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SEC Football Pick
Florida hosts LSU Saturday in a huge SEC clash in the Swamp. The game can be seen at 3:30 pm est. on CBS-TV. LSU is a -2.5 point road favorite at 5 dimes and betonline, down from an opener of -3. The early betting action at sportsbook.ag is as balanced as you can get with each team getting about 50% of the action.
This game will battle Georgia/South Carolina as game of the week with both of them featuring Top 10 teams in the SEC. LSU is still ranked No. 4 and they are still undefeated, but their last couple wins have been very underwhelming. A 12-10 win at Auburn and recently a 38-22 win over Towson. The Tigers did not come close to covering in either of those games and now have their toughest task of the season so far when they travel to the swamp to face the Gators. Florida has covered three straight games including two big wins at Tennessee and at Texas A&M.
I'm sure each team remembers the game from last year at Baton Rouge when the Tigers won convincingly 41-11. The intense rivalry will look to renew itself this year as it's the closest line in this meeting since 2006 when Florida were 1-point favorites. LSU has covered the last two games, but before that Florida covered five straight. The over has hit four of the last five games. It's interesting to see how the complexion of these teams doesn't seem to change much as the over/under in the past 10 years has not wavered outside of the 42 to 50 point range.
Like last year, LSU's offense hasn't been consistent. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger has gotten the job done for the most part and may be called upon to bring in a win against Florida, something he hasn't been forced to do yet. On the year he has 1,016 yards and just six touchdowns. His wide receivers like Odell Beckham (286 yards, two TDs) and Kadron Boone (177 yards, three TDs) will have to make some big plays for him. The Tigers offense is dominated by their ground game. Kenny Hilliard has led the way so far with 53 rushes for 366 yards and six TDs, but he's not their only option. Michael Ford (38 carries) and Spencer Ware (32 carries) will be used often as well, but former starter Alfred Blue may be out for the season with a knee injury picked up a couple weeks ago.
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The Gators defense has improved immensely which is why the Gators are currently ranked No. 10. They went to Tennessee and gave up just 20 points to the highly explosive Volunteers. It will need to do the same against Mettenberger and the LSU rushing attack.
On the offensive side, first year starter Jeff Driskel has been just what the Gators needed on offense. Not only can he run the ball (148 rushing yards), but Driskel has been efficient through the air completing almost 70 percent of his passes. His numbers aren't crazy (698 yards, four TDs), but it's enough. Mike Gillislee is their main ground threat. The senior RB has taken over and run well to start the season totaling 402 rushing yards and five TDs.
We put out Florida as a 3* Key Release on Monday morning. At the time, there were still some +3's on the board. Currently the game is +2.5 across the board. The Gators have played a schedule that has been almost 10 points more difficult than LSU yet still have the better numbers. Their yards per point numbers are 13.3 on offense and a spectacular 23.8 on defense. LSU is 11 on offense and 17.6 on the defense but count North Texas, Idaho and Towson among their wins.
Last year was all LSU, with the Tigers on top 41-11. But that score is not in line with the series history. In fact, that loss last year was the worst for Florida in this series since 1971. It's always important to look at the history between two programs as you can judge the talent each program is able to recruit. Often times you will find one program dominates another year after year. Simply better talent. That's not the case here though. You can go back to 1936 in this series and you won't find too many lopsided scores. Florida leads the series 30-25 with the average margin of victory about -2.5 points.
A closer look at recent series history also shows us that this is a competitive series. LSU was on top in 2010, but by just 4, 33-29. In 2009 it was Florida on top, 13-3 and 2008 it was 51-21 Florida. One program doesn't become 30 points better than another, in one year. This simply shows us that last years result was an exception, not the rule. You would also have to go all the way back to 1980 to find the last time the Gators lost more than 2 in a row in this series.
The Gators are at home, they have a double revenge motive working, they have the better numbers achieved against a stronger schedule, they have the chance to steal LSU's #4 ranking and they are getting a field goal. We'll take it. We put this game out at +3 and have been asked if it's still a play at +2.5. The short answer would be yes. You don't take +3 on a game because you think your team will lose, but "hang" within the number. You take +3 because you think your side will win outright. The points are a bonus. That being said, sports betting is a numbers game, The difference between +2.5 and +3 could have a tremendous impact on your bottom line over the course of your betting career. With +2.5's across the board, there's a good chance you'll see +3 again before kickoff, so wait it out. 3* Key Release - Florida +3
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