Saturday, March 15, 2014 | 3:30 a.m.
My arduous journey of getting above the Play of the Day’s $10,000 starting bankroll finally has a chance to end today.
I never imagined it would take two months and 22 selections in the contest, which uses odds from the South Point sports book, to even sniff getting into the black. But that’s the hole I dug myself by starting 2-7 back in January. That’s enough dwelling on the past, though.
Tennessee plus-6.5 vs. Florida: $440 to win $400
One of the only reasons why I’m not taking the moneyline is because it’s not yet available. That’s how I confident I am in the Volunteers.
Conference tournaments can create terrific chances for value when the significance of the game varies so much between opponents. That’s what’s happening here.
Tennessee remains on the NCAA Tournament bubble, while Florida is locked into a No. 1 seed regardless of how the rest of the weekend plays out in Atlanta.
Motivational discrepancies can’t make up for a talent gap as wide as one that exists between teams like Florida and Missouri, which the Gators stomped 72-49 in the SEC Tournament’s quarterfinals. The difference isn’t nearly as large between Tennessee and Florida.
The Volunteers, in fact, might have the two best players on the court in senior Jordan McRae and junior Jarnell Stokes who are averaging nearly 34 points per game combined. The Gators probably have the next seven best players, but they simply aren’t as superior to the Volunteers as perceived.
Florida has gone an extremely fortunate 13-2 in games decided by single digits this year as opposed to a diametrically conflicting 2-10 from Tennessee. Those records tend to even out.
The Volunteers have won five straight and covered in four consecutive games. They’re playing their best right now, and it all leads up to this — a showdown with the No. 1 team in the country that they’re more than capable of winning.
Standings: Bern (14-10, $10,440), Keefer (11-10, $9,667), Brewer (7-12-3, $6,390)