Sometimes you just really nail a pick. That was the case yesterday when we backed the Florida Gators as small home court favorites against a better than most people seem to think Ole Miss team. I expected a back-and-forth game for much of the night, but in crunch time down the stretch, I expected the Gators to pull away and coast to the win and the cover.
— Florida Gators Men’s Basketball (@GatorsMBK) January 13, 2021
And that is exactly what happened. The Gators actually trailed for much of the second half, but the Rebel’s lack of depth bit them, as expected, late in the game. Florida finished the game on a 13-0 run, taking the game 72-63, easily covering the spread. It wasn’t a must-win game for the Gators, as there is still plenty of season left for Florida to play themselves back into contention in the SEC, but after losing back-to-back games, and looking lost at times without Keyonte Johnson on the floor, this win was a big one.
For Ole Miss, the Rebels have a lot of talent on the floor, but in a tough SEC, they look like they could end up being the odd man out. Ole Miss has now lost five out of their last seven games, including three out of four in the SEC, and if they can’t find a way to win games against quality competition, wins are going to be awfully hard to come by in one of the best leagues in the nation. For today’s free daily betting pick, we will stay right here in the SEC as the Auburn Tigers travel to Georgia for a conference game with the Bulldogs.
- Auburn Tigers (6-6) at Georgia Bulldogs (7-3)
- Stegman Coliseum, Athens
- 4:00 PM PST
- TV: SECN
The Georgia Bulldogs are looking for their first conference win of the season tonight as they host the Auburn Tigers. Georgia started out their season by winning their first seven games in the non-conference, but the Bulldogs have struggled in SEC play, as they are 0-3. The Bulldogs just missed picking up what would have been a huge road upset at LSU last week and are hoping that they can take care of business tonight on their home floor against the struggling Tigers.
Get up 😤
⌚️ 7 p.m. EST
📍 Stegeman Coliseum
— Georgia Basketball (@UGABasketball) January 13, 2021
For Auburn, the Tigers will also be looking for their first league win of the season, as they are 0-4 in SEC play. Similar to the Bulldogs, the Tigers started their season by playing well in the non-conference, but conference play hasn’t been kind to the Tigers, as they are getting beaten up. Both of these teams have aspirations of playing in the NCAA tournament, and whichever team wins this game will have a step up on the other, between two teams that are trying to play themselves onto the right side of the bubble.
Georgia Bulldogs (7-3)
It was always supposed to be a rebuilding year in Athens for the Georgia Bulldogs this season. The Bulldogs are forced to play without last year’s breakout freshman Anthony Edwards, as he was one and done and was taken number one overall in the NBA draft. But after seeing Georgia win its first seven games, many people started to wonder if they could find a way to stay competitive in the SEC. But after seeing them go 0-3 in league play, the hype on Georgia has cooled down considerably.
Toumani Camara isn’t on the same level as Edwards was last year, but the sophomore from Belgium is enjoying a breakout season for head coach Tom Crean. Camara leads the team in scoring, rebounds, and blocks and has really stepped up his game in league play. In his first two SEC games of the year, Camara had a double-double against both Mississippi State and LSU.
In the Bulldog’s last game, Camara couldn’t stay on the floor as he fouled out in just 16 minutes of play, but did still manage to score 15 points in the loss. Camara has a history of getting into foul trouble, which has limited his effectiveness, particularly on the defensive side of the floor, but when he is in the game, he gives Georgia a playmaker that can be the difference between winning and losing. Crean needs a big performance out of Camara tonight if the Bulldogs want to be able to defend their home floor.
Auburn Tigers (6-6)
In the last several seasons, Bruce Pearl has turned the Auburn Tigers into more than just a football school. Pearl took them to the Final Four in 2019, and last year, the Tigers had a legit shot at making another deep run in March as a projected top-5 seed. But the Tigers lost a lot of talent from last year’s team, and the expectations were limited for Pearl and his Tigers heading into this season. Auburn saw five seniors graduate, as well as saw freshman sensation Isaac Okoro bolt to the NBA.
That left Pearl with a group of young inexperienced players this season. One of those young guys was five-star recruit, Sharife Cooper. Cooper fought back and forth with the NCAA for months before finally being cleared to play in the Tiger’s last game. So, what did Cooper do in his first-ever NCAA game? Oh, all he did was go out and score 26 points, with 9 assists, and 4 rebounds. Cooper immediately makes Auburn a contender in the SEC, as he is going to be the best player on the floor in many of the Tigers games the rest of the way out.
Who Do I Like?
A week ago, this would have been an easy pick. You take the home underdog in league play, and you get paid. But with the addition of Sharife Cooper, I have a feeling that Auburn is about to start to win a lot more games. Alabama has one of the best defensive units in the SEC, and Cooper scored at will on the Tide, and to be honest, he could have been even better, as he shot just 1-7 from beyond the arc. I’m not going to say that you need to ignore what the Tigers have done up to this point of the season, but this is certainly a turning point for Auburn.
The line opened up at an even pick ’em, but the early morning betting sharps have backed the Tigers and moved the number slightly towards Auburn. I am going to have to agree with the sharps in this one, as I think Bruce Pearl’s Tigers are about to go on a run. They nearly knocked off Alabama in his first game, and the more these guys play together, the better they are going to be. You just can’t overestimate the addition of a future lottery pick player like Sharife Cooper.
If they were playing this game in a month, I would really like Auburn, as Cooper will be fully integrated into the rotation at that point. Where it stands right this very minute, this is going to be a competitive game. But I just haven’t seen anything about this Georgia team that makes me believe they can beat quality competition. The best win of the year for Georgia came over Cincinnati, a team that won’t sniff an at-large bid.
They have a home floor loss to Mississippi State, another team that won’t be playing meaningful games in March. The Bulldogs just aren’t going to be able to beat the top teams in the SEC this year, and now that Bruce Pearl has his best players on the floor, I see them emerging as one of the top teams in the league.
You can expect another big game from Cooper, and the rest of this Auburn team is going to be better with his ability to pass the ball and draw the defense away from their other scorers. Give me the Auburn Tigers tonight, laying a point on the road, as they look for their first SEC win of the season. I’ll call it an 85-81 final from Athens!