NCAAF · Fri (12/16) @ 11:35am ET
|Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA|
Our Pick: UFL Florida at 10.5 (-108). Enjoy a $5000 risk-free bet when you sign up with Caesars today!
Florida-LSU is not one of the more talked about rivalries in college football, but it has certainly been one of the more competitive ones over the years. LSU has dominated the series over the last decade, winning seven of the last ten. Of those ten games, eight were decided by eight points or less. But Florida owns a two-game advantage over the life of the series, 33-31-3.
With how both teams are playing, it should come as no surprise that Florida is favored to win. However, when these teams take the field, the last thing that will matter is the point spread. But does LSU really have a shot at extending its win streak over the Gators to three in a row?
So—who are these guys? Is Florida one of those teams that look great on paper because they beat up on lesser teams? Or are they as good as their stat line says they should be? They looked good in their loss to Alabama, but then they lost to Kentucky, too. However, while the loss to Kentucky was surprising and disappointing, as luck would have it—Kentucky is good this year.
After stomping on LSU last weekend, the Wildcats are 6-0 and ranked No. 11 in the polls—which makes the loss not look too bad. But Florida did not lose that game because they got outplayed. Kentucky got one touchdown via a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown and after an interception gave them a short field. Take away those two plays, and Florida probably wins that game.
The Gators just need to do what they do well to beat LSU— run the ball and play defense. So far, they have the third-best rushing game in the country (273.7 yards/game). Factor in their passing game, and they average over 500 yards a game (No. 10 in the country). But the yardage is not translating into points as well as you’d expect (No. 42; 33.2 points/game).
As for the defense, the Gators have been good against the run (108.5 yards/game) but just okay against the pass (208.3 yards/game). However, while they give up over 300 yards of offense a game (28th), they keep teams out of the endzone (No. 9 in scoring, 15.5 points/game allowed).
If the defense and run game live up to expectations, this will be an easy, low-scoring win for Florida.
Struggles were expected last season following the Tigers national championship season. But this season, fans were hoping to see a drastically improved team in the 2021 college football season. However, so far, with their record sitting at 3-3 and 1-2 in conference play, it is hard to say if they have improved at all, let alone ‘drastically.’
Quarterback Max Johnson has not been bad, but he has not been good either (at least not consistently). In LSU’s three wins, he completed 66.7, 74.3, and 63 percent of his passes. But in the three losses, he completed less than 60 percent. It does not help that his offensive line has struggled to protect him (12th in sacks allowed in SEC). They cannot seem to open lanes for the run game, either (No. 127 in the country; 83.3 yards/game).
With how their offense has struggled to move the ball, the defense is often needed to do more than it should have to. While it is not great, it certainly is not bad. They can put pressure on the quarterback (No. 12 in the country in sacks) and do an excellent job of making plays in the backfield (No. 15 in tackles for a loss). But while they can make plays, they are not great at stopping opposing offenses.
Teams are averaging 385.0 yards (No. 73) and 26.2 points (No. 74) a game.
LSU is capable of playing well and did so in their win over Mississippi State. They were not bad in their loss to Auburn; they just could not finish the game. If LSU has a shot, the Tigers will need to play a solid, mistake-free game on both sides of the ball.
Sports Betting Recommendation
While the recent history between these two has featured several close, hard-fought competitive games—this is not going to be one of them. Florida has the manpower and talent to control this game from beginning to end and probably will. LSU has some talent but not enough to compete with a team like the Gators.
If Max Johnson could have a career day in the passing game, it might be worth taking LSU and the points. But with his best receiver, Kayshon Boutte, out for the year, it will not happen.
Go ahead and take Florida against the spread; they will probably win this one by 14+. As for the total, the under is probably the safer bet. Florida will probably score at will but not enough to cover the over on their own. It is hard to say whether LSU will contribute enough to make up the rest.