MLB Predictions for 2014

Max Scherzer has put his contract talks on the back burner as he looks to defend is Cy Young title.

I guess the 2014 Major League Baseball season actually started last week wen the Dodgers took two from the Diamondbacks down in Australia but I certainly don’t recognize that and I’m guessing you don’t either. If Major League Baseball wants to really get the fans involved then they’d do more to make Opening Day a bigger deal.

Last night was technically opening day in the US and the game again featured the Dodgers. Today, is the real Opening Day as it always should have been. Here is my take on the upcoming season.

American League

The Boston Red Sox are your defending World Series Champions and their defense will be anything but easy. Within their own division, the rival Yankees have restocked by pilfering Jacoby Ellsbury from them. The Tampa Bay Rays will be just as much of a threat in the East and I believe this is your division winner with one exception.

If the injury bug hits Evan Longoria and others again then the Rays will suffer. Otherwise, I like them to win the division. Both Boston and New York will vie for the wild-card spots and very likely could grab both but New York has health issues too that could cost them.

In the Central, the Detroit Tigers should again win the division yet I expect it to be another struggle to put away both Cleveland and rising Kansas City. Although the Tigers said goodbye to Prince Fielder, the line-up should remain strong and so too should the pitching staff. Kansas City will again be better and I believe will be a threat to both the Tigers and the AL wild-card race.

Cleveland has been able to hang around a bit in recent years and should do so again but I still anticipate a two, if not one, team race in the American League Central Division.

The West should be better overall with the additions that have happened in Seattle, but I still expect the Oakland A’s to take the division behind really good hitting and perhaps even better pitching. Texas will be a threat as they welcome Fielder to the line-up but how far can the pitching take them?

The Angels will have to be better in the pitching department in order to be a factor in the West. The offense will ride with Mike Trout but will Albert Puljos and Josh Hamilton be able to stay healthy for a full season?

AL Predictions: East – Rays, Central – Tigers, West – A’s, Wild-Cards Red Sox, Royals, AL Champs – A’s

National League

The NL East still runs through Atlanta until the Washington Nationals can prove that they can knock the Braves from their perch. I expect that this division will be a dogfight all season long and I expect that it goes down to the wire between these two. Philadelphia is a potential threat but a lot as to go right.

The Central Division gave us a wonderful race last year with the Cardinals edging out the Pirates for the division title. The two teams then gave us a great five-game series before the Cards eventually advanced. I expect St. Louis to do well again and because the Prates did little in the offseason, I see a step back for them. Cincinnati could be a threat here too.

The West is going to be the Dodgers and everyone else. This doesn’t mean the Giants and D-Backs can’t be threats but I just don’t see how anyone will be able to hang with LA for 162 games with the pitching and hitting they currently have.

NL Predictions: East – Washington, Central – St. Louis, West – LA Dodgers, Wild-Cards – Atlanta, San Francsico

Bookmakers Release Opening Lines for NCAA Final Four

The field of 68 in the NCAA Tournament has been narrowed down to just 4 following this past weekend’s Sweet 16 and Elite Eight.

Four teams – Florida, Connecticut, Kentucky, Wisconsin – will play for the national championship. On Saturday, the national semifinals will be held with the two winners playing Monday night April 7 for the national title.

In the first semifinal on Saturday, Florida has opened as a favorite by 6.5 points over Connecticut. This spread is considered by many to be inflated.

The second game in Arlington on Saturday features Wisconsin versus Kentucky with the Wildcats laying just 2 points and in this game. Kentucky as the favorite is undervalued.

Other bookmakers including Bovada and topbet have put Florida as a 4.5-point favorite, which gives value to the underdog.

Connecticut has won three straight outright when a dog. The Huskies were dogs by +5 versus Michigan State, +1 versus Iowa State and +4.5 versus Villanova. Connecticut is 6-1 against the spread in their past 7 games overall with five of them as a dog.

