College Football Pick
The strength of the SEC East can be seen in the spread of this Game. The funny thing is that when this Game was originally Schedule, in early October in Gainesville, the Gators could’ve easily been listed as favorites. But a month and a half later and in Baton Rouge, the Tigers opened as -14 point home favorites.
LSU has been a different team since Les Miles was fired, that’s for sure. While they had a couple easy wins immediately after, the Tigers not only beat Ole Miss and Arkansas, but kept the Game relatively close against Alabama. Sure, they didn’t cover against the Tide, but holding them to 10 points was a good result for the defense. That defense will play a big part in covering this Game, as Florida’s weakness comes on the offensive side.
While the Gators have the East locked up, it hasn’t been all that impressive. In Four of their last five Games, they’ve failed to surpass 24 points. A couple weeks ago they were throttled by Arkansas 31-10, the same Hogs team that just lost 38-10 to LSU. Last week, Florida remained uninspired offensively scoring 20 points against South Carolina.
When these teams met last year, it was surprisingly high scoring with the Tigers winning 35-28. LSU won via Leonard Fournette (180 yards, 2 TDs) and that’s the same strategy they’ll take in this Game.
Fournette ran for 98 yards and three touchdowns last Game against Arkansas, but the more impressive thing may have been Derrius Guice’s 252 yards and two touchdowns, highlighted by a 96-yarder. All signs point to LSU following that same strategy with Danny Etling under center. Etling has thrown for just one touchdown in the last three Games to go with two interceptions.
When Florida lost at Arkansas a couple weeks ago, they gave up 223 rushing yards. With that being LSU’s main route of attack, it could be a similar outing.
That means the Gators will have to get on the scoreboard somehow. Unfortunately, it probably won’t come from the ground Game against LSU. The Tigers have a good enough run defense to stop Jordan SCarlett, who has struggled against better defenses all season. That puts the pressure on former backup quarterback Austin Appleby and that’s not the best news. While he did fine against South Carolina, this is a completely different matchup. He still has only played in three Games this season, one of them the loss to Tennessee.
If SCarlett and the running Game can’t find room for the Gators, Appleby will be asked to move the ball by himself and that’s not a guarantee. This could end up being a similar result as the Arkansas Game and that’s why the spread is so high.
The Gators are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 road Games, but 1-3-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. The Tigers are 4-1 ATS in their last five home Games. In this meeting, the favorite is 4-1 ATS in the last five and the same stat can be said for the home team.
Our Pick – Florida +14.5