January 30, 2018
By Brian Edwards
Editor's note: Brian Edwards went 2-0 last night with Michigan and Kansas as winners. He has produced a 10-2 record (83.3%, +7.85 Units) since Jan. 24. Brian’s guaranteed plays have cashed at a 27-14 clip (65.4%, +12.11 Units) since Dec. 8, so don't miss out on tonight's pay-if-it-wins-only selection!
**Florida at Georgia**
-- Florida (15-6 straight up, 11-9 against the spread) has won four in a row over UGA and seven of the last eight. UF is 6-2 ATS in the past eight games of this rivalry and 9-3 in the last 12. The Gators needed overtime to slip past the Bulldogs in Gainesville last season. They also caught a break when UGA star Yante Maten fouled out after scoring 15 points in only 19 minutes of playing time. Then in the rematch at UGA, Chris Chiozza led UF to a 72-60 win as a 4.5-point road favorite. Chiozza finished with 15 points, four rebounds, four steals and a pair of assists.
-- Mike White’s team owns a 3-1 record both SU and ATS in four road assignments. The Gators’ lone loss on the road came at Ole Miss earlier this month.
-- As of early this morning, most spots had the Gators installed as 2.5-point favorites for Tuesday’s SEC showdown in Athens at Stegeman Coliseum. The total was 137.5 points.
-- Chiozza was the catalyst in UF’s 81-60 win over Baylor on Saturday as a seven-point home ‘chalk.’ The senior point guard produced 20 points, six rebounds, two steals and six assists compared to merely one turnover. Jalen Hudson added 17 points and Egor Koulechov finished with 16 points and eight rebounds on 3-of-3 shooting from downtown. The Gators hit 14-of-25 launches from 3-point land.
-- After scoring seven points or fewer for four consecutive games, UF junior guard KeVaughn Allen has been in double figures in four straight contests. Nevertheless, he’s still shooting 36.0 percent from the field and 32.7 percent from long distance. On the flip side, redshirt sophomore forward Keith Stone had a spurt of four games in a row scoring in double digits, but he’s been held to single digits in three of UF’s past four outings.
-- Hudson is averaging a team-best 16.5 points per game while hitting 42.2 percent of his 3-pointers. Koulechov is averaging 14.5 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. After missing two of his five free throws vs. Baylor, the grad transfer from Rice saw his FT shooting percentage drop to 91.8. Chiozza is averaging 12.6 points, 6.1 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game. The senior PG has a 129/37 assist-to-turnover ratio and has buried 89.4 percent of his FTs. Allen (11.4 PPG) isn’t slumping at the FT line, making 90.3 percent of his attempts.
-- UF is No. 21 at KenPom.com and N. 35 in the RPI Rankings. The Gators have four Top 50 and six Top 100 wins that didn’t come in Gainesville on their home floor. They are 5-3 against the Top 50 and blew late second-half leads in losses to Duke (87-84 in Portland) and Clemson (71-69 in Sunrise, FL.). White’s team is 9-6 versus the Top 100. UF has won at Texas A&M, at Missouri and at Kentucky, in addition to neutral-court scalps of Gonzaga and Stanford.
-- Georgia (12-8 SU, 9-8 ATS) is in desperation mode here after losing five its past six games. The latest gut-wrenching loss for Mark Fox’s ninth team came Saturday at Kansas St., where the Wildcats finished the game on a 12-2 run to rally past the Bulldogs for a 56-51 win. UGA covered the spread as a seven-point road underdog. Fox’s team scored only one bucket in the final seven minutes of the game. Yante Maten finished with 14 points, five rebounds and one blocked shot, but his teammates did a piss-poor job of getting him the ball, particularly a few times when reserve guard Tyree Crump passed on entry passes when Maten had advantageous position on the post. Juwan Parker had 11 points and six rebounds, but he committed four turnovers and made only 1-of-6 treys. Derek Ogbeide played well in 28 minutes, contributing 10 points, eight rebounds and one block while converting 5-of-7 field-goal attempts.
-- UGA’s Rayshaun Hammonds had another dismal offensive performance at Kansas State. The true freshman forward, who was a four-star recruit, scored three points and went 1-of-7 from the field against the Wildcats. Hammonds (6.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG) had been held scoreless in three of the four previous games. If Fox’s team is going to snap out of its recent slump, it’s going to need more out of Hammonds.
-- UGA is 8-2 SU and 4-3 ATS at home this year.
