Two SEC East rivals will square off Saturday as the No. 9 Georgia Bulldogs (6-1, 4-3 ATS) are set to take on the Florida Gators (3-3, 2-4 ATS). The game will be held at EverBank Field in Jacksonville for a 19th straight year. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 EST and will be televised nationally on CBS. Oddsmakers currently have the Georgia listed as a 13-point favorite over Florida.
The Bulldogs have taken each of the last three meetings in the series, including a 23-20 win last year. Each of the last 4 meetings in the series have been decided by 8-points or less. The last time a team was favored by more than a touchdown was back in 2009, which saw Florida win 41-17 as a 16.5-point favorite.
Early Lean on Florida +13
While it’s been another disappointing season for the Gators, I like their chances of keeping it close against the Bulldogs. These rivalry games tend to be a lot closer than expected and more times than not the value is with the underdog. I believe that’s definitely the case here. Georgia’s only conference wins by at least two touchdowns have come against Vanderbilt and Missouri. They had a bad loss at South Carolina, barely scraped by with a 3-point win against Tennessee at home and only defeated Arkansas by 13-points last week.
While Florida was embarrassed last time out at home against Missouri, losing 13-42 as a 7-point favorite, I actually think that’s a positive for this matchup. The Gators are certainly going to be motivated to redeem themselves after that performance. Florida has had some quality showings this season. They only trailed Alabama by 7-points at the half, won at Tennessee and nearly knocked off LSU. Adding to this, the loss to Missouri wasn’t as bad as the final score would indicate. Missouri only had 119 yards of total offense. The Tigers benefited from four non-offensive touchdowns.
Florida is 29-15 ATS in their last 44 road games when playing with 2 or more weeks of rest, 8-2 in their last 10 overall off a bye and 6-1 ATS in their last 7 off a double-digit home loss.
Maybe the most important thing here is that Florida is coming into this matchup off a bye, giving them a full two weeks to put together a gameplan for the Bulldogs. It’s also worth noting that the Gators have a lot less to lose in this one, which should have them pulling out all the stops to pull off the upset.
Another key to this game is that while Florida has struggled offensively, their defense has performed well. The Gators come in ranked 12th in the country in total defense, allowing just 317.4 ypg. They have been equally impressive against the run (117.7, 22nd) as they have against the pass (199.7 ypg, 26th). This game has a defensive battle written all over it and that only adds to the value here with Florida getting 13-points.
Florida is 29-15 ATS in their last 44 road games when playing with 2 or more weeks of rest, 8-2 in their last 10 off a bye and 6-1 ATS in their last 7 off a double-digit home loss. Georgia on the other hand is just 11-25 ATS in their last 36 off a road win by 10+ points and 2-7-1 ATS in their last 10 after scoring 40 or more points.