Florida State at Florida
Saturday, 4:30 pm PT - ESPN
CRIS Opener: Florida pk O/U 435
CRIS Current: Florida State -2.5 O/U 43
Florida State has moved to the favorite role for this annual in-state rivalry showdown but I’m not sure it is warranted. It appears that bettors flocking to the FSU side are reacting to Florida’s lackluster overtime win over Florida Atlantic last week.
Both teams' SOS is similar but a closer looks shows Florida has been far more challenged against upper-tier competition and fared extremely well in those games. The Gators scored straight up and ATS wins over Georgia, Ole Miss, and Tennessee. Their lone loss when asked to step up in class was a touchdown defeat in Baton Rouge against an LSU that at the time was undefeated. Florida State meanwhile has played only one team currently in ranked among Sagarin's top 30. That of course was against Clemson as the Seminoles managed to slip under the number but were outgained heavily, 512-361. The Tigers are obviously more potent with the ball compared to the Gators, but it was a similar step-up-in class defensively and the Seminoles struggled mightily to move the football.
After last week’s lethargic performance against FAU, Florida head coach Jim McElwain openly criticized his team’s effort, performance and energy level comparing his team’s lack of energy against Florida Atlantic to that of a “dead fish”. I think we see an appropriate response from the Gators in this rivalry matchup after clearly looking past the Owls. It’s also worth noting Florida State has only played on the road four times this season. They took care of business against the weaker foes beating Boston College and Wake Forest but when asked to step up in class on the highway, it was a different story with the Seminoles losing to Georgia Tech and Clemson.
Florida does have a couple injuries to contend with, most notably on defense with lineman Jonathan Bullard questionable and sack leader Alex McCalister out. Those injuries though are reflected in this line and despite the losses, there’s value with Florida as a home underdog. Unlikely we’ll see +3 across the board but certainly worth the effort, even if you have to lay extra juice in order to secure the key number.