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Pick - Trends
The Kentucky Wildcats host the Florida Gators on Saturday and are currently -12.5 point favorites at GTBets, down from an opener of -14. Tyler Murphy will be making his first collegiate start at quarterback for the Gators. With Jeff Driskel out for the season, Murphy is the new face of Florida. He looked just fine last week going for 218 total yards and two total touchdowns.
The betting public doesn't seem to mind who's at QB for the Gators as 75% of the action on this game has come in on Florida at sportsbook.com.
Kentucky only lost 27-13 against Louisville last week, and they were 12-point dogs in that contest. It can be argued that Teddy Bridgewater is one of the best QBs in the nation and they didn't let him do too much damage. Of course, the Wildcats still gave up 242 yards on the ground and that's not going to help at all against the Gators.
Murphy showed last week that he can move the ball on the ground and combining that with Mack Brown is going to be tough for Kentucky to stop. That was the case last year when the Gators reeled off 200 total rushing yards to go with three touchdowns. Driskel was struggling in the passing game in the early season, so it's doubtful that Murphy is going to be a huge step back. He has the receivers in Solomon Patton and Quinton Dunbar to be successful.
Kentucky's main problem is going to be on the offensive end. Starting QB Maxwell Smith left last game with a shoulder injury, but he's apparently all set to go against Florida. Smith has been relatively successful, but a lot of his stats come from the Miami (OH) blowout. He was completing less than 50 percent of his passes against the Cardinals before leaving. Their running game is split between Jojo Kemp and Raymond Sanders. Kemp's had a nice start to the season and leads the Wildcats in rushing. Transfer Javess Blue has also been important in the receiving game, as he leads the team in all major categories.
Of course, we can't forget the demolition from a season ago. Most of Kentucky's problems came in the passing game. Morgan Newton started that game and did not do anything good, throwing for only 48 yards and three interceptions. Smith or Jalen Whitlow has to do better than that because it's going to be tough for Kentucky to run the ball on the Gators front line.
The Gators have been terrible to bet on lately, going 1-8 ATS in their last nine games. Although they are 5-2 ATS in their last seven road games if that says anything. The Wildcats aren't much better with a 1-7 ATS mark in their last eight conference games. This matchup heavily favors Florida as they've won 26 games in this series. That includes covering in six straight games. The last five ATS wins for Florida in this meeting have been point spreads of 14 and above.
Our score prediction model has the Gators winning this game by a score of 24-13. Right on the current number. Which suggests Kentucky has a shot to cover this number. Both teams have dreadful yards per point numbers on offense with Florida weighing in with a 17 and Kentucky with an 18. To put that in perspective, good offensive teams will have a yards per point number of around 12 or 13 generally. As a result, the under 46 may be worth a look as well here, though we generally shy away from totals in the mid 40's. Kentucky has a shot. Kentucky +12.5
***Note - in the real world of sports betting, a sharp player would never bet this game at +12.5 when he could have had +14 earlier in the week. So, if you like Kentucky, you either wait for +14, or pass.***
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