Some books, including betonline and made Connecticut the favorite in the Elite Eight game against Michigan State since they had a de facto home court advantage playing the game in Madison Square Garden.

Florida and Connecticut’s opening line for total points could be tantalizing for those that like the OVER. The line opened at 125 and was quickly pushed up to 126.5 early Sunday night.

However, before anyone reading this runs to the window to lay on the OVER, Connecticut and Florida have been two of the best UNDER teams this season. Overall, in Gators games the UNDER finished 22-11-1, while for the Huskies it was 23-13.

However, of the four games that Connecticut has played in this year’s NCAA Tournament only one, their win over Michigan State ended UNDER. However, in the Huskies run up to the NCAA tourney, the UNDER cashed in 9 straight games and 13 of their final 14.

In games that have had totals of 129 or lower this season, the UNDER is 9-3 for the Gators.

For Connecticut only three games have had point totals in the 120s and all were played against Cincinnati and the UNDER cashed in all three.

Kentucky has now found some believers in its run through the tournament. As they went from dogs of 4.5 points versus Wichita State as well as Louisville, to a favorite of 2 points against the Wolverines of Michigan and now the Badgers of Wisconsin.

Some bookmakers have Kentucky has high as -3.5 which could suggest taking the -2 on Bovada or would have value in laying a shorter price.

As an underdog this season, Wisconsin has covered the number in 4 of 5 games. They won three of those in the regular season and one in the tourney against Arizona in the Sweet 16.

As the favorite, Kentucky has covered the number in 16 of 27 games this season.

There will be plenty of movement in the line and the point total throughout this week so check back with us and our sportsbooks for all your betting needs.

The Final Two Look to Join the Final Four

If UConn is to make the Final Four it will be on the back of Shabazz Napier.

Last evening the Florida Gators put an end to the Dayton Flyers’ Cinderella run with a ten-point win while the Wisconsin Badgers beat the Arizona Wildcats in a thriller to advance to the Final Four. Today, we get a couple of somewhat unexpected match-ups as the surprising UConn Huskies; a seventh seed play forth seeded Michigan State. In the other regional final, the Kentucky Wildcats and all their youth go up against the Michigan Wolverines and their three-point shooting sensations.

UConn (+6) vs. Michigan State – There was a significant amount of talk that should Michigan State get past Virginia in the Sweet Sixteen that a trip to the Final Four would be a foregone conclusion. Perhaps it will, but standing in the way of that trip is a surging UConn Huskies team led by a dynamic senior scorer.

Shabazz Napier has put the Huskies on his back in much the same way Danny Manning did so many years ago in leading Kansas to a National Title. The difference of course is that Napier is a guard whereas Manning was more of a post, swingman type player.

What Napier and his teammates will face is one of the more aggressive and well-rounded teams they’ve faced all season in Michigan State. Head Coach Tom Izzo finally has a team as close to full health as he has had all season. The signs of this current NCAA Tournament run started in the Big Ten Tournament where the Spartans blitzed through the opponents en route to the conference tournament title.

Izzo is six out of seven in Elite Eight games and has also had every senior class under his tutelage reach at least one Final Four. This current group of seniors is the only exception. The Spartans rarely do things the easy way and I think that will be the case again today. I expect them to challenge Napier at both ends of the court and I believe inside-outside big man Adriean Payne will be the difference.

Take UConn to win getting the six points but I like Izzo and the Spartans to advance.

If Stauskas is knocking down three's then Kentucky is in trouble.

Kentucky (-2.5) vs. Michigan – It’s extremely hard to argue and go against what the Kentucky Wildcats have been able to do so far in this tournament. I really expected them to have a tournament similar to their regular season. I figured they’d get past their first round game and then put together a real stinker of a game and be out by the third (I call it the second) round.

That hasn’t been the case though as John Calipari has led his band of youthful exuberants to the Elite Eight. The road will become more difficult with Michigan the opponent but also because the Wildcats will more than likely be without Willie Caulie-Stein. The UK big man was in a walking boot yesterday after a severe ankle sprain in the first half of the team’s win over Louisville.

