This was supposed to be a big Game ahead of the season, but that hype has been drained and it’s the one a lot of viewers may try to avoid. This was surprisingly a Top 25 battle last season and the result could look similar to this year’s matchup after the Gators won 16-10 on the road. For this one, Florida is favored at home by just -3 points as seen at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
Last year’s Game was hard to watch as neither offense could do anything outside of a 98-yard touchdown pass the Gators had early in the third quarter, which ended up being the difference. Both teams tried to run the ball and while LSU had more success with 219 yards, that didn’t show up on the scoreboard. With how these teams have looked in 2017, nothing is expected to change between them.
LSU is coming off an embarrassing home loss to Troy, which has most fans already giving up on the season. In their only other SEC Game, the Tigers lost by 30 points to Mississippi State, which doesn’t look great in hindsight as MSU has been handled in their last two Games. At this point, LSU may be fighting just to reach a bowl Game, especially with a loss here as Auburn and Alabama are coming up next.
It’s been somewhat better for the Gators, but since they are only three-point favorites, that’s all that needs to be said. They couldn’t do anything in the loss to Michigan and then needed slight miracles to beat Tennessee and Kentucky. The win over Vandy was nice last week, but the Commodores were coming off a 59-0 beat down at the hands of Alabama.
But due to the ineffectiveness of both offenses, it’s hard to make this spread more than a few points. Florida has been a little better against relevant competition, and freshman Feleipe Franks is locked in as starter after LUke Del Rio got hurt last week. Franks hasn’t done much to instill confidence, but that’s why Florida will use running backs Malik Davis and LAmical Perine as much as possible. Davis has been solid with 7.4 yards per carry and that’s the Gators route to success. LSU’s defense just got ran over by Troy for 206 rushing yards so that’s how Florida will attack.
However, Florida’s defense is in the same boat as LSU’s and hasn’t looked great so far. While they beat Vandy last week, quarterback Kyle Shurmur carved them up at times, which was surprising. But expecting this LSU offense to carve anyone up is a big ask.
Danny Etling got hurt last week, but he should be good to go. Etling hasn’t improved from last season and against the only above average defense he’s faced, he went 13-of-29 for 137 yards against Mississippi State. The bigger issue for the Tigers is that top running backs Derrius Guice and Darrel Williams are both dealing with injuries. Guice missed last week and is questionable, while Williams is likely to play through a bum ankle. The Tigers had success running the ball on this defense last year, but Leonard Fournette isn’t on the team anymore with two lesser running backs that are hurt in his place.
One would expect this Game to be low scoring, but the same was said of the Vandy-Florida contest last week, which easily hit the over. The Gators are the easier team to back as they have healthy running backs and are playing at home. The Tigers are 5-1 ATS in their last six road Games vs. a team with a winning home record, but none of those wins have come this year. The Gators are just 1-7 ATS in their last eight Games following an ATS win.
Our Pick – Close Games the norm in this series. Have to think that if thereis even a remote chance of LSU turning their season around it starts this week. LSU +2