Florida Kentucky Odds
Florida’s 26-game winning streak over Kentucky is now the second-longest active streak in the country behind Penn State over Temple (30 wins). These two will square off on Saturday, September 28 as Florida (2-1) travels to Lexington to take on SEC East rival Kentucky (1-2).
Oddsmakers believe the Gators will expend the streak to 27, installing them as 12.5-point road favorites over the Wildcats. Find out for yourself by tuning in to ESPNU at 7:00 EST Saturday night.
Why Florida Covers
The Gators have no margin for error if they want to contend for a BCS Title in 2013. They already lost at Miami despite thoroughly dominating that game, outgaining the Hurricanes by 201 total yards. This team really should be 3-0 right now with the way it has been owning its competition in the yardage battle. It outgained Toledo by 210 total yards and Tennessee by 162 total yards.
The injury to quarterback Jeff Driskel could be a blessing in disguise. Backup Tyler Murphy replaced Driskel and looked very good against Tennessee. Murphy completed 8 of 14 passes for 134 yards with one touchdowns and no interceptions, while also rushing for 84 yards and a score. Driskel had already thrown an interception that was returned for a touchdown before leaving the game to put the Gators in the hole 7-0. Murphy did a great job of digging them out of it as Florida would outscore Tennessee 31-10 the rest of the way.
Kentucky is a team in rebuilding mode with a 1-2 start and its only victory coming against lowly Miami Ohio. It lost to Western Kentucky 26-35 on a neutral field while giving up 487 total yards. It also lost at home to Louisville 13-27 while allowing 492 total yards. It’s clear that this defense is struggling and will have a hard time containing Florida’s improved offense under the guidance of Murphy.
To say this has been a one-sided series would be an understatement. Florida has won 26 straight games over Kentucky with each of the last five wins coming by 34-plus points. That includes a 38-0 home victory last season as a 23.5-point favorite. The Gators are a perfect 6-0 against the spread in their last six meetings with the Wildcats. Florida is 7-2 against the number in its last nine trips to Lexington. Kentucky is 1-7 against the spread in its last eight conference games.
To say this has been a one-sided series would be an understatement. Florida has won 26 straight games over Kentucky with each of the last five wins coming by 34-plus points.
Why Kentucky Covers
First-year head coach Mark Stoops was an excellent hire at Kentucky. The defensive genius has already made a huge impact on the program by bringing in several very highly touted recruits. He also had 14 starters and 57 lettermen coming back from last season, so the cupboard certainly was not bare. This team appears improved on both sides of the ball already despite the 1-2 start against stiff competition.
Kentucky is actually outgaining its opponents by an average of 123.0 total yards per game on the season. The offense is averaging a whopping 490.0 total yards per game, while the defense is giving up a respectable 367.0 total yards per game. I like what I’ve seen from quarterback Maxwell Smith, who has thrown four touchdowns and no interceptions this season. He is expected to play Saturday as he returns from a shoulder injury, which is huge for the offense.
Florida has opened the season 0-3 against the spread as it has failed to cover against Toledo, Miami and Tennessee. This team could be a bit overvalued after winning 11 games last year. The fact of the matter is that the Gators only returned 10 starters this season and are an inexperienced bunch. One of those starters went down with an injury against Tennessee last week. Jeff Driskel suffered a season-ending ankle injury and the offense has to try and scramble to make up for his absence going forward.
Plays against road favorites of 10.5 to 21 points (FLORIDA) – dominant team – outgaining their opponents by 125 or more yards/game, after outgaining opp by 175 or more total yards in 2 consecutive games are 32-8 (80%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. There’s no question that Kentucky knows about its 26-game losing streak in this series. This may be its best chance to put an end to it as only a 12.5-point home underdog to the Gators in 2013.
My Early Lean: Florida -12.5