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SEC Football Pick
Florida and Georgia will tangle this week in a huge SEC game that will also have national title implications. Florida is a -6.5 point favorite at both Betonline and 5 Dimes with a total of 48. The early betting action at sportsbook.ag is all Florida with 84% of the action so far on the Gators.
Maybe Florida is that good. After starting the season barely making the Top 25, the Gators are currently sitting at No. 2 in the BCS behind only Alabama. Home wins over LSU and South Carolina are the major reasons for their ranking. This past weekend, they destroyed the Gamecocks 44-11. As for Georgia, they haven't been as good as advertised yet, even though they are still No. 10 in the BCS. The Bulldogs last two wins were by only seven and five points against Tennessee and Kentucky, respectively. Not to mention, they were blown out in between those games by South Carolina, 35-7.
As this is an annual rivalry, the game will take place at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, FL. Even without their entire home crowd behind them, the Gators still sit as sizable six-point favorites.
In last year's game, Georgia snapped a three-game losing streak to Florida with a 24-20 win. Aaron Murray didn't have a great day in the win, throwing for 169 yards and two TDs with a completion percentage of 44.1. A big factor in that game was how the Bulldogs held the speedy Florida RBs to negative 19 rushing yards. This year, they will have to find a way to stop the running attack of Mike Gillislee and Jeff Driskel.
In his first season as a starting QB, Driskel has done a lot more than anyone could have imagined. While they aren't making him pass a ton with only 127 attempts, he still has been efficient. Driskel has completed 67 percent of his passes for eight TDs and only one interception. Two weeks ago, he ran for 177 yards at Vanderbilt with three TDs. Last week against South Carolina, he totaled four passing TDs. However they need him, Driskel is getting it done. Also in his first season as a full-time starter, RB Gillislee has been a monster help to Driskel. With 139 carries, he has provided 652 yards and seven touchdowns. In their key win over LSU, he stocked up 146 yards and two TDs.
If Georgia wants any chance, their defense will need to step up. In their past three SEC games, the Bulldogs have allowed over 34 points per game and that includes having trouble stopping the 1-7 Kentucky Wildcats (207 rushing yards allowed) last weekend.
Aaron Murray can only do so much on offense and that was seen in their loss against South Carolina. There's no doubt he's having his best year to date with 1,914 yards, 16 TDs and a 65.3% completion rate, but when faced with a tough defense in the Gamecocks, he struggled. Completing only 11 of his 31 passes for 109 yards and an interception, Murray struggled all night. Florida's swarming defense will not be any different as they are allowing just 12.1 points per game on the season. The Bulldogs rushing game will have to move the ball chains on the legs of Todd Gurley (622 yards, nine TDs) and Keith Marshall (488 yards, five TDs). The two totaled for 76 yards against South Carolina. WR Tavarres King will need to step up big once again with Michael Bennett out for the season due to a torn ACL. King had just one catch against the Gamecocks, but nine for 188 yards against Kentucky.
The Gators have covered in six straight games while the Bulldogs haven't been able to beat the spread in three straight. Florida is also 8-2 ATS in their last 10 neutral site games while Georgia sits at 1-5 ATS in their last six neutral site matches. The over has hit in four of the last five meetings between these teams.
The Gators certainly need to be careful here. You could take a look at the Georgia-Kentucky score from last week and make the assumption that Georgia was looking ahead to Florida. You also have the Gators coming off huge wins over LSU and South Carolina and they could look at that result, and for that matter, a few other Georgia games, and come into this one thinking they'll have an easy time of it. That would be a huge mistake.
But if you're going to handicap this game by the numbers, we see no other way to go than with the Gators. They played a schedule so far that has been about 10 points more difficult than Georgia's yet their numbers are fantastic on both sides of the ball. Yes, they have played 4 common opponents, but the other 3 opponents for Georgia have been Buffalo, Florida Atlantic and Missouri. The other 3 for the Gators have been LSU, Texas AM and Bowling Green. Big difference.
Against those 4 common opponents, the Gators were 4-0 and outscored them 37-12 while Georgia was 3-1 with an average score of 34-27. But keeping that defensive number down, if you consider 27 points down, is the 3 points they held Vandy to. Otherwise, they gave up 44 to Tennessee, 35 to South Carolina and 24 to Kentucky.
Our model says this one is all Gators, predicting a Florida win by anywhere from 14 to 20 points depending on how many games we go back with the stats. We're going to go ahead and lay the number here with what we feel is the better football team, as much as we hate to be on the public side. Just hope for no letdown. Florida -6.5
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