That will put more pressure on Julius Randle who so far has been able to carry the Wildcats with great play in the paint. The Wolverines have of course gone this season without their great big man Mitch McGary who has been following back surgery. That has left Michigan a bit thin down low but they have survived with smart defense and good rebounding when necessary.

John Bielein’s club has and will live and die with the three-point shot where they knock down shots at about 40% of those. Let’s be blount here; if Nik Stauskus gets good looks and his fellow three-point shooters do the same then I definitely like the Wolverines especially getting 2.5 points despite being a two-seed.

Kentucky Short Chalk in Elite Eight Matchup with Michigan

The NCAA Tournament continues its path toward the final four with two more Elite Eight games on Sunday. In one of those games, the Kentucky Wildcats meet the Michigan Wolverines.

Kentucky was the preseason AP No. 1 pick but has not lived up to its label of best recruiting class of all time in college basketball.

However, the Wildcats seem to have awoken from their season long snooze and are a team that cannot be overlooked. Kentucky could very well be lifting the national championship trophy in just 8 days.

Fresh from defeating Louisville the defending national champions for a second time this season, Kentucky is small chalk on Bovada and in their matchup against the talented Michigan Wolverines.

Kentucky has been inconsistent this season with his squad laden with freshmen. However, with wins over talented teams such as Louisville and the previously unbeaten Wichita State Shockers, the Wildcats are a legitimate threat to win and move on today.

However, they might have to play without one of their frontcourt players.

Michigan is in the Elite Eight for the second consecutive season after a win against Tennessee in the Sweet 16. Head Coach John Beilein is now 20-5 against the number in NCAA Tournament games for his coaching career.

Kentucky will have a huge advantage on the boards, but Michigan counters that with sharpshooters from 3-point territory.

The current line on topbet and betonline has Kentucky -2 with the point total sitting on 140.5.

John Calipari the Kentucky head coach is 7-1-1 ATS in March Madness. Kentucky lost 78-74 to Michigan State this past November, which was their only game versus a member of the Big Ten.

Michigan defeated Michigan State 2 out of 3 times they have played this season. Kentucky is 6-0 ATS over its past 6 games overall. The OVER has cashed in 6 of the past 8 games the Wolverines have played overall.

Willie Cauley-Stein a sophomore forward for Kentucky injured an ankle against Louisville. He did not return after the first half injury and his status for this game is still unknown.

Cauley-Stein is a big reason the Wildcats have the second best rebounding margin in the nation.

Kentucky starts five freshmen including twins Andrew and Aaron Harrison and Julius Randle one of the nation’s best frontcourt players.

Michigan relies on its outside shot. The Wolverines have hit 32 of their 65 three point shots during their three games thus far in the tournament.

Michigan is 13-0 SU in their past 13 games decided by 9 points or less.

Kentucky might be loaded with freshmen, but they have finally realized what it is to play like a team. The Wildcats will be tough on the boards and will look to shut down the Michigan perimeter offense.

I like the Wildcats less the points to win and move on to their third Final Four in four seasons.

Weekend Ramblings Include the NFL, Miguel Cabrera and March Madness

This is the gang sign in question regarding Desean Jackson.

If you thought the National Football League was taking the Aaron Hernandez situation seriously then look no further than the Philadelphia Eagles. Yesterday the Eagles released star wide receiver Desean Jackson because of his reported ties to a Los Angeles gang known as the ‘crips.’

While there are many differences between what Jackson is alleged to be involved with and what Hernandez has done, the message the NFL is sending is quite clear. They aren’t going to tolerate this crap. That said, after weeks of trying to trade Jackson, I can guarantee you that someone will take a chance on him.

For the record, Jackson has always been considered a bit of trouble-maker in Philadelphia. Often late to meetings or missing them altogether, Jackson has also been known to have a negative disposition. The clincher however appears to be his ties to known gang leaders who have released rap albums on his own personal record label.

