February 21, 2017
There are two College Hoops picks today.
#1: Take South Carolina +8 spread against Florida for 3% of the bankroll.
The South Carolina Gamecocks will be looking to avoid a third consecutive loss when they travel to Gainesville to take on the 12th-ranked Florida Gators tonight. It's amazing how much can change in just a week's time. Just 7 days ago, the Gamecocks were tied with the Gators and Kentucky Wildcats atop the SEC standings, but a home loss to Arkansas and a defeat at Vanderbilt have pretty much eliminated South Carolina’s hopes of securing a regular season title. That being said, they still have plenty to play for ahead of this contest and will no doubt be motivated to end their recent skid.
South Carolina is a quality program that has thrived behind their defense. They are ranked 16th in the country in field-goal defense, holding the opposition to 39.4%, but recently they have gotten away from their hard-nosed defensive efforts that have gotten them to this point. They’ve allowed four straight opponents to shoot 42% or better, however, we believe that streak ends tonight. One area where the Gamecocks have thrived has been in forcing turnovers. South Carolina has forced at least 15 turnovers in all but one SEC game and are averaging 18.5 per game in conference play.
While defense has been the star of this team, on offense, leading scorer Sindarius Thornwell continues to shine for the Gamecocks. He is averaging 20.2 points per game and seven rebounds. Guards PJ Dozier (13.8 points, 4.5 rebounds) and Duane Notice (10.2 points), as well as big man Chris Silva (10.1, 5.9 rebounds) are all averaging in double figures which gives them a very nice balance on the offensive end which they will likely need in order to snap the Gators impressive winning streak.
Since a two-game slide that started with a 57-53 loss at South Carolina, the Florida Gators have been nearly unstoppable and come into this contest on an 8-game winning streak, however, injuries may be starting to take a toll on the Gators. Florida lost leading scorer Canyon Barry (13.2 points) to a sprained ankle against the Bulldogs and his status versus South Carolina will be a game-time decision. Florida is already missing center starting center, John Egbunu and while Kevarrius Hayes stepped in for Egbunu and performed well, he will likely be out of his depth against a South Carolina team that knows how to get into the lane and create contact. If Barry can’t go tonight, the Gators will be left with just two players who average double digits in points. That is going to force some underclassmen and lesser known role-players to step up if they are going to want to have a chance to cover this rather large number.
While Gainesville hasn't been a place where the Gamecocks have had a ton of success in defeating the Gators, they have been absolute money at the betting window, having gone 9-1 ATS in their last 10 trips to the swamp. The Gamecocks will be eager to end their two-game losing streak and while they may ultimately come up short in pulling off the outright upset, they should be able to keep this game competitive enough to cover the rather large number. Florida wins, but South Carolina cashes.
#2: Take Indiana +1 spread against Iowa for 3% of the bankroll.
The Indiana Hoosiers will be looking to snap out of a skid that has seen the team drop 4 straight and 6 of their last 7 following a heartbreaking 75-74 loss to Minnesota in their last outing. A date with a struggling Iowa Hawkeye's team is likely just what Tom Crean's team needs to get back into the win column.
The Iowa Hawkeyes have been one of the more inconsistent teams in nation this season. They went from losing three straight and followed that up with a three-game winning streak, only to hit the skids once again and come into this contest having lost three straight games and have plummeted down the Big Ten Standing with a 5-9 conference record. Their inability on the defensive side of the ball has really hurt them as they are giving up an average of 77.6 points per game. On the offensive end, things haven't been much better, as they are averaging just 66 points in their last two games while shooting 40% or less in their three straight losses. Performances like that will be their downfall tonight against a high scoring and efficient team like the Hoosiers.
While both teams have been struggling, Indiana has played the much tougher competition to get to this point. They have managed to be much more competitive in their losses and had a couple of bounces gone their way, their record would be much better than it currently is. Meanwhile, Iowa has failed to rise up in the crucial moments of games on numerous occasions and have not been able to make the critical plays needed at the end of ballgames to come away with victories. That will likely be the deciding factor tonight.
Indiana had a poor shooting performance in their last contest against Minnesota, however we expect that they will bounce back tonight against a weak Hawks defense. The Hoosiers are averaging 80.3 points per game and shoot an impressive 48.1% from the field. Iowa will have a slight advantage in this contest because they are at home, however, given their offensive struggles as of late, we believe they will be hard pressed to keep up on the offensive end with a desperate Indiana team for the full 40 minutes. This game will likely be close, but we expect the Hoosiers to finally break out of their funk and come away with a big road victory in this contest.
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