The Florida Gators dominated the Mississippi State Bulldogs a season ago, as the two teams prepare to face off Thursday night. Find out why we believe that a first half play looks to be the best option for our NCAA Basketball picks tonight.

Let’s take a closer look at the NCAA basketball odds for this Southeastern Conference matchup at the Humphrey Coliseum, with the opening tip scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

Streaking

Florida has won 11 games in a row, including a ultra-impressive 67-41 victory over the Tennessee Volunteers as 8.5-point home favorites last Saturday, while going UNDER the betting total for the third time in four contests.

The Gators are 21-34 SU all-time on the road against the Bulldogs, but they’ve won five out of nine trips under head coach Billy Donovan. 

Over the last two-plus seasons, the program is 4-0 ATS as road favorites of 12.5 or more points. 

Struggling on defense 

Mississippi State is allowing 77.5 points per game during SEC play, which is up in a big way in comparison to its 65.5 figure versus non-conference opponents. 

The Bulldogs are looking to bounce back from a 82-63 defeat to the Mississippi Rebels as 11.5-point road underdogs last Saturday, while going UNDER the betting total for the first time in eight opportunities.

College basketball handicappers will find that the team is 4-5 SUATS versus teams with a winning record during the 2013-14 campaign. 

Domination 

The Gators won both meetings against the Bulldogs last season by a combined 60 points, including a 82-47 victory as 20-point road favorites at this venue.

Florida ranks ninth nationally in allowing just 59.8 points per game, which could prove troublesome with Mississippi State compiling a 10-19 ATS mark versus teams that allow fewer than 64 points a contest the last two-plus seasons. 

Coming out of the break 

There’s no question that the Bulldogs are a better second-half team, as they average 38.6 points per game after the break, which is far better than their 32.3 points a contest in the opening 20 minutes.

Mississippi State does a great job of getting to the free throw line, but Florida is remarkable in playing tremendous defense without fouling.

Read our Thursday NCAA Basketball Picks for more free plays.

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Gators in the first half with their NCAA Basketball picks, as they’ve held opponents to an average of 25.3 points in the opening 20 minutes through 19 games. 

NCAA Basketball Pick:  Florida Gators -7.5 First Half