Following LSU’s stomping of Ole Miss, all eyes are on November 5th when LSU takes on Alabama in Baton Rouge for first place in the SEC West and Georgia hosts Tennessee for first place in the SEC East. But before that contest takes place, both Georgia and Tennessee have to take on division rivals. The Vols host a ranked Kentucky squad, and Georgia travels to Jacksonville to take on Florida in one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports.
Georgia vs. Florida
Line: UGA -21.5
This line actually opened at -22.5 but has already been bet down a point to just over three touchdowns. Regardless, this is one of the biggest spreads we’ve ever seen in this rivalry.
Opening line for Georgia-Florida is 22.5, via BetMGM. Oddsshark database goes back to only 1995 and biggest spread was 19 (2001 and 1995). So this might be a record high for this historic series.
— Jeff Schultz (@JeffSchultzATL) October 24, 2022
Following a massive win over Utah in his first game as Florida’s head coach, Billy Napier and Company have underachieved considerably. They lost in Week 2 at home to Kentucky, lost again on the