The Eagles essentially grew tired of him and then video appeared of him flashing a ‘crips’ gang sign to Washington cornerback DeAngelo Hall in the season opener. It was extremely quick and subtle, but evident nevertheless. While the story of Jackson’s potential gang affiliation goes much further it’s clear that Roger Goodell and the National Football League will monitor him very closely from here on out regardless of what team takes a shot on him.

Need a loan? Miguel Cabrera can help out with his new deal.

Cabrera Cashes In

I’m really surprised by the reaction of people when baseball contract news breaks across our television stations. The stunning reactions to Miguel Cabrera’s new deal should register nothing more than a “ho-hum” these days but still, people go crazy at these monster contracts.

For the record, Cabrera signed a ten-year deal worth $292 million which will keep him in Detroit through his 40th birthday. As Tigers’ General Manager Dave Dombrowski pointed out, what else are you going to do when you have the reigning American League MVP playing at his highest possible level? You lock him up and that’s exactly what the Tigers have done.

If you want to be ticked off at these ridiculous salaries then look in the mirror. You continue to buy the tickets, pay ridiculous amounts of money for beer and food and pay through the teeth for team merchandise. Until baseball gets a salary cap and we the fans say “enough” it’s only going to get worse.

The Elite Eight is Set

After Wisconsin, Arizona, Dayton and Florida joined the Elite Eight on Thursday night, Michigan, Michigan State, UConn and Kentucky made up the other half last night.

What we can take from this final grouping of eight remaining teams is that clearly the Big Ten has proven itself to be the nation’s premier conference. With three teams among the final eight, the depth they showed all season has been confirmed.

The SEC brings two teams in Florida and Kentucky while ‘outsiders’ Arizona, Dayton and UConn join the party. The results from Thursday and Friday night also tell us that only two number ones remain in Florida and Arizona.

There’s no question that Dayton is a huge surprise to be here at this point. The 11th seed has knocked off powers Ohio State, Syracuse and Stanford en route to the Elite Eight. We cannot dismiss the UConn Huskies though either who entered the tournament as a seventh-seed and have made their way here somewhat surprisingly.

Iowa State was a very popular pick to make the Final Four and remained that way even after an injury sidelined one of their top players. My Final Four is officially wrecked as the Cyclones and Louisville Cardinals are no longer around so I’ll take the Gators, Badgers, Wolverines and Spartans.

Props Released for Elite Eight, Conference Wins in March Madness

Bookmakers have rolled out a number of props for the Elite Eight matchups on Saturday in NCAA hoops action, while the Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12 are making their marks as conferences in the March Madness.

In the first game of the Elite Eight on Saturday, No. 1 Florida in the South Regional faces No. 11 Dayton and No. 1 Arizona in the West Regional against No. 2 Wisconsin follows that.

Some wagering options that can be found on Bovada, topbet, and betonline are:

Total made three point field goals by both teams

Over 12 -110

Under 12 -110

Team that scores 10 points or more first

Florida -180

Dayton +160

Biggest lead by any team in the game

Over 17 -110

Under 17 -110

Team scoring 20 points or more first

Florida -270

Dayton +240

There are a number of other props that include point total for individual players, halftime score, number of turnovers by teams and more.

For information on these props, you can go to Bovada, topbet, betonline and

NCAA Conference results

The bottom line for the NCAA tournament is to find out which of the 68 teams competing is the best or at least plays better than any other does, over a period of three weeks.

However, the results from the tournament can be used in measuring the strength of the different conferences in the country.

Only eight teams remain of the 68 and three conferences have fared better than any others have. Those three are the Big Ten, SEC and the Pac-12. The Big Ten has three of its teams – Michigan State, Michigan and Wisconsin still playing, while the SEC has Florida and Kentucky. The Pac-12 has Arizona and eight wins to date.

The American Athletic Conference has Connecticut in the last eight after defeating Iowa State.

