Pick – Analysis
This Game took quite the turn on Monday when Florida quarterback Will Grier was suspended for the season for taking PEDs. The Gators have improbably started the season undefeated and are ranked No. 8 in the nation. While LSU may not be much better at quarterback, at least it has more experience this season. At home, the Tigers are a -9.5 point favorite as of Tuesday at mybookie.ag.
While Grier is out at Florida, that doesn’t mean the Gators are completely screwed. They’ll go with Treon Harris, who has some starting experience from a year ago and was beat out by Grier at the beginning of this season. Harris has a bit more mobility than Grier and that’s the main thing the LSU defense will have to prepare differently for, even though coach Jim McElwain said they wouldn’t change too much in strategy. Harris was 55-of-111 passing the ball last year, but ran it a ton and picked up 332 rushing yards on 75 carries. Obviously, he’s not as accurate throwing the ball, but could make up for that with his legs.
Despite also being undefeated, LSU’s defense hasn’t played all that well, having allowed at least 19 points in all five Games. Even against lower teams like Syracuse, Eastern Michigan and South Carolina, the Tigers haven’t looked great, which could become a problem against better SEC teams. But with Grier out, how much will that be a factor?
Treon Harris will combine with Kelvin Taylor (438 yards, 7 TDs) on the ground and those two have the task of trying to break down this LSU defense.
The Tigers are 2-3 ATS and the touchdown-plus spread seems a bit big against a Florida team that is playing well. So far, LSU has been able to run through every opponent with the help of Heisman favorite Leonard Fournette, who already has 1,022 yards and 12 touchdowns. However, this will be the best defense that LSU has faced this year.
When the Gators upset Ole Miss a couple weeks ago, they did so by winning the battle on the ground. That will be a little tougher against Fournette and company, but the Tigers don’t really have a great presence through the air. Brandon Harris hasn’t been asked to do much so far, completing 51-of-89 passes for Four touchdowns. If LSU doesn’t have as much success rushing the ball here, Harris may be forced to do a little more in this Game.
With Treon Harris against Brandon Harris at QB, combined with solid defenses, this should be a low-scoring Game. The spread may be a bit big for an LSU team that had trouble winning its only tough Game of the year, at Mississippi State 21-19.
This Game is usually lower scoring, but last year both offenses went off a bit as LSU walked away with a 30-27 road win. That probably won’t happen in this Game, or at least it’s hard to see that happening.
The Tigers have covered Four of the last five in this meeting and the favorite is 5-2 ATS in the last seven. The Gators have covered Four straight, but with Treon Harris at quarterback, that trend may not hold weight.
Our Pick – We often mention that the QB position is the most overrated position on the field in college football, with very few exceptions. Several of Our numbers pointed towards a straight up Florida win. Of course that was WITH Grier at QB.
This Game opened +6 and is currently +9.5 at some books, off the board still at others. We would have taken +6 here, even without Grier. Anything more than +6 is a bonus. Gators +9.5