These teams have gone in opposite directions the last couple seasons and the spread highlights that more than anything. Florida State was favored in every meeting since 2010 until Florida closed as -8.5 point favorites last season. This year, the Gators were -18 point home favorites with an over/under of 54 as of Wednesday.
Florida did almost whatever it wanted in last year’s 41-14 win. Feleipe Franks threw three touchdowns and the Gators ran for 282 yards as a team while keeping the Seminoles below 300 total yards.
There’s a chance that happens again if Florida’s defense can repeat what it’s done the last two games, allowing six total points. As for Florida State, there’s no telling what team will show up, though its lone win against a team with a winning record is Louisville and that came early in the season.
Overall, Florida’s defense may be the best unit in this game, allowing 14.2 points per game and 3.3 yards per carry. That’s not great news for FSU, who scored 10 points against the last real defense it faced in Miami.
Quarterback James Blackman is the starter once again and FSU fans are unsure if that’s a good thing. He’s been fine, completing 64.2% of his passes for 8.0 yards per attempt, but he’s yet to play well against an above average defense.
The hope is that running back Cam Akers returns from a toe injury because he’s been a small spark in the offense, averaging 4.9 yards per carry for 1,042 yards and 13 touchdowns.
On the other side of the ball, FSU has been mostly bad, allowing 433.2 yards and close to 30 points per game. It’s allowing a solid 3.7 yards per carry, but also roughly 160 rushing yards per contest.
The Gators are somewhat unknown offensively, yet that was the case last year and it didn’t matter in the end. But while they’ve had some down offensive outings, that’s mostly due to playing better SEC defenses like Auburn and Georgia. Of course, they also scored just 23 points at Missouri last game.
The Gators have at least been competent with Kyle Trask at quarterback, as he’s completing 66.8% of his passes on 8.4 yards per attempt for 21 touchdowns and six interceptions. He’s done enough to keep the offense moving, which is enough considering he opened the season as a backup behind Franks.
Otherwise, the ground game has been mostly disappointing as they’re averaging 4.0 yards per carry as a team and top running back Lamical Perine has just 60 yards in the last three games. They’ve tried to mix things up and put run-first QB Emory Jones under center but that’s had limited upside.
This spread is a lot considering Florida’s offense hasn’t exactly exploded this season. Still, their defense may be enough and it wouldn’t be surprising if it was a repeat of last year’s result.
Florida State has failed to cover its last five non-conference games, while Florida has failed to cover its last four following a bye. The favorite has covered in the last four meetings, but the Seminoles have covered the last four played in Gainesville. The road team is also 7-1 ATS in the last eight meetings between these teams.
Our Pick – Under 54.5