College basketball best bets for Sunday, 3/17: Back the Gators in SEC title game

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Caleb Wilfinger


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Deputy Editor for Pickswise with years of experience handicapping and giving out winning picks. Lover of all US sports and Southampton FC. For Caleb Wilfinger media enquiries, please email
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The college basketball regular season is finally complete and Selection Sunday is here! We’ve already seen plenty of madness on the hardwood this week and we still have action and marquee games for another afternoon before the reveal of the NCAA Tournament bracket at 6:00 p.m. ET.

While the college hoops market is as sharp as it has ever been, there are still a few good value bets of which to take advantage. Let’s take a look at my best bets for Sunday’s action, but make sure you also check out our college basketball picks for the biggest games of the day.

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Florida Gators +6 vs Auburn Tigers (-110)

Odds available at Caesars Sportsbook at time of publishing. Playable to Florida +5.  

As I’ve stated in this column in recent weeks, the Florida Gators are a team I’m looking to back in March for a variety of reasons. That hasn’t changed this week, as I took the Gators as underdogs against Alabama and as short favorites over a red-hot Texas A&M team on Saturday. Now, even after making the SEC title game, I still believe this Gators team is slightly undervalued by the market despite their rising analytics profile in recent weeks. Thanks to consistently strong play from its guards and interior players, Florida has been a top 20 offense all season and that hasn’t changed over the past month. But what has been encouraging to see is the Gators effort on the glass, as Florida is 6th in offensive rebounding percentage and flexed its muscles on the glass in each of the 3 victories in this tournament. Look for that to continue against an Auburn side that is outside the top 240 in defensive rebounding percentage.

On the other side, those Auburn Tigers hadn’t beaten an NCAA tournament team on the road until this weekend. The Tigers appear to be an elite team on paper, ranking inside the top 10 in offensive and defensive efficiency at KenPom. However, the physical play from Bruce Pear’s team does lead to a very high foul-rate on defense, which doesn’t bode well against a Gators side that draws fouls at an extremely high rate. Additionally, I have serious questions about Auburn’s guards and their ability to perform well when the lights are brightest. Given the fact that Florida defends the perimeter extremely well, the Tigers guards are going to have to contend with the Gators’ stout frontcourt, which is a serious challenge for any backcourt unit. I’m expecting a down-to-the-wire affair on Sunday, so let’s back to the Gators to keep things close.

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