The Kentucky Wildcats host the Florida Gators on Saturday, September 19 in SEC East action. The Gators’ 28-game winning streak over the Wildcats is the longest active streak in the country after Temple ended a 31-game losing streak to Penn State in Week 1.
Florida (2-0) made easy work of New Mexico State (61-13) before struggling to put away East Carolina in a 31-24 home win last week. Kentucky (2-0) edged Louisiana-Lafayette 40-33 in the opener before upsetting South Carolina 26-22 on the road last week.
Kickoff inside Commonwealth Stadium is set for 7:30 EST Saturday night with SEC Network providing the television coverage. Oddsmakers in Las Vegas have installed Florida as a 3-point favorite over Kentucky with a total set of 52 points.
My Early Lean: Kentucky +3
I believe there is a good reason the oddsmakers have listed Florida as only a 3-point favorite over Kentucky despite its dominance in this series. The Wildcats will be highly motivated to put and end to this losing streak to the Gators, especially after coming so close to doing so last year in Gainesville.
The Wildcats were 17.5-point road underdogs to the Gators last season and only lost 30-36 in overtime. They hung 450 total yards on a very good Florida defense in that contest and should have plenty of success on that side of the ball again in 2015. Patrick Towles threw for 369 yards and three touchdowns in the loss, but his three interceptions proved to be too costly.
The Wildcats were 17.5-point road underdogs to the Gators last season and only lost 30-36 in overtime. They hung 450 total yards on a very good Florida defense in that contest and should have plenty of success on that side of the ball again in 2015.
Mark Stoops has put together three straight solid recruiting classes entering his third season in Lexington. He clearly has his best team yet this year with 14 returning starters, including all of the top playmakers on offense in RB Stanley Williams, QB Towles and WR Ryan Timmons.
The Wildcats have been very impressive early. They did only beat Louisiana-Lafayette 40-33 in their opener, but that’s a pesky team from the Sun Belt who gives a lot of teams problems year in and year out. I was most impressed with the Wildcats’ 26-22 win at South Carolina last week as 7-point dogs.
Towles has been solid through two starters with 449 passing yards and three touchdowns against two interceptions. But it’s Stanley “Boom” Williams who has stolen the show. He has rushed for 242 yards and a touchdown while averaging a whopping 10.1 yards per carry. Garrett Johnson has emerged on the scene as the top wideout, catching 10 balls for 130 yards and a score.
Florida’s defense did not look great in a 31-24 home win over East Carolina as 20.5-point favorites. The Pirates even turned the ball over three times, and the Gators still couldn’t put them away. That’s an ECU team that was playing a backup quarterback in Blake Kemp, and yet he still threw for 333 yards and three touchdowns on this Florida defense. The Gators only outgained the Pirates by 40 total yards in the game.
The Gators do have plenty of injury concerns on defense right now, which may be slowing them down a bit. They have three starters on defense who are banged up right now and may not play Saturday. The biggest is CB Vernon Hargreaves, who is dealing with a leg injury and is projected to be the top corner taken in the draft next year. Also hurt are LB Alex Anzalone (shoulder) and S Keanu Neal (hamstring).
The Wildcats are 5-1 ATS in their last six games following a win. Kentucky is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games vs. a team with a winning record. Florida is 2-5 ATS in its last seven games following a win.
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