No. 14 Florida Gators (5-1 SU, 2-4 ATS) vs. Georgia Bulldogs (4-3 SU, 3-4 ATS)
College Football Week 9
Date/Time: Saturday, October 29th, 3:30PM (EST)
Where: EverBank Field Jacksonville, F.L
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: UF -6.5/UGA +6.5
Over/Under Total: TBA
One of the most prominent rivalries in the SEC will be rekindled this Saturday when the no. 14 Florida Gators and the Georgia Bulldogs collide in Jacksonville in what is commonly known as the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. The Gators have had the upper hand in this rivalry winning the last two meetings and winning 20 of the last 26 meetings going back to 1990. This Saturday the Gators will be favorites to extend that streak as they look to keep control of the SEC East.
A Florida victory this Saturday would put the Gators in the driver’s seat in the SEC East with one remaining showdown with LSU to determine who goes to Atlanta to play for the SEC Championship. However if the Gators are defeated, Tennessee would immediately jump to the top spot in the SEC. Therefore not only does this game carry significant bragging rights from a rivalry standpoint but it will carry SEC Championship style implications as it normally does in some form or fashion.
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If you are wanting to know what to expect in this year’s cocktail party game, then it will be a very similar picturesque game as to what we have seen over the last several years between the Florida defense and the Georgia rushing offense. The Gators have consistently fielded talented defenses over the last several years and the same can be said for Georgia’s offenses that have been led by superior rushing attacks. Despite coaching changes at both schools in recent years, the overall makeup of both teams has remained unchanged.
The Bulldogs have a pair of the best running backs in the SEC in the likes of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Both backs have combined for 5 yards per carry on nearly 200 touches for the season. When Chubb has been healthy, he has been fantastic which was seen right out of the gate this season with a 222 yard performance at North Carolina. However, Chubb has struggled with injuries throughout his tenure with the Bulldogs and is just now getting 100% since being nagged with an ankle injury several weeks ago. Despite what the stats may suggest (586 yards, 5 TDs), Chubb is still one of the best tailbacks in the conference and very dangerous for opposing defenses.
In recent weeks, Georgia has struggled to run the football effectively. After losses to Ole Miss and Tennessee, the Bulldogs scored a bounce back victory at South Carolina. However, the Bulldogs were then upset by Vanderbilt at home which really put a bad taste in the mouths of the Georgia faithful that had high hopes for Kirby Smart’s debut season. Now the Bulldogs are in desperate need for a big victory to shake off the doubts of the Smart era. For that to happen, Georgia has to get back to running the football. Defenses have stifled the Bulldogs rushing offense in recent weeks daring quarterback Jacob Eason to throw the football. I think the Georgia coaching staff has been very conservative with Eason which has not helped their running attack. Perhaps by opening up the playbook and making a few throws down the field, it could also get Georgia’s rushing attack back to optimal performance.
I know Florida is going to force Georgia to throw the football this week that is why it is critical for Eason to complete some passes down the field. The Gators are allowing just 3.18 yards per rush and rank 22nd against the run in total allowing 117 yards per game. Florida’s offense is not pretty to watch at times but they are a scrappy bunch that finds ways to move the football. Considering the fact the Bulldogs has been pretty stingy against the run, I would expect to see plenty of action from quarterback Luke Del Rio. Rio struggled a bit in his first game back from an injury with 3 interceptions against Missouri and it will be very important that he gets back on track this Saturday.
Jay's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I would take a hard look at the under once the total is released. I could easily see this game staying in the low 40s and perhaps below. For the side, I like the Gators until Georgia’s coaching staff shows some ingenuity with the play calling. Take Florida -6.5
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