Saturday’s No. 20 Florida Gators (4-2, 2-2 in SEC) and LSU Tigers (3-3, 1-2) showdown will be the 68th meeting between the long-time SEC co-tenants.
The Gators lead the all-time series 33-31-3. But, LSU stunned Florida last year in Gainesville with a 37-34 upset as 24-point road underdogs. Also, the Tigers have won three straight and four of their previous five meetings. However, the Gators are 4-1 against the spread (ATS) in those meetings.
Florida rolled the Vanderbilt Commodores 42-0 last weekend and covered as 39-point home favorites. The Gators have alternated between winning and losing their last four games, including a 31-29 loss to the No. 5 Alabama Crimson Tide on Sept. 18.
LSU are losers of two consecutive games (outright and ATS) vs. the Auburn Tigers, 24-19, as 3-point home favorites, and at the Kentucky Wildcats 42-21 as 2-point underdogs. Tigers WR Kayshon Boutte is tied for the most receiving TDs in college football (9), and edge rusher BJ Ojulari leads the SEC in sacks (5).
Florida is 3-3 ATS and 2-4 Over/Under (O/U), whereas LSU is 2-4 ATS and 3-3 O/U this season. According to USA Today’s Jeff Sagarin, Florida has played the 32nd-toughest strength of schedule, and LSU has played the 19th-toughest.
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- Opening Line: Florida -11
- Current Line: Florida -11.5
- Over/Under: 59.5
- Location: Tiger Stadium
- Start Time: Saturday, October 16, 2021, noon ET
Florida head coach Dan Mullen took over the program in 2018, and the Gators are 33-11 overall in Mullen’s tenure. Since 2018, Florida has been second in cover rate in SEC games (behind LSU) at 18-12-1 ATS and is 6-6 ATS as a road favorite.
Ed Orgeron replaced former LSU head coach Les Miles midway through 2016. Since Orgeron’s first year on the job, LSU is just 12-13-2 ATS at home but is 14-9-1 ATS vs. ranked teams and an SEC-best 23-13-2 ATS in conference games.
The market is barreling into Florida and the Over at a nearly 90% clip for both (according to Pregame.com). However, the Gators’ price has only moved up a half-point, and the current 59.5-point is the same as the opener. My takeaway is that the oddsmakers are comfortable with their listed prices and welcome more pro-Florida and pro-Over money.
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Initially, I had sticker shock after seeing Florida -11.5 at Death Valley vs. LSU. I was writing this whole spiel about it being an excellent buy-low spot for LSU. But, after reading up on each team’s injury report, the pricing made sense. LSU announced earlier this week that Boutee and CB Derek Stingley Jr. are sidelined with injury indefinitely.
As mentioned previously, Boutee leads the nation in TD catches and will be one of the first wide receivers off the board whenever he enters the draft. Furthermore, Stingley was projected to be the first cornerback selected in the upcoming NFL Draft.
On top of that, Florida expects three starters to return from injury this week, including Second Team All-SEC cornerback Kaiir Elam. Boutee had a team-high 108 receiving yards and added one receiving TD in LSU’s upset over Florida in 2020. In addition, the Gators should be in good shape defensively, with Elam returning to action and Boutee not available.
Furthermore, LSU’s offense is already one-dimensional. The Tigers rank 119th in yards per rush (2.8) and 127th in non-garbage time rushing predicted points added (PPA). Also, Florida’s defense ranks 22nd in both yards per rush allowed (3.2) and non-garbage time rushing PPA.
Finally, LSU’s defense has gone from weak to weaker with the loss of Stingley. Even with a bonafide lockdown corner and a plethora of four- and five-star recruits. LSU’s defense ranks 72nd in total efficiency by Football Outsiders, 102nd in drive efficiency, and 94th in points per drive.
PICK: Florida -11.5 (-110 on BetMGM)
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Geoff Clark is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Geoff, check out his archive and follow him @Geoffery_Clark.