The Atlantic 10 leads the other end of the line with a disappointing tournament except for Elite Eight member Dayton, which needs just one more win to reach the Final Four. However, overall, the conference is 4-5.

The ACC has six wins, but did not put a team in the Elite Eight, while the Big 12 the was country’s top RPI conference but does not have a representative in the final eight teams.

Here are the top ten conferences in the tournament, with overall tournament record / teams still alive.

SEC 9-1 / 2 – Kentucky and Florida

Big Ten 9-3 / 3 – Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin

American – 6-3 / 1 – Connecticut

Pac-12 – 8-5 / 1 – Arizona

ACC: 6-6 / 0

Mountain West – 2-2 / 0

Big 12 – 6-7 / 0

Atlantic 10 – 4-5 / 1 – Dayton

Big East – 2-4 / 0

Atlantic Sun – 1-1 / 0

Friday Night’s NCAA Tournament Action

Can Coach Fred Hoiberg and the Cyclones advance past UConn tonight?

Here are my thoughts on tonight’s NCAA Sweet Sixteen action.

UConn (+2) vs. Iowa State – If any team has flown under the radar so far in this tournament it has to be the UConn Huskies. They’ve quietly put together a nice run here as a seventh seed and are led by fantastic senior guard Shabazz Napier who has averaged 25 points per game this season.

The Cyclones enter this game doing three things very well; they score (6th in the nation), they assist like crazy (1st in the nation) and they kill the boards (2nd).  The Huskies are very ‘middle of the road’ in most departments but they do block and alter a lot shots. That’ll be a big issue for ISU’s inside game.

The Key here is Napier. If Iowa State makes him work for everything at both ends of the court then I like ISU big, if they don’t I expect a tight game but will still take the Cyclones.

Payne and the Spartans will be a monster task for the Cavaliers.

Michigan State (-2) vs. Virginia – I’m not sure how often this has happened but we have a number one seed as an underdog in the Sweet Sixteen. Top-seeded Virginia enters as a two-point dog against Michigan State. While the Spartans have been fairly impressive in wins over Harvard and Delaware, I’m not sure that would elicit such an advantage over a top seed.

I would expect this game to be a war. The Cavs are the top ranked defense in the country as they give up just 55 points per game, but MSU is very good with the basketball. They are the sixth best team in college hoops with over 17 assists per game and they rank 31st in field goal percentage.

If Virginia is going to continue this amazing season all the way to the Final Four then I think this is the biggest road block. Will State’s experience and guard play be too much? I think the Cavs move on.

Tennessee (+3) vs. Michigan – The Volunteers not too long ago were one of those teams forced to play in a ‘play-in’ game just to get to the actual tournament. They dismissed Iowa and have since beaten UMass and Cinderella wannabe Mercer in convincing fashion.

On the other side is second-seeded Michigan who has surprised no one by getting to the Sweet Sixteen. The Wolverines have had most of the season to figure out life without injured big man Mitch McGary and they did just fine in winning the outright Big Ten Title.

This promises to be a classic match-up of shooting vs. rebounding. The Wolverines knock threes down at the rate of 40% and their overall field goal percentage is pretty darn good as well. They will need to make those shots because Tennessee does a significantly better job of rebounding the ball than does Michigan.

I expect a Michigan victory but I will actually take the Vols and the three points in what should be a tight game.

Kentucky (+4) vs. Louisville – I can only imagine what life has been like this week in the Bluegrass State as these two longtime rivals meet in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament. They met earlier in the season and the Wildcats grabbed the home court win 73-66.

Kentucky played much of the second half that game without Julius Randle who was being treated for cramps. The Cardinals only shot 23% from three-point range in the game which is considerably lower than their season average of 37%. Look for that to again be a huge stat in this one.

UK Head Coach John Calipari is 13-12 all-time against Rick Pitino and is 5-1 against him in the last six games. Despite the clear advantage in experience, I think the coaching edge Calipari has right now is too much to ignore. Take the Wildcats and the points.

