Florida could still be headed to a solid bowl if it takes down Florida State, while the Seminoles are playing to get to a bowl Game. The Gators have had a much better season and that’s why they were -5.5 point road favorites with an over/under of 52 as of Tuesday at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
Last year, both of these teams were miserable and FSU ended up winning 38-22 in Gainesville thanks to three interceptions from Feleipe Franks. This year, the Gators have had much more success with Dan Mullen as head coach. Sure, they have some questionable losses like at home to Missouri and Kentucky, but they also won at Mississippi State and against LSU.
Florida State just picked up its best win of the season, escaping past Boston College last weekend to keep its bowl hopes alive in the first season under Willie Taggart. Otherwise, it’s mostly been a mess for the Seminoles as they’ve had quarterback questions all year and didn’t beat a team with a winning record prior to BC. Yet while the records don’t say it, FSU has a chance in this one and that’s seen in the spread.
Florida’s last Four wins in SEC play haven’t come by more than 10 points and its defense has fallen off, which is why FSU can stay competitive, especially at home. It hasn’t been a great season for Deondre Francois with 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, but he’s still the starter even though James Blackman has looked better in limited appearances. Francois’s only touchdown in his last three starts has come on a 74-yard bomb against BC, but he’s not entirely at fault as the other two Games came against Clemson and Notre Dame. Either way, Francois will have to do something for the Seminoles to have a chance. OUtside of a few big runs, the rushing Game has been non-existent as FSU is at 2.7 yards per carry as a team. Florida’s weakness is rush defense, but that may not matter.
On the other end, it’s almost the same situation because FSU has worse numbers against the pass and is allowing 30.6 points per Game. While Franks has improved for the Gators, that doesn’t mean he’s an easy guy to put money on with a 58.2% completion rate and subpar 7.44 yards per attempt. He has 20 touchdowns, yet eight of those have come against Charleston Southern and Idaho. The Gators have at least been able to run the ball and that’s why they already have eight wins. LAmical Perine and Jordan SCarlett have split carries for the most part as they each have just over 620 rushing yards with both averaging at least 5.4 yards per carry. That’s the main stat outlier in this Game, but again, that’s what FSU does best, allowing just 3.3 yards per carry.
This is a tricky Game to bet since Florida State has won the last five meetings, though it was also favored in all of them. The Gators are 4-1 ATS in their last five out of Conference and 11-5 ATS vs. a team with a losing record. The Seminoles are 3-9-2 ATS vs. a team with a winning record and 7-2 ATS in their last nine following an ATS win. The road team is 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings between these schools and the under is 9-2 in the last 11 meetings played in Tallahassee. The favorite is also 16-5 ATS in the last 21 between them.
Our Pick – Florida -5.5