The Metro PCS Orange Bowl Classic gets underway today at 2:30pm in the BankAtlantic center as the Texas A&M Aggies take on the Florida Gators. NCAA basketball odds makers have the Gators favord by 8.5.

5* graded play on No. 13 Florida as they take on No. 22 Texas A&M set to start at 2:30 PM ET. 

 

This is an intriguing matchup to handicap as both teams present vastly different styles of playing the game of basketball. This game is being played in Sunrise Florida on a neutral court and is the second game to be played in the Metro PCS Orange Bowl Classic. It won’t be much of a home court or home state advantage for the Gators as Sunrise is located 320 miles or about 5 1/2 hours drive southeast of Gainesville. 

Kenny BoyntonThe NCAA basketball odds opened with the Gators 8.5 point favorites on the spread and the total is now at 131.5.

Teams off to fast starts 

Texas A&M is off to an 8-1 start, but have played just four lined games and have gone just 1-3 ATS in those games. This reflects a very easy schedule and the lack of seasoning is going to work against the Aggies now having to play an elite basketball team in Florida. 

Florida is off to a 7-2 starts and are 2-3 ATS in their five lined games. Florida’s two losses, however, are against two of the best programs in the nation in Syracuse and Ohio State (Buckeyes play South Carolina today). They covered both of those games and shows that they are a team prepared to play well against a ranked opponent. 

Team rankings 

Florida has one of the top offenses in the country and will look to fast break scoring opportunities in transition off of missed Texas A&M shots. They rank fourth in the nation scoring 87 points per game, 15th averaging 41.2 rebounds per game. Ninth getting 18.3 assist per game, and 43rd hitting 48% of their shot attempts. 

Texas A&M plays a far different style of grinding, slow paced style of basketball. They rank just 252nd in the nation averaging 64.4 points per game, 14th averaging 41.3 rebounds per game, 120th getting 13.8 assists per game, and 54th making 47.2% of their shot attempts. The Aggies will use strong ball movement and work the ball for the best available shot attempt. 

This conflicting style will be enjoyable to watch infold. I strongly believe that the Gators have too much depth, athleticism, and speed for the Aggies defense to consistently defend for 40 minutes. 

Injury update 

No injuries on the Florida team to note. However, Texas A&M forward and second leading rebounder Courtney Roberson is listed as questionable with an ankle sprain. He is by far the best defensive rebounder on the Aggies and his absence will mean a significant amount of offensive rebounds and second chance scoring opportunities by the Gators. 

Simulator projections 

My proprietary sports betting database and simulator show a high probability that Florida will win this game by 10 or more points. With a posted total in the mid 130’s it does reflect that the A&M defense will be able to control the pace of the game somewhat. The simulator agrees and shows that Florida will attempt 54 top 62 shots in this game and make between 40 and 46% of their shot attempts. In past games where the gators have achieved these levels of offensive performance they are 105-74 ATS when they attempt 54 to 62 shots in a game since 1997; 102-66 ATS when their opponents make 40% to 46% of their shots in a game since 1997. 

The simulator projects that Florida will do an excellent job getting 40 or 44 rebounds in this game. This will limit Texas A&M second chance scoring opportunities. Moreover, Florida is a solid 48-28 ATS when they grab 40 to 44 rebounds in a game since 1997. 

The strong combination of defensive quick, strong defensive rebounding, and occasional 3-on-2 fast break scoring opportunities will be the dominant reason that Florida will win this game and cover the spread. 

Take the Gators.