CBB weekend best bets: Back the Seminoles during in-state clash
The college basketball slate has come back to earth after an overwhelming opening night, with games happening at a much more manageable pace.
This weekend isn't filled with tons of marquee matchups, but there's still lots of value on the board, including two key rivalries in the state of Florida.
South Dakota State @ Alabama (-11.5, 162)
Friday Nov. 12, 8:00 p.m. ET
It's no secret that coach Nate Oats and Alabama love to push the ball and score points in a hurry. What's less known is South Dakota State outranked the Crimson Tide in points per game last season. Both of these squads like to run and can score on any team in the nation, hence the high total of 162.
In Alabama's 93-62 opening-night victory over Louisiana Tech, the team scored 1.29 points per possession, including 13 3-pointers against a Bulldogs squad ranked in the top 50 in 3-point defense. On the other side, South Dakota State dropped 81 points in its first game despite shooting a putrid 28.3% from inside the arc, well below last season's 54% clip.
With both teams running, scoring, and looking comfortable in their opening contests, there's a high likelihood that points will be had in bunches in Tuscaloosa. Don't worry about the high total and bet the over.
Pick: Over 162
Central Florida @ Miami (FL) (-1, 137)
Saturday Nov. 13, 2:00 p.m.
Health hasn't been a friend to Miami in recent years. Last season, the Hurricanes trotted out 12 different starting lineups and didn't see a single player start every game. It's still to be determined whether the team can maintain good health this campaign, but the roster is fully intact as of now.
Miami hosts nearby Central Florida, which brings back most of last season's group. The Knights went just 11-12 in 2020-21, with highs that included beating Florida State and lows of dropping games to South Florida and Temple. In its early-season victory over Robert Morris, Central Florida dominated the interior but only hit six of its 24 3-pointers. The Hurricanes boast a much stronger frontline than Robert Morris and will force the Knights to beat them from beyond the arc.
These two squads were similarly ranked both this season and last, and the spread reflects that. However, with Miami being the home team with much more top-end talent, there's upside in picking the Hurricanes at a practically even line.
Pick: Miami (FL) -1
Florida State @ Florida (-2, 146)
Sunday Nov. 14, 2:00 p.m.
We stay in Florida for a battle between the two biggest programs in the state. Florida State reloaded this season after losing lottery pick Scottie Barnes, adding former Houston star Caleb Mills to a deep, tall, and athletic roster. The Seminoles' defensive ability was on full display in their 105-70 drubbing of Penn, as they forced 26 turnovers.
Florida also brings a group filled with talented players, though much of its personnel came to the program as transfers from lower-ranked schools. In fact, six of the Gators' rotation players arrived in Gainesville from a school slotted below Florida's KenPom rank. While 18 offensive rebounds helped the Gators to a 74-61 victory over Elon, similar numbers on the glass are unlikely against Florida State.
These two squads typically face off every season, and the Seminoles have won the last seven meetings. Despite playing on the road and continuing to integrate some new pieces into the fold, trust Florida State to come away with the victory once again.
Pick: Florida State +2