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This isn't the position Florida wanted to be in halfway through the season, but there's nothing they can do about it now. The Gators are 4-2 and still have a tough schedule ahead of them. This week it's the undefeated Missouri Tigers, who are coming off a huge win at Georgia. The unfortunate thing for them is that starting QB James Franklin is out for the season. The Gators are -3 point favorites on the road at GTBets.
The senior Franklin will be greatly missed as he was playing unbelievable with 14 TDs and three INTs. Taking his spot is freshman Maty Mauk, who has attempted only six passes in his Missouri career (three last week). Without Franklin, can the Tigers remain one of the top offenses in the SEC? It's going to be hard, especially against a defense like Florida's. Even with receivers like L'Damian Washington (455 yards, seven TDs) and Dorial Green-Beckham (399 yards, four TDs), it won't be easy. The Gators have one of the best secondaries in the nation and Mauk could be in trouble.
Missouri will have to ride the running game as long as possible. They have a nice three-back system going with Russell Hansbrough (391 yards, three TDs), Henry Josey (358 yards, seven TDs) and Marcus Murphy (350 yards, five TDs), but it wouldn't be surprising if the Gators stacked the box against Mauk.
Florida is obviously beatable though, as seen in their two road losses. The offense is a major problem, scoring just over 21 points per game, which definitely isn't going to cut it in the SEC. Missouri has been solid on defense, but still give up points.
The Gators will also look to their ground game because it's almost a given that QB Tyler Murphy won't win this game by himself. RBs Mack Brown (340 yards) and Matt Jones (339 yards) are going to get a heavy workload. Murphy has options in the passing game, but he hasn't done much with them. Solomon Patton provides the speed, while Trey Burton and Quinton Dunbar supply the size. For Florida to win this game, someone on the offensive end has to step up. Otherwise, things could get ugly quick, especially with Georgia, South Carolina and Florida State still on the schedule.
It wouldn't be surprising if this game was a mirror image of last year's 14-7 home win for the Gators. James Franklin tossed four interceptions in that game and Mauk could be in for the same fate. The Tigers actually outgained the Gators by 60 yards, but couldn't do anything about it. If Mauk can get something going against Florida's defense, it would be huge.
The Gators are just 1-7 ATS in their last eight games following a straight up loss, while the Tigers are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 home games vs. a team with a winning road record. It's going to come down to which offense wants it more.
71% of the early betting action at sportsbook.com has come in on the visiting Gators.
With the season ending injury to Missouri QB James Franklin, we'll likely have to sit this one out. But we still like Mizu here. If you compare these teams in all the important statistical categories, Missouri comes up on top in far more of them, albeit against a slight weaker schedule. Our model also has Mizu on top by 1. Missouri +3
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