Between 1987 and 2017, Florida owned Kentucky year after year. That was, until last season. The Wildcats rode a 14-point third quarter to stun the Gators in Gainesville, 27-16.
Now, the teams renew their yearly league rivalry on Saturday in Lexington as the Wildcats look to make it two straight against Florida for the first time since 1976-77. But the odds are stacked up against Kentucky. Florida is 30-3 in the series when they are ranked.
While both teams are 2-0, Florida has done so against tougher competition in Miami and UT-Martin. And with an early week off, Florida has had extra time to prepare for the Wildcats.
Florida Gators vs Kentucky Wildcats
Saturday, September 14, at 7 p.m.
Kroger Field, Lexington, Kentucky
*All odds and betting info courtesy of OddsShark and originally posted by BetOnline.
Spread: Florida (-8.5 at -110)
Feleipe Franks shined in Florida’s most recent win over Tennessee-Martin, going 25 for 27 with 270 yards and two touchdowns. The quarterback also threw a pair of touchdowns in the season opener against Miami.
The Gators offense is known to be high-powered and last year was no different. Florida was 22nd in the country averaging 35 points a game a year ago and is on pace for that same total again this season.
Behind running back Lamical Perine, Florida’s offense mixes a strong ground game with an efficient passing game. He has rushed just 20 times for 93 total yards this season but is sharing the carries with a host of backs this season.
Defensively, the Gators don’t allow a lot of yards in the air and held opponents under 200 yards per game last season.
The key to Kentucky’s strong season last year was the defense. The Wildcats were 23rd in the nation in total defense allowing 337.9 yards per game.
Most of that came from a strong passing defense, holding opponents to 186.3 yards per game. This year has been different, however, for the Wildcats. Last week against Eastern Michigan, the Wildcats struggled to contain Eagles quarterback Mike Glass who threw for 337 yards.
But Toledo in the opener didn’t have the same success against Kentucky.
Offensively, the Wildcats ground game has churned up yardage in both games this season. Kavosiey Smoke is the leading rusher with 18 carries for 170 yards and two touchdowns over two games. He’ll likely see a lot of the ball against Florida and Kentucky’s success on offense will be influenced by Smoke’s ability to gain big chunks of yardage.
The two teams have put up big point totals this season, each averaging over 30 per game. It could be a game with a ton of offense but also has the potential to underwhelm in that department.
That makes it tough to predict the over/under. But looking at the trends, both teams have been trending over in their most recent games.
This is also a huge proving ground game for Florida against an SEC foe. If the Gators are really one of the top teams in the country, they should win this one handily over a tough Kentucky squad.
Pick: Take the over but go with Kentucky in your pick. There’s a big chance Florida covers but given the game is in Kentucky it could be decided by one possession.