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March Madness Sweet 16: #1 Florida vs. #4 UCLA Betting Lines

#1 Florida Gators vs. #4 UCLA Bruins Sweet Sixteen Preview

When: Thursday, March 27th 2014 at 9:45pm ET
Where: FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee
Watch: Live on CBS

The #1 Florida Gators will play the #4 UCLA Bruins in one of the four Sweet 16 match-ups on Thursday. Florida looked a bit shaky in beating Albany, but they pulled away down the stretch. I thought they played much better in their game against Pittsburgh.

UCLA is on a nice roll as well since losing to lowly Washington State at the beginning of the month. The Bruins won the Pac-12 final with a wins over Oregon, Stanford and Arizona, so this team has been tested despite their easy path in the big dance so far.

The Bruins beat Tulsa and Stephen F. Austin in their two early March Madness games. The Lumberjacks aren’t “easy”, but they never put up much of a fight after playing VCU so well in the round before. UCLA has to come out scoring early to have a chance to win.

Latest Spread, ML & O/U Odds in FLA @ UCLA

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The action at the time of writing has been split down the middle basically for the point spread and O/U. Almost 90% of early action has been on the Gators winning the game on the ML, but a lot of backers expect the high scoring Bruins to keep it close.

Gators vs. Bruins Stats Pack

How the Florida Gators Will Win

The key for victory for Florida will be their defense before anything else. Florida is only allowing teams to shoot 42.9% (12th) on 2-pt shots. UCLA shot 46% on 2-pt FG’s against Tulsa and 54.7% against SFA, but they’re not going to have that same success on Florida.

Florida has had problems covering the deep ball, as they rank 94th and allow opposing teams to shoot 32.9% from beyond the arc. It isn’t likely to hurt them too much in this game though, as UCLA only averages 16.2 shots per game from 3-point distance (257th).

These two teams averaged the same number of rebounds per game, but the Gators will have an edge in the paint. UCLA has allowed 12 offensive rebounds per game during March Madness and that was against much weaker opponents than the Gators.

How the UCLA Bruins Will Win

UCLA has relied on their scoring to win big games all season and that’s what they’ll need to do. Jordan Adams, Norman Powell and Kyle Anderson are all averaging double digits through two games, which is a good sign, as they need all three to perform well.

I really think that Anderson has been playing great and he has the potential to take over a game. UCLA has to protect the basketball as well, which they’ve done in the majority of games this season although they did struggle against Tulsa and had 10 turnovers.

The team’s 3-point shooting will also play a pivotal role if the Bruins are to upset the Gators. UCLA has only hit 9 of 30 attempts from beyond the arc in their two games. If they can’t get the 3-ball going I don’t see how the Bruins will keep up with the Gators.

UCLA vs. Florida Sweet Sixteen Predictions

I’m betting on the Gators to cover ATS against the Bruins because of the balance they have on offense and defense. UCLA is going to have problems on the glass and the Gators are one of the best teams at defending 2-point shooting, which is where the Bruins excel.

Scottie Wilbekin was quiet against Albany, but he had 21 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals against Pittsburgh. Patric Young is going to be a tough match-up in the paint as well for the Bruins. Young has struggled shooting, but he has 10 offensive rebounds.

This Florida defense is legit and they’ve only allowed 100 points in their two games during March Madness. Florida has been able to force 17 steals (8.5 SPG) and they’re averaging five blocks per game, which is above their season averages of 7.3 SPG and 3 BPG.

UCLA is one of the highest scoring teams in the country, but in their last three games they’ve averaged 76 PPG and those weren’t against teams with a defense like Florida. I expect the Bruins to have some cold spells from the field and the total to stay under.

ScottThis article was written by Scott

Scott is one of the original degenerates working for MobileSportsBetting.com. Although he's most successful betting on NFL football and international soccer, he's also active in UFC and NHL hockey betting.

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