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FLORIDA AT VANDERBILT

11/08/08

3* Vanderbilt +24 over Florida - No question it's incredibly tough to go against Florida. A potential National Championship team. A team that really hasn't played a close game all year with the exception of 3 quarters against Miami and a loss to Ole Miss. Not only have they blown teams out but look at the teams they have blown out. Specifically LSU and Georgia. Now we have Vanderbilt, a team that hasn't scored more than 14 points in a game for 4 weeks straight going up against one of the best offenses in the land. Rarely will we ever back a team that we don't think can win a game straight up. That's really our M.O. Backing good dogs we think can spring outright upsets, or small priced favs. Do we think Vanderbilt can beat Florida? It's possible. It's just not likely. So in this spot, we're likely asking Vandy to stay within the number. But hey, a straight up win? Dare to dream.

There are some interesting things we can point to when making a case for Vandy. Let's start with the pointspread of recent Vandy- Florida games. Now remember, Florida has had some pretty good teams over the years, including a National Championship team in 2006. Yet in the last 6 years, Florida has never been a 24 point favorite against Vandy. The last 4 times they have played, we saw lines of -14.5, -16.5, -18.5 and -11.5 all with Florida being favored. This is significant because Vandy covered 2 of the last 3 games and there is little doubt that this Vandy team is better than any of the past years teams. Furthermore, if you gave Vanderbilt 24 points in each of the last 16 games between these two, Vandy would have gone 11-5 against the spread. They also would have covered 5 of the last 6 if given +24.

 

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Again, we have brought it up all year, Vandy hasn't had a winning season in 25 years yet they have sprung upsets and played very well against the very best the SEC has thrown at them, at times. They have even given Florida a run for their money as recently as 2005 and 2006 with scores of 25-19 and 49-42. Both losses. Both very close. Again, this is significant because we want to see if the talent that Vanderbilt can put on the field is capable of competing with the talent that Florida puts on the field. We don't have to look far to get that answer as illustrated above and it's a big yes. So why not in a year that may be the best in 25 years for Vandy?

Of course it never hurts to have other motivational and psychological factors on your side and it just so happens we do in this game. Let's start with a potential flat spot for the Gators. Yeah, they destroyed Georgia last week in a game that Georgia really never had a chance in even before the game started. That was a HUGE revenge affair that Florida was sky high for. Once that game started going Florida's way the snowball affect took over. They could play next week and you'd see a much different game. But it is what it is and the point is, Florida was Sky High. It's tough to get college kids sky high week after week. Especially for an opponent like Vanderbilt. There's no revenge, nothing special, it's just Vanderbilt. It's a natural flat spot.

Vandy on the other hand has plenty to be excited about. They are getting all kinds of attention not generally given to Vanderbilt football. The ESPN crew will be there once again, and it's a night time, prime time affair with the nation watching. We mention this because it does matter. Realize that a team can play way over their heads under the right circumstances. Those circumstances being, a huge game with plenty of SEC significance, as both teams still in the hunt, as well as the aforementioned National TV audience. Here's a direct quote from one of the Vandy Captains :

"We're excited about being at home you know. ESPN's coming again, it's a night game, we're excited. It's good for the campus life and community around here, so we're excited about it. Nationally televised game again, we're going to be fired up and ready to go."

Vanderbilt will win at least 6 games this year and will go to a Bowl game for the first time in 25 years (they have Kentucky, Tenn and Wake Forest left). It would be wild if they could accomplish that against Florida. That would really make this a season to remember. Having come close before, it's not out of the question. Either way you have to assume this will be their best effort to date this year. Vanderbilt has the type of team to keep this one within the number. They haven't allowed more than 24 points in a game all year long. At home they haven't given up more than 21. They don't have the horses on offense to go toe to toe with the Gators (although they did go toe to toe 3 years ago) but they do have a defense that's comparable.

Huge game, huge crowd, excitement on campus, potential Gator letdown, best Vandy team in years, a good defense, looking for a Bowl game, tight games in the past, it all adds up to a game that ends up being closer than the big spot. Vanderbilt + 24

P.S. Florida lost to Ole Miss at home. Guess who beat Ole Miss at Ole Miss? If you said Vanderbilt, you win!

 

**Note  - Big Al is currently the #1 ranked College Football handicapper at Bettorsworld's Free Sports Monitor and he has two HUGE games this Saturday. Check em out!


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