Pitino vs Calipari: Bluegrass Bragging Rights on the Line in Sweet 16 Matchup

The NCAA’s second half of the Sweet 16 plays out tonight to fill the remaining four spots for the Elite Eight this weekend.

Highlighting the four games tonight is the Battle of the Bluegrass State when the Louisville Cardinals meet the Kentucky Wildcats. These two teams have won the past two national championships in college basketball but just one will move on after tonight.

According to information on Bovada, John Calipari has a slight edge of 12-11 straight up on Louisville head coach Rick Pitino. However, 10 of the 11 losses came prior to Calipari becoming the head coach of Kentucky.

Since taking over the Wildcats, Calipari has ruled the roost in the Bluegrass state. The Kentucky coach is 4-1 straight up and 3-1-1 against the spread versus Louisville and Pitino.

The two teams played in December with Kentucky besting Louisville in Lexington. The more athletic and bigger Wildcats were dominating inside outscoring Louisville on second chance points 17-6 and in the paint 18-6. The Wildcats won 73-66.

The size advantage Kentucky has over Louisville remains the same but the Wildcats are a two or three possession underdog in the game.

Topbet and have the Cardinals -4.5 as the favorite, while betonline has the point total for the over/under sitting on 138.5.

On Bovada, the line opened at .4.5 for Louisville and moved between that and -5.5. However, on most sites, including, the line has settled at -4.5 on Louisville.

Four of five Wildcats vs. Cardinals games with Pitino and Calipari coaching have stayed on the UNDER in the point total, with an average of 139.5 points scored.

Louisville has now been favored in 48 straight games. This is just the eighth time Kentucky has been a dog this season and the team is 3-3-1 against the number in that role.

Kentucky was the No. 1 team in the country in the preseason, but has not played up to expectation the entire season. In their last game, a winner over previously undefeated Wichita State, the Wildcats started five freshmen.

As the head coach at Louisville, Pitino is 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS in Sweet 16 games.

The UNDER has cashed in 13 of the past 16 games the two teams have played head to head. Kentucky is 8- 3 against the spread in the past 11 games versus Louisville.

The underdog in this matchup has covered the spread in each of the past 5 games.

Kentucky is 5-0 ATS in its past five games.

Pick: The difference in size underneath and the strong play of Julius Randle down low will turn the tide for Kentucky. Take Kentucky plus the 4.5 points.

NFL Up to More Nonsense at the Owners’ Meetings

Oh no you don't Jimmy Graham! That's a 15-yard penalty in 2014.

Just when you thought it was safe to enter a National Football League stadium in hopes of enjoying yourself you can forget it.

The ‘No-Fun League’ has returned and I really could care less that the latest rule change was “already” on the books but wasn’t enforced.

As part of their usual rules’ changes at the NFL Owners’ Meetings the NFL once again tackled a most serious issue. Players will no longer be able to slam dunk the football over the crossbar of the goal posts. According to the NFL, this is a penalty that should have been called each and every time it has happened but for some reason it was not.

You can bet your bottom dollar it sure will be called now!

Fun Bunch
What's wrong with the 'Fun Bunch?' They celebrated together and did so without taunting the opponent.

The reason it was supposed to have been a penalty is because the player is technically using the ball as a prop for his post touchdown celebration. This particular rule was brought in to end Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens’ persistent use of the ball as part of their TD rituals.

You might remember the ball being rolled like a bowling ball in an effort to knock over the pylon. Perhaps you’ll remember players using the ball as a fountain drink or to stand on as if a hailing conqueror.

I have no problem eliminating celebrations that target the opponent or are done purely to draw attention to one ’s self, but the post-TD slam dunk really doesn’t do either of those. It’s a single act of a player who everyone is watching anyway because he just scored.

I can accept arguments that if a guy scores, calls kinds of attention to himself and then goes and dunks it would be cause for a penalty. But I have no issue for a receiver who catches the touchdown and in the same motion finishes with a dunk.

