faster Crimson Tide team tomorrow.

Alabama is easily one of the top candidates for a number-one seed in the NCAA Tournament, and it's easy to see why. They have a superstar pro prospect in Miller, a top-shelf offensive attack, and a demoralizing defense. They're lengthy, force turnovers, push the pace, and have the swagger to get in your face. They will put the Gators in their place, which is among the middle of the pack in the SEC, on Wednesday.

Sorry, Gators fans. Don't bet on an upset happening tomorrow.

Prediction: Alabama -9.5

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Full-Game Total Pick

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The recent betting trends point to the under being the trendy pick, but I'm betting the over in this SEC clash. Bama is 1st nationally in schedule-adjusted tempo, averaging 73.5 possessions per 40 minutes. Florida isn't too much slower, averaging 69.1 possessions (87th). While this game features two top-ten defenses, I believe Alabama will expose Florida, earning plenty of second-chance opportunities via the offensive rebound. Bama is always a factor in transition, too. The Gators can't counter the Tide's offensive weapons, but Castleton will make his presence felt, at least through the first 30 minutes.

At 147.5 points, I feel the total is a bit low. I'll bet the over.

Prediction: Over 147.5

Written By Michael Briggs , "Michael Briggs"

Mike Briggs is a passionate sports fan and writer, earning his B.A. in Journalism. In 2020, he moved across the country from New Jersey to San Diego to satisfy his lifelong obsession of living near an MLB stadium. As a proud MSU basketball supporter, Mike believes he's learned a lot watching coach Tom Izzo lead the Spartans to Big Ten titles and Final Fours regularly. He's also well-read on the NBA, having a subscription to SLAM magazine, the famed "basketball bible," since he was a teenager. Mike spends his free time strategizing futures bets and researching opportunities to make a few bucks on tonight's game. You can follow Mike on Twitter @BriggsWrites for sports betting, DFS, and stock trading tips.