LSU Tigers vs. Florida Gators Pick 12/12/20
LSU Tigers (3-5 SU, 4-4 ATS) vs. Florida Gators (8-1 SU, 4-4-1 ATS)
When: Saturday, December 12, 7 p.m.
Where: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, Fla.
Point Spread: LSU +23/FLA -23 (BAS - You only have to lay -105 odds there. Such a better deal! Saves you $5 per $100 you’re trying to win!)
Total: O/U 68
For Florida, it’s a chance to return to the SEC championship game, and all the Gators have to do is beat a rival that’s fallen on hard times. LSU has been nothing short of a mess this season, and playing in the SEC certainly doesn’t help matters. The Tigers have managed to cobble together three wins, but a lack of anything resembling a defense will likely have LSU asking its boosters to come up with $5 million in donations so it can ask defensive coordinator Bo Pelini to seek employment elsewhere.
A bad defense is the last thing you want to have when facing this Florida team, but the Gators have really lacked the killer instinct as of late. Florida has been an awful bet for gamblers as of late, as the Gators seemed to think that the job was done when they beat Georgia and essentially wrapped up the SEC East. The Gators have run over Vanderbilt, Kentucky, and Tennessee in their past three contests, but Florida didn’t break 40 points in any of those games. In fact, those three games were the Gators’ lowest-scoring totals of the season, and it’s not as if Tennessee and Vanderbilt are known for playing tough defense. The Gators haven’t been this deep into the season as the favorite in the SEC East in quite some time, and there’s a real concern that Florida might be running out of gas a week before it has to take on Alabama for the SEC crown. Can the Gators get healthy here?
How the Public is Betting the LSU/Florida Game
23.5 points is a lot to ask of any team, and the public seems to have hit its breaking point right there with the Gators. Fifty-one percent of tickets have come in on LSU, which pushed the spread down to -23. The total is holding steady at 68.
Wide receiver Jaray Jenkins (undisclosed), wide receiver Racey McMath (undisclosed), and cornerback Lloyd Cole (foot) are questionable. Wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. (personal) is out for the season.
Linebacker Jeremiah Moon (foot), defensive lineman Jaelin Humphries (undisclosed), offensive lineman T.J. Moore (undisclosed), offensive lineman Hayden Knighton (undisclosed), defensive back Kamar Wilcoxson (undisclosed), and utility player Kahleil Jackson (undisclosed) are questionable. Wide receiver Trent Whittemore (ribs) is out indefinitely.
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When LSU Has the Ball
Having Joe Burrow, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and a host of talented wideouts masked a lot of flaws for the LSU defense, and this Tigers offense just isn’t up to par. Myles Brennan has been acceptable at quarterback, as he’s the kind of quarterback who won’t make many mistakes and won’t beat himself, but that’s not good enough for this LSU squad. The Bayou Bengals need someone who can go out and win the game, and that’s just not where Brennan is at this point in his career.
Nor is Tyrion Davis-Price a strong enough replacement for Edwards-Helaire, and without Marshall around to catch passes, the Tigers don’t really have much of an offense to speak of. The Tigers played their first game without Marshall against Alabama and could only manage 17 points in the contest. Of course, they also managed just seven points against Texas A&M, which says that the LSU offense is just going to be stuck in neutral no matter what it has on the field. But without Marshall, nearly a third of LSU’s passing attack is now on the sidelines, and nobody else on LSU’s roster appears capable of picking up the slack.
When Florida Has the Ball
Like LSU, Florida doesn’t place much of an emphasis on running the football. Unlike LSU, Florida can and will throw the football all day long. The Gators have put the ball in Kyle Trask’s hands and let him go to work all season long, and for the most part, the results have worked out pretty well. Trask has 38 touchdowns against just three interceptions for the season, and he’s been the biggest reason that the Gators have been able to do whatever they want against anyone they’ve played.
The concern is the same concern that reared its head during the Texas A&M game: Florida’s tendency to let its foot off the gas. The only reason that the Gators aren’t undefeated is because Florida let Texas A&M back into the contest, and it burned them at the end. Florida’s past three results have suggested that the Gators just don’t have the killer instinct needed to be a truly great team, and if the Gators don’t get things figured out in a hurry, they’re going to be in big trouble against Alabama. This is a game where Florida needs to put up points to get itself back on track.
Last year was a rarity in this series: an instance of an offensive showdown between these teams. That was life with Joe Burrow and an unstoppable offense, though, and the tradition in this series is normally tough defense and low scoring. Last year’s game is the only one of the past nine that managed to go over the total of this year’s game, as this matchup usually comes in at around 50 points. That’s especially true in Gainesville, as three of the past four matchups in Florida have seen 46 points or less scored.
The under is also a good spot to take advantage of Florida’s irritating trend to play down to the level of its competition: The Gators have gone under the total in four of their past five games as the favorite, and they’re 0-3-1 ATS in their past four against a team with a losing record. However, they’ve done well against LSU, as they’ve covered in four straight against the Bayou Bengals.
By Florida standards, it’s actually going to be relatively cool, as the temperatures are set to drop to 57 degrees with winds blowing east-southeast at roughly five miles per hour.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
Florida is the much stronger team in this matchup, but the Gators lack that killer instinct needed to cover large spreads. Florida is far more likely to get a comfortable lead and then once again let its foot off the gas and allow LSU to hang around for longer than it should.
I really don’t want to bet this game because I don’t trust either team, but I do have an opinion. I’d take LSU and the points. When in doubt, it’s always a good idea to go for the points. Bet your Week 15 NCAA football picks for FREE by scoring a 100% REAL CASH bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $300 at MyBookie! Must use bonus code PREDICT100.
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