The No. 9 Florida Gators (10-2) are big favorites in Miami Monday night when they take on the No. 24 Virginia Cavaliers (9-4) in the Orange Bowl.
The Gators are 14.5 point favorites in this one, but will they cover the spread? Here’s a preview of the game followed by trends and our predictions, where we’ll tell you how you should bet.
The Cavaliers have the 43rd overall offense in the NCAA, and they are averaging just over 32 points a game. Virginia is led by quarterback Bryce Perkins, who has 3,215 yards passing and 18 touchdowns on the season — but what he has done with his legs has been equally impressive. Perkins has 745 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground, and he could give this Florida defense fits. He is also the Cavs’ leading rusher, so if the Gators contain him, Virginia will be in for a long night.
The Cavaliers enter this game playing quite well, however. They won four straight to end the season before being blown out by undefeated reigning national champion Clemson in the ACC title game. They’re allowing 26.5 points per game on defense, and that could very well be the difference in this game. They’ll need the best defensive effort they’ve had all year if they want over overpower this Florida team.
The Gators are scoring 33 points a game on offense, while allowing 14.4 points on defense. While they have been a well-balanced team overall, their strength has been their defense. They are a top 10 unit, currently ranked 8th in the nation in scoring defense. The Gators have been great against the run, and they’re allowing just under 300 total yards per game, which also ranks in the top 10.
On offense, Florida will be led by quarterback Kyle Trask, who took over starting duties early this season after starter Feleipe Franks went down. Trask has filled in capably, throwing for 2,636 yards, 24 touchdowns and six interceptions. The Gators are gaining over 420 yards of total offense per game, and Virginia is allowing 358.2 yards per game, and I’m thinking Florida will overpower the cavaliers on both sides of the ball.
Game Info, Betting Trends, Odds and Pick
*NOTE: all numbers and percentages that follow are courtesy of Odds Shark.
Time: Monday, December 30 at 8 p.m. ET
Location: Hard Rock Stadium in Miami
Spread: Virginia +14.5
Over/Under: 54.5 points
Odds Shark currently has the Gators winning the game by a projected score of 40-17, with the Gators covering the spread and the total score going over 54.5 points.
Some trends relating to both teams to consider:
- Florida are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games.
- The total has gone OVER in 4 of Florida’s last 6 games.
- Florida are 14-2 SU in their last 16 games.
- Florida are 10-2 SU in their last 12 games this season.
- The total has gone OVER in 5 of Virginia’s last 5 games.
- Virginia are 4-1 SU in their last 5 games.
- The total has gone OVER in 6 of Virginia’s last 7 games this season.
- The total has gone OVER in 5 of Virginia’s last 6 games against an opponent in the Southeast conference.
I’m taking the Gators in this one, and am with Odds Shark all the way here. I like Florida in a high scoring game where they will cover the 14.5 point spread.
Final Prediction: Florida 48, Virginia 21 (Florida -14.5)