The #9 overall Florida Gators (2-0) travel to Lexington in Week 3 for an SEC East showdown with the Kentucky Wildcats (2-0). Kickoff is set for 7:00 PM EST on Saturday, September 14th at Kroger Field and the game will be televised on ESPN.
Taking a look at the Week 3 college football odds, Kentucky opened as an 8.5-point home underdog earlier this week. That line has moved slightly after early betting, as the Wildcats are currently listed at +8. The total for the game is sitting at 50 points.
Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: Kentucky vs Florida
Florida improved to 2-0 overall last weekend after crushing TN-Martin 45-0 at home. The Gators jumped out to an early 17-0 lead and never looked back, holding the Skyhawks scoreless en route to a convincing victory. QB Feleipe Franks was extremely efficient, going 25/27 for 270 yards and two touchdowns. Franks also had a solid day on the ground, rushing six times for 37 yards. WR Van Jefferson was the other big contributor for Florida on offense, catching four passes for 94 yards and a touchdown. Overall, the Gators gained more than 500 total yards and scored six touchdowns against a below average TN-Martin program.
The Gators defense obviously played extremely well against the Skyhawks, as they didn’t allow their offense to score a single point. Florida looked pretty much flawless against both the pass and the run, causing several turnovers and not allowing TN-Martin to gain even 200 total yards. , limiting the offense to just over 200 total yards and just one touchdown. TCU was outstanding against the pass in particular, as they didn’t give up a single touchdown through the air and forced two interceptions.
Kentucky also won their second consecutive game to open up the 2019 season last weekend, cruising past Eastern Michigan 38-17. The Wildcats offense really played well, scoring two quick touchdowns in the first quarter. QB Terry Wilson Jr. had the most throwing attempts but couldn’t find the end zone, going just 14/26 for 114 yards. However, he did chip in on the ground, carrying the ball eight times for 43 yards and a touchdown. Sawyer Smith found a little bit more success through the air, going 5/9 for 72 yards and two touchdowns. The dynamic duo of Kavosiey Smoke and Asim Rose were extremely had a huge impact out of the backfield, combining for 174 rushing yards and two touchdowns. As a whole, Kentucky accumulated more than 450 yards of total offense and scored five touchdowns.
The Wildcats defense hasn’t been as quite as strong as their offense over the first few weeks of the season, allowing a combined 41 points in two games. They weren’t exactly facing offensive juggernauts either, as Toledo and Eastern Michigan barely finished above .500 in 2018. Eagles QB Mike Glass III had a massive game in Week 2, torching Kentucky for 337 passing yards and two touchdowns.
NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: Florida -8
While these conference battles are always filled with extremely high intensity, I don’t think that Kentucky will be able to keep up with the Gators in this one. Even though the Wildcats get to play at home on Saturday, their defense simply hasn’t been strong enough to make me think that they will be able to stay within striking distance of the Gators for four quarters. The biggest difference between these two schools right now is their play defensively – Florida has only given up two touchdowns over eight quarters while Kentucky has already allowed five. The Gators offense also seems like it is a lot more balanced, as Franks can burn teams through the air or on the ground while it seems as if the Wildcats offense is only really dangerous when they are able to run the football effectively.
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While Kentucky was able to keep it simple against Eastern Michigan and just pound the football, I don’t think it will be quite as easy to recycle that game plan here in Week 3 against Florida. The Gators are currently ranked 14th overall nationwide against the run, giving up just 70.5 yards per game on the ground. Throw in the fact that they are 9-3 ATS over their last 12 meetings with Kentucky – and 19-1 straight up over their last 20 meetings – and I think that laying anything under 8.5 points with the Gators in this spot is a good value. I’ll take the road favorite to cover on Saturday evening despite playing a tough SEC rival.