--Fox has taken UGA to two NCAA Tournaments and three NIT’s in his first eight seasons, but he’s yet to win a Tournament game. Most feel he needs to get this team to the Tournament to see a 10th season. Therefore, the pressure is on.
-- Georgia’s current three-game losing streak started at Auburn two Saturdays ago, when UGA led the Tigers by 14 at halftime. The second half belonged to Bruce Pearl’s team, though, and AU won by double digits. Then last Tuesday, the Bulldogs lost at home to Arkansas in double overtime.
-- Georgia is No. 56 in the RPI Rankings, going 4-4 versus the Top 50 and 6-6 versus the Top 100. The Bulldogs have wins at Marquette, at LSU, at CS-Fullerton and vs. Saint Mary’s out in California. They also have lopsided home victories over Temple (by 18), Alabama (by 19) and Ole Miss (by 11).
-- Maten is one of the nation’s premier players. The senior power forward is averaging 19.6 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.4 blocked shots per game. Maten is shooting at a career-best 84.6 percent clip from the free-throw line. No other UGA players are averaging double figures. Juwan Parker and Turtle Jackson have their moments, but neither has emerged as a consistent second scorer that can be counted on. Howard did score 17 points in last season’s OT loss at UF.
-- In Joe Lunardi’s latest edition of ‘Bracketology’ that was posted Monday at ESPN.com, Georgia was a part of his Next Four Out.
-- Georgia plays outstanding defense, ranking sixth in the nation in field-goal percentage defense (38.7%). The Bulldogs are 40th in the country at defending the 3-point line (31.4%) and 41st in scoring ‘D’ (66.0 PPG).
-- The ‘under’ is 8-1 in UGA’s past nine games. The lone ‘over’ appeared in the double-overtime loss to Arkansas when the combined score was still ‘under’ the total at the end of the first extra session. UGA has seen the ‘under’ go 11-6 overall, but the ‘over’ is 4-3 in its home games.
-- The ‘over’ has hit in back-to-back UF games to improve to 11-8 overall, 2-2 in its road assignments.
-- The SEC Network will have the telecast at 7:00 p.m. Eastern, with Tom Hart and Jon Sunvold on the call.
**Baylor at Oklahoma**
-- As of early this morning, most books had Oklahoma (15-5 SU, 8-11 ATS) listed as a 7.5-point favorite with a total of 156.5.
-- Lon Kruger’s squad is in bounce-back mode after dropping an 80-73 decision Saturday at Alabama in a pick ‘em affair. Trae Young was limited to five points in the first half and 17 for the game. On the day of his lowest scoring output since OU’s season opener, the freshman point guard had eight assists compared to five turnovers. Khadeem Lattin had 18 points, seven rebounds and two blocks, while Rashard Odomes finished with 15 points and seven boards.
-- Young leads the nation in scoring (29.6 PPG) and assists (9.6 APG). The homegrown Norman product is averaging a team-high 2.0 steals per game and is knocking down 40.2 percent of his 3-balls. Christian James and Brady Manek are also averaging in double figures with 11.8 and 11.3 PPG averages, respectively. Lattin (8.0 PPG, 6.5 RPG) is averaging team-bests in rebounding (6.4 RPG), FG percentage (61.5%) and blocks (2.2 BPG).
-- OU is No. 12 in the latest Associated Press Top 25, No. 12 in the RPI and No. 22 at KenPom.com. The Sooners are 6-3 against the RPI Top 50 and 9-5 versus the Top 100. They own home wins over Kansas, TCU, Texas Tech, Northwestern and Oklahoma St., in addition to neutral-court victories over Oregon and USC. Oklahoma also has wins at Wichita St. and at TCU.
-- With its 5-3 record, Oklahoma is in a three-way tie for second place in the Big 12 standings. OU, WVU and Texas Tech are 1.5 games behind league-leading Kansas, which won at Kansas St. last night to improve to 7-2 in conference play.
-- Oklahoma is unbeaten in 10 home games with a 5-4 spread record.
-- OU leads the nation in scoring with a 90.3 PPG average.
-- Baylor (12-9 SU, 7-7 ATS) is No. 85 in the RPI, limping to a 2-7 record against the Top 50 and a 3-8 mark versus the Top 100. The Bears have home wins over Oklahoma St. and Texas, in addition to a neutral-court triumph over Creighton.
-- Baylor is going through a rare rebuilding campaign. Scott Drew has built this program into a perennial contender that has been to four consecutive NCAA Tournaments, five of the past six and seven in the last 10 years. The Bears have been to the Sweet 16 four times under Drew, and they’ve been to a pair of Elite Eight’s and won the NIT in 2013.
-- Baylor is winless in six road assignments with a 2-4 spread record.
-- Baylor is 3-5 ATS with one outright win (over Wisconsin on a neutral floor) in eight games as an underdog.
-- In Saturday’s loss at UF, Terry Maston paced Baylor with a team-high 14 points and six rebounds. Manu Lecomte scored 10 points, but he was held 6.5 points below his team-leading 16.5 PPG average. The Gators held Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. to nine points and five rebounds without a blocked shot. Lual-Acuil is averaging 15.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.9 BPG.
-- The ‘over’ is 12-7 overall for the Sooners, 6-3 in their home games. However, the ‘under’ has cashed in four straight games for OU and six of its past seven.
-- The ‘under’ is 9-4-1 overall for the Bears, 5-1 in their road contests. This is the highest total they’ve seen this season. In fact, Baylor’s had only one game with a total in the 150s, with the 124 combined points stayed ‘under’ the 154-point tally in a win over Creighton.
-- ESPN2 will provide the telecast at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
-- Nebraska is 12-1 ATS in its past 13 games after winning 74-63 Monday at Wisconsin as a four-point underdog. The Cornhuskers rallied from an 11-point second-half deficit with 9:57 left to hook up money-line supporters with a +160 payout. They went on a 13-0 run to take the lead and coasted to their fourth win in five games. James Palmer Jr. led Nebraska with 28 points and Glynn Watson Jr. finished with 15 points, two rebounds, one steal, one crucial block shot and six assists without a turnover. Ethan Happ had 25 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and four blocked shots, but he made only 8-of-19 FTAs.
-- Michigan came out flat and trailed 19-11 before finishing the first half on a 10-0 run vs. Northwestern last night. The Wolverines went on to win 58-47 as 7.5-point favorites, while gamblers on the ‘under’ cashed easily when the 105 combined points dropped below the 133.5-point tally. Charles Matthews led the way with 14 points, seven rebounds and three steals.
-- In addition to Baylor at OU, there are fourth other televised games that tip at 9:00 p.m. Eastern tonight. Ole Miss hosts Auburn on the SEC Network, Minnesota is at Iowa on the Big Ten Network, Kentucky hosts Vandy at Rupp Arena on ESPN and Arkansas is at Texas A&M on ESPNU.
-- Since starting the season with a deplorable 1-14 spread record, Vandy has ripped off three straight spread covers. The Commodores were 10.5-point road underdogs to UK early this morning. Bryce Drew’s team is winless in six road games with a 2-4 spread record. John Calipari’s squad is 12-1 SU and 5-8 ATS at home. Vandy beat TCU on Saturday as a short home underdog, while the ‘Cats rallied from 17 down in the second half to win 83-76 at West Virginia as 10.5-point ‘dogs.
-- Most spots had Texas A&M favored by five vs. Arkansas early this morning. The Aggies are 9-2 SU but just 2-6 ATS at home. The Razorbacks have limped to a 1-4 spread record both SU and ATS in five road games. Mike Anderson’s team has won three straight games and four of its past five, but it is mired in a 1-8 ATS slump. Arkansas has beaten the Aggies in three straight head-to-head meetings both SU and ATS.
-- Auburn is a 4.5-point road favorite tonight at Ole Miss. When these teams met at Auburn Arena on Jan. 9, the Rebels led 45-35 at halftime. The Tigers rallied to not only win 85-70, but they also covered the spread as double-digit favorites (-12). DeSean Murray led six AU players in double figures with 16 points and eight rebounds. Bruce Pearl’s squad had lost 10 in a row to Ole Miss before the comeback victory. We should note that the Rebels played without their leading scorer, Deandre Burnett, who was out with an ankle injury. Burnett is averaging team-highs in scoring (15.2 PPG), and assists (4.5 APG). Ole Miss is 10-3 SU and 7-5 ATS at home, while Auburn is 5-1 SU and 4-2 ATS on the road. The Rebels have seen the ‘under’ go 8-2 in their past 10 games.
-- Andy Kennedy is the dean of SEC coaches in his 12th season at Ole Miss. I was somewhat shocked to see that Kennedy is now 18th on the SEC’s all-time wins list and is just four victories behind the legendary Nolan Richardson.
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.
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