Miami Hurricanes vs. Florida Gators Preview and Pick

Miami Hurricanes, +23, o/u 57 @ #5 Florida Gators, -23, o/u 57, Florida Field, Saturday, 8 p.m. Eastern, Gainesville, Florida
By Oracle of

Saturday marks the first time inter-state rivals Miami and Florida get together since 2004 when Miami rolled the Gators 27-10 in the Peach Bowl. However, it’s a bit odd when that isn’t the first thing that comes up at the water cooler when Gator fans and Hurricane fans talk about the highly anticipated match up.

Instead, the conversation quickly moves to the health of the Florida Gators.

Florida, the fifth ranked team in the country, manhandled Hawaii who is nowhere near their BCS prowess from a year ago 56-10 with two of their best players out with injuries.

Obviously the Gators have Heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow, but he alone can’t take Florida to the Promise Land. The Gators did all of their damage without the likes of speedster Percy Harvin (ankle), who led the team in receiving last year and was second on the squad in rushing yards, and starting linebacker Brandon Spikes (toe).

In fact, even Tebow didn’t have a Heisman-like day against Hawaii, as he threw just 14 times for 137 yards and a score – all career lows as a starting quarterback. He also rushed just nine times for 37 yards. Tebow didn’t even see the field toward the end of the third quarter, being replaced by backup Cam Newton.

The Florida offense is that much more dangerous with Harvin in the lineup, while the defense gets stronger with a healthy Spikes. As of now, head coach Urban Meyer said that both Spikes and Harvin are expected to play against Miami on Saturday in Gainesville, where kickoff is set for 8 p.m. Eastern.

The health of these two players will play a bit of a role for bettors in this match up. The line opened up with Florida huge favorites -23 at most sportsbooks, although that number has dropped at least a full point already. Meanwhile, the over/under opened at a rather lofty 57 points, but has significantly dropped to 52.5 at Pinnacle among other sportsbooks. The over/under total isn’t too over-the-top though, considering both teams’ offensive outbursts in Week 1.

Speaking of offensive outbursts, Miami might have raised a few eyebrows around the country with their dominating win on Saturday – a 52-7 clubbing, albeit to a much inferior Charleston Southern team.

Miami’s offense hadn’t scored this many points since a 52-7 win over Duke in 2005. The Hurricanes made the most of their new home stadium, as they said good bye to the Orange Bowl last year and hello to Dolphin Stadium this season.

True freshman quarterback Jacory Harris was the star of the game for Miami, as he got the start for the Hurricanes only because highly-touted QB Robert Marve was serving a one-game suspension. Quarterback controversy? As of now, it looks as though head coach is sticking to his guns and making Marve, who missed all of last season after a car accident, the quarterback against the Gators.

Harris had a stellar game in his collegiate debut, going 16-of-26 for 190 yards and a score, while also scampering for a 30-yard touchdown run on a fourth down play to open up the high-scoring affair.

Miami also was stingy on defense, holding Charleston to just 126 total yards compared to their 416.

Miami’s game against Charleston didn’t have a line, while the Gators covered the ginormous -36.5 point spread against Hawaii and finished over the 64.5 over/under.

Seeing as how nobody on either side of the field will have played against each other, it’s easy to say that this game could be a quirky one, especially with what looks to be an energized and revamped Miami squad.

History is on Miami’s side, simply because they haven’t lost to Florida in an astonishing 23 years.

Head-to-head match ups don’t mean anything in this showdown for bettors, considering they haven’t met in four years. Florida has a lot of nice trends on their side heading into this game, including a 5-1 overall record ATS dating back to last season. They’re also 10-2 in their last 12 non-conference games ATS and 8-2 ATS in their last 10 against teams with a winning record.

Considering Miami’s horrid end to last season where they lost their last four games of the year and six of their last seven overall, betting trends don’t fall in their favor.

In fact, the Hurricanes might have jinxed themselves with their offensive fireworks last week, as they’re 1-10 ATS in their last 11 games following a contest in which they scored over 40 points. They’re also 1-6 ATS in their last seven games on grass.

The over/under seems like a nice play for bettors, especially if the line keeps moving down. With their powerful offense, Florida has a ton of over trends, including an 8-1 over record in their last nine games. However, a tricky under trend comes the Gators way when they play ACC teams, as it is 5-0.

Either way, a rivalry will be renewed on Saturday when the interstate squads go head-to-head. The health of Florida shouldn’t be a question any longer and if Miami wants to get out of the doldrums they’ve found themselves in since their last BCS appearance in 2003, a win over the Gators would be a nice start.

Oracle’s Pick: Being it’ll be Robert Marve’s first collegiate game, the rust will show, and on the total opposite end of the spectrum, the experience will show from the Gators. Their 23-year drought will come to an end take Florida minus the points!