Betting Pick: Florida Gators vs. Georgia Bulldogs
No. 9 Florida Gators (6-1 SU, 6-1 ATS) vs. No. 7 Georgia Bulldogs (6-1 SU, 3-4 ATS)
NCAA Football Week 9
Date/Time: Saturday October 27th, 2018. 3:30PM (EST)
Where: TIAA Bank Field Jacksonville, F.L.
By: Jay Horne, College Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: FLA +7.5/UGA -7.5
Over/Under Total: 51
The biggest game of the week will reside on neutral turf when the 9th ranked Florida Gators meet the no. 7 Georgia
Bulldogs in Jacksonville for the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party at TIAA Bank Field. For those outside of the SEC, this annual rivalry between the Gators and Bulldogs is one of the few remaining neutral site rivalries in college football. Unlike some rivalries around college football, this game typically brings out the best in both schools which should be exciting considering both teams are in the midst of SEC and potential College Football Playoffs fight. At 6-1 SU for both Florida and Georgia, another loss would be detrimental to those championship hopes especially for the right to represent the SEC East. Therefore, expect a heavyweight SEC fight this Saturday.
Florida-Georgia Rivalry Notes and Trends
This Florida-Georgia rivalry goes back to 1904, according to Georgia sources, and entails 93 total meetings. The Bulldogs hold the all-time series lead at 51-43-2. However, the Gators have held the upper hand for most of the modern era with a 21-7 SU mark since 1990. The Bulldogs have tilted the scales to their favor with 4 wins in the last 7 meeting including a 42-7 blowout last year which was the largest margin of victory since 2008. In regards to current trends, the Gators have been one of the top money makers for bettors throughout the 2018 season with an impressive 6-1 mark ATS including a streak of 5 straight covers.
Expect fireworks in Jacksonville
I know Florida does not necessarily have the greatest offensive reputation. In fact, the Gators defense and running game has been their strengths over the last several years. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs are on the heels of their worst offensive performance of the season in the 36-16 loss at LSU. In that game, Georgia coughed up 4 turnovers and managed just 322 total yards on offense. Therefore from a situational standpoint, this week’s match-up may appear to favor the defenses to the naked eye as these offenses look to regain confidence and momentum.
The problem with that line of thinking is that this not how these Georgia vs. Florida games typically go. Both teams will be fired up for this one and every year we see a team bring out some wrinkles/gadget plays for the first time in Jacksonville. In recent years, neither team had a ton of offensive weapons to bring to the table to keep the momentum going through all 60 minutes. I don’t expect that to be the case this week. The Bulldogs are balanced with a strong running game and a great quarterback in Jake Fromm. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs defense proved to be vulnerable to the run against LSU and I think there will be some carryover effects with this Florida run game because they present several different looks and directional schemes. Therefore, expect the offenses to put pressure on both defenses as they try to open up the playbook.
Take the points with Florida
I don’t necessarily think Florida is the better team. In fact, I would be flat out lying if I thought that. Georgia has so many offensive weapons and are a dangerous match-up for any defense. However, I feel like this game is a toss-up. Nobody is giving the Gators enough credit and this is basically the game to decide the SEC East. Quarterback Feleipe Franks has not been great but he has been better with 15 scores and just 5 picks on the year. Meanwhile, the Gators will focus on a heavy dose of Jordan Scarlett and Lamical Perine in attempt to shred some holes in that Bulldogs defense. Again the talent level does not favor Florida but this is expected to be a very physical football game which does favor the Gators. I think the points are extra in a match-up that could easily go either way. One last point, Georgia has not played their best football away from Athens and the numbers are pretty lopsided from their home/away splits. If they struggle again early especially on offense, another outright loss is not out of the question.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Florida +7.5