What I would actually prefer to see is currently banned by the league. I would love to see the ‘fun bunch’ come back. For those of you who are too old to remember the Washington Redskins’ glory days in the 1980’s they had a group of receivers who always celebrated touchdowns together.

I never viewed this as mocking or taunting the opponent. I viewed as teammates celebrating a touchdown which back then especially didn’t happen as often as it does today.

Perhaps we need to consider a famous Jimmy Johnson quote from his days at the University of Miami. Johnson was asked about his players celebrating in the end zone and he said, “ If you don’t want them to celebrate then don’t let them score.”

Seems pretty simple to me.

Added Playoff Teams on Hold

Roger Goodell announced yesterday that while there is serious interest in adding one more playoff team to each conference there is still much to be considered. My own personal opinion is quite clear; I don’t like adding teams period because we don’t want the NFL to end up like the NBA or NHL where nearly half the teams qualify for the postseason.

The NFL still needs to examine how it would schedule playoff games with seven teams in per conference. With an odd number, that would almost have to mean that only one team would get a bye. Plus you have the issue of one team advancing on a Sunday and forced to play the following week on a Saturday. That could mean an unfair advantage in terms of teams having an extra day to prepare.

Perhaps Roger Goodell would be wise enough to just leave well enough alone. But then again that isn’t really his style.

UCLA vs Florida Tops Sweet 16 Thursday Night Schedule

The NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 starts Thursday night with four games sure to keep bettors on the edge of their seats. In what is the best matchup of the night the No. 4 seeded UCLA Bruins play the No. 1 seeded Florida Gators in Memphis, Tennessee.

The winner of this matchup will be given the favorite label to win the South Regional and move on to the tournament’s Final Four.

However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First things first, this game features the Gators who have won 28 straight games and have a record of 34-2 SU and 16-13-2 ATS. The Bruins are 28-8 SU and 23-12 ATS. The UNDER has cashed in 21 of 32 games for the Gators and in 19 of 35 games for the Bruins.

While Florida is one of the nation’s most physical teams with a defense that can shutdown any offense, UCLA is one of the highest scoring teams in the nation.

The two enter in top form for tonight’s game. The Gators are undefeated since December 2 and coming off a win over Pittsburgh by 16 points in the Round of 32.

UCLA has won 7 of its past 8 and defeated Stephen F. Austin in the Round of 32 by 17 points.

The current line at Bovada, topbet and has Florida as the favorite by 4.5 points. The point total on betonline is sitting at 137 for the over/under.

The line on sports shops online opened from between -4.5 to -5 for Florida and has stayed between those two numbers since Sunday night.

For any updated totals or spreads, visit Bovada,, betonline or topbet.

This is UCLA’s first visit to the Sweet 16 under head coach Steve Alford, while it is the eighth time Florida is reached this point under Billy Donovan. The Gators are 6-1 SU in regional semifinals including winning six straight. Florida has not lost a Sweet 16 matchup since 1999 when they were defeated by Gonzaga.

Florida has the experience with its four seniors starting. Scottie Wilbekin their point guard and one of the four seniors was the Player of the Year in the SEC. Wilbekin has scored in double figures most of the season, but only three times has hit for 20 or more. Against a high-scoring team like UCLA, he will have to look to score more often tonight.

The offensive strength of UCLA should give Florida its toughest test thus far in the tournament. The Bruins are scoring over 81 points per game and hitting 49% of their shots.

Kyle Anderson has carried the team even though he plays point guard he leads the team in rebounding with 8.7 per game is second in scoring with 14.7 per game and tops in assists with 6.5 per game.

Eight players usually play most of the minutes for UCLA.

Many feel that UCLA is playing better than all but one of No. 1 seeds at this point in the season. However, they face the No. 1 seed playing better than they are at this point.

Pick: The Gators are worthy of a -2.5 to -3 but -4.5 or -5 is a bit high. Take the Gators on the moneyline by the Bruins with the points.