By Dan Kilbridge | | 4 mins
Why Florida Will Cover And Upset Georgia In Top 10 Clash
It’s becoming increasingly clear that oddsmakers are not sold on the No. 6 Florida Gators.
Nor apparently are big money bettors this week, with the line for the Florida-Georgia game moving from Gators +3.5 to +6.5 ahead of the 3:30 p.m. EST kickoff at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida. UF has now been the underdog in three of its last four games.
The Gators can prove themselves once again in what was formerly known as the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. Florida should upset Georgia and win outright behind quarterback Kyle Trask. The junior quarterback is 4-1 as a starter and helped spark a comeback win over Kentucky after Feleipe Franks suffered a season-ending injury.
Trask’s lone loss came at No. 1 LSU, where he threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns as the Gators covered a +14.5 spread. He has more touchdowns (14) and a higher passer rating than Georgia junior quarterback and early Heisman favorite Jake Fromm.
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Florida also works redshirt freshman Emory Jones into the mix as a dual-threat option. Favorite targets include receiver Freddie Swain and sophomore tight end Kyle Pitts, a walking mismatch at 6-foot-6, 239 pounds.
Florida’s Kyle Pitts Will Come Up Big Against Georgia
Pitts had eight catches as the biggest difference-maker in Florida’s 24-13 upset win over Auburn and added 108 receiving yards on five catches against LSU.
That’s exactly where Georgia ran into trouble in its only game against a ranked opponent. Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet caught nine passes for 108 yards and a touchdown against the Bulldogs in Week 4. Georgia was clearly the better team in that game but couldn’t put the Fighting Irish away. Notre Dame covered.
The Bulldogs have the No. 7 defense in the country and Florida’s offensive line is a weak spot, but Pitts can bail Trask out and create the same type of advantage that allowed UF to move the ball against a stellar Auburn defense earlier this season.
Florida is healthier than it’s been in months with the return of wide receiver Kadarius Toney. The junior can also play running back and adds a trick play element as a former high school quarterback. He gives UF another reason to believe it can pick up yards on the vaunted Bulldogs defense, which has looked questionable in the secondary at times.
Gators Need To Slow Down D’Andre Swift
The biggest concern for Gators bettors is stopping the run. Florida has given up 100-plus rushing yards in each of its last three games, including 218 against LSU and 217 at South Carolina.
UF should expect a heavy dose of running back D’Andre Swift and needs to stop him from completely going off. The defense also needs to get after Fromm when he drops back. They do it better than most teams in the country with 29 sacks this season, ensuring an even bigger workload for Swift.
Those who don’t follow betting lines wouldn’t consider Florida an underdog as the higher-ranked one-loss team. Florida’s loss at LSU is way better than Georgia falling to South Carolina at home. And a win over Auburn by the Gators is more impressive than a close home victory over Notre Dame by the Bulldogs.
Still, Florida isn’t getting much respect in this one or in the college football futures betting market.
DraftKings has the Gators +7500 to win the National Championship, while the Bulldogs are +1400. That’s a big discrepancy and partly a result of Georgia’s No. 3 preseason ranking. There’s still a level of reputation there. We expect that to take a big hit Saturday in Jacksonville.
Florida still doesn’t seem to be getting much national respect, but that’ll change this week with another big upset win.