Florida Gators vs. Miami Hurricanes Pick 8/24/19
Florida Gators (0-0) vs. Miami Hurricanes (0-0)
When: Saturday, August 24, 7 p.m. EST
Where: Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Fla.
Point Spread: FLA -7 (BetNow)
Total: O/U 50.5
Outlook For Week 1
Florida is coming in with a lot of hype after finishing the season strong last year and earning a 10-win season, beating a depleted Michigan squad to clinch the tenth victory. Miami, on the other hand, played well in the first half of the season, but was never the same after a loss at Virginia, dropping four of its final six games, including a listless defeat against Wisconsin in the Pinstripe Bowl. While the Gators are coming in with a lot of hype, the Hurricanes face an uncertain future with their quarterback situation and a first-year coach in Manny Diaz.
How the Public is Betting the Florida/Miami Game
The line has moved from Florida -7.5 to Florida -7 since the opening. At that price, 53 percent of gamblers are backing the Gators.
Linebacker Brenton Cox recently transferred from Georgia and is not expected to be eligible for this game. Wide receiver Tyree Cleveland is expected to return after missing last season with a broken collarbone, as is defensive back Marco Wilson, who suffered a torn ACL last year. Linebacker David Reese and defensive back C.J. McWilliams have ruptured their Achilles and are expected to miss the season.
Wide receiver Jeff Thomas is out indefinitely recovering from a procedure on his knee. Running back Lorenzo Lingard is questionable with a knee injury.
When Florida Has the Ball
Feleipe Franks has got to be better from the quarterback position. The Gators’ signal-caller has shown the ability to make plays with his legs, but his arm didn’t scare many in the SEC last season. He was held to 200 yards or less through the air in seven of 12 games last year, and Vanderbilt was the only SEC opponent to allow Franks to gain more than 250 passing yards.
That means the Gators are likely to hand the ball to Lamical Perine to try to get a running game established early and help Franks settle into the offense. Perine is a genuine breakaway threat, but too often last season, the Gators lost him when they either got behind or chose to feature Jordan Scarlett as the primary back. Scarlett’s in the NFL with Carolina now, so Perine has to become the man in the backfield for the Gator offense to get going. Miami’s run defense was mediocre last season, so there’s an opportunity there for Florida.
When Miami Has the Ball
So it’s not Tate Martell, and it’s not N’Kosi Perry who’s going to be under center. Instead, it’s redshirt freshman Jarren Williams who gets the call as the first big decision of the Manny Diaz era. Truthfully, the decision goes to Dan Enos, the new offensive coordinator. Enos comes from Alabama, where he trained Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa and got a large amount of success out of both, so if he can get anything similar out of Williams, the Hurricanes will be in great shape.
Even if he doesn’t, any improvement will be welcome given just how weak Miami’s passing attack was last year, as the Hurricanes averaged 167.3 yards per game to finish 112th in the nation. If Miami’s going to do anything, DeeJay Dallas has to become the man out of the backfield. He was a solid runner last year alongside Travis Homer, and he’ll have to shoulder a more significant load as the Hurricanes attempt to find a passer. This is the wrong game to try to find one, however, as Florida picked off 14 passes last season. In fact, given that both of these teams ranked in the top 25 in interceptions, passing might be at a premium in this game.
Florida has done well against the spread when it has ventured outside the SEC, winning all five of their games against non-SEC competition ATS. However, the Gators don’t play particularly well on FieldTurf, having lost ATS in six of their past seven games on the surface. Miami has won six of the past seven against Florida, but the teams haven’t met since 2013 and have only met twice in the past 15 years. The concerning number for Miami is its 1-9 performance ATS in its previous ten neutral-site games.
The high is expected to be 89 degrees, and thunderstorms could be in the forecast, which could lead to the game being moved up to avoid the possibility of a lightning issue.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
I am not high on Florida this season. I don’t think the Gators’ offense is anything to write home about, and I don’t believe so Franks has taken that next step to make Florida’s offense something that can actually win games instead of not losing them. Plus, I think there’s going to be regression toward the mean in the turnover battle for Florida this year, which will cost the Gators.
But at the same time, I’m not high on Miami either. Florida might have problems at quarterback, but at least the Gators have a quarterback. Miami doesn’t have anyone it can trust with its offense at this point, and Florida can play defense pretty well. That’s a bad combination for a Hurricanes squad that will be trying to find itself and avoid an 0-2 hole with North Carolina coming up the week after.