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Florida

vs.

Kentucky

College Football

Free Pick

9/23/17

The SEC East has suddenly turned into a division that almost any team can win. Kentucky and Vandy put their hats into the ring after recent road wins, while Florida and Georgia remain the frontrunners. But that could quickly change yet again if the Wildcats can pull off another upset. The Gators were slim -2.5 point road favorites early in the week at 5Dimes Sportsbook.

While Kentucky could pull of the upset, it can’t be forgotten that Florida has won the last 30 meetings in this series. That includes last year’s beat down with the Gators winning 45-7. That will likely be what a lot of bettors look to for this game as these teams aren’t much different from a year ago. Of course, that was early in the 2016 campaign and Kentucky went on to upset teams like Louisville and Miss. State throughout the year, so maybe it’s not a good result to use to predict this game.

Still, the Gators defense is the best unit between these teams and that’s a good enough reason to take Florida, even on the road. Their defense did whatever it wanted in that meeting, holding UK to 3-of-14 passing with three interceptions, while the Cats managed just 2.8 yards per carry. And so far, that defense has been just as good, already with three interceptions turned into touchdowns.

Kentucky quarterback Stephen Johnson has come a long way since then as that game was actually when he overtook Drew Barker for the starting gig. With a viable quarterback that isn’t turning the ball over, the Wildcats have a guy that can at least keep the chains moving. Johnson should be much better than what Barker did in the last meeting as Barker threw all of the interceptions. Johnson also adds the running element to the offense, which has helped in early wins as he already has 132 rushing yards. Along with Benny Snell, that ground game is what helped Kentucky beat South Carolina last weekend. Florida may be a step up in defense, but if the Wildcats can bring that same offense to this game, they should produce a bit more than the last time these team’s met.

If that’s the case, Florida will need a lot more from its offense because it’s still a big unknown for them. The Gators couldn't do anything against Michigan and then scoring 26 points on Tennessee is by no means great, especially since they only had six points in the first three quarters and needed a prayer to win the game. Freshman Feleipe Franks has the quarterback job won, but he still comes with questions. And with a running game that remains poor at 3.2 yards per carry, the Gators may not surpass 20 points in this game. It also doesn't help that Jordan Scarlett and Antonio Callaway are still suspended.

After keeping in check what is probably a better offense in South Carolina, there’s no reason the Cats can’t hold down Florida to less than 20 points if not less than 10. The Gators come into this one as road favorites because of a dominant defense, but with how the offense has looked, it’ll be extremely tough to back Florida as a road favorite in any game this season. Kentucky +2.5

 

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