Florida vs. Florida State Odds
Florida State missed the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2016 last year, and that was expected to be a one-off down year quickly corrected by Leonard Hamilton in Tallahassee.
Through three games of this new season, though, the Seminoles have fallen even further from the lows at the end of last season. Florida State is 0-3 with losses to Stetson and Troy at home, as well as an away defeat to UCF.
The Seminoles are in an early-season desperation home spot against in-state rival Florida, a program that has had an up-and-down start under new head coach Todd Golden.
The Gators had two comfortable home wins to open the year, but a loss to Florida Atlantic won’t look good on the Gators’ resume.
Despite that loss, the market has moved towards Florida since the Gators opened as a 5.5-point road favorite. The line has ballooned all the way to seven.
Is it time to buy the Seminoles at home now?
Year one under Golden is relying heavily on transfers to power the program.
The centerpiece in the middle—Colin Castleton—is back, and he anchors both the defense and the post-up scoring inside.
Golden brought in Kyle Lofton — a veteran point guard from St. Bonaventure who averaged 13 points and six assists per game last year.
The rest of the Gators’ team consists of a lot of floor spacers, shooters and athletic wings. The season—and this team’s ceiling—probably comes down to which of those players—if any—step up to the next level.
It’s only a three-game sample, but the Gators really haven’t shot the ball much from deep this season. They rank 320th in 3-point rate, but have made 41.3% of those attempts.
The loss to Florida Atlantic was a bit flukey because the Owls made 13-of-24 from beyond the arc. That exposed a potential weakness for the Gators—perimeter defense.
Florida has taken some of the Golden offense that was heavily pick-and-roll last year, but also retained its post-up nature because of how dominating Castelton is on the interior.
Even in the loss to FAU, Castleton had 30 points and 10 rebounds.
Florida State has the length to bother him, but doesn’t necessarily have the quality big to go toe-to-toe with him.
Florida State’s three biggest problems thus far have been transition defense, 3-point defense and defensive rebounding.
That sentence alone makes it seem like a five-alarm fire is raging for the Seminoles, but the 3-point shooting is subject to a lot of variance. I don’t expect opponents to continue to shoot this well, especially given the length of the FSU defense and its ability to get out to contest shooters.
Even in a bad 3-point defensive year last year, opponents only made 37% against the Noles. Regression is coming for this 3-point defense.
Defensive rebounding was a problem last year too, but it’s also gotten far worse than you’d reasonably expect in the new year.
The Seminoles are known for having a very deep bench and using it more than almost any program in the country. That hasn’t been the case this season. The Seminoles are 312th in bench minutes after ranking fifth in the stat nationally last year.
Hamilton using a shorter bench is more so out of lacking depth than a philosophical change.
The transition defense is surely an issue that Hamilton has to sort out, too. The Noles do an excellent job of limiting opportunities for opponents to get into transition, but concede a ton of efficiency when teams can run on them.
Florida vs. Florida State Betting Pick
The real question here is whether we’ve reached the bottom of the market on Florida State. As bad as the Seminoles have been to date, the line is about a point or two too inflated because of the 0-3 start.
The Seminoles won’t continue to see their opponents shoot north of 40% from 3 against them, and I don’t expect Florida State to continue to have this many issues on the defensive glass.
Florida isn’t a team that prioritizes offensive rebounds too, so Florida State could get a bit of a break on the defensive glass in this stylistic matchup. The Gators are the better team, but it’s not as if they haven’t also shown cracks in their own defense in the first three games under Golden.
Florida can be a great offense in transition, but it also relies heavily on cuts and post-ups to generate offense. That’s two areas where FSU grades out well this season (small sample), per Synergy.
As bad as the Seminoles have been, preseason priors still carry weight and they suggest this line shouldn’t be three possessions in Tallahassee.
I’d bet the Seminoles at +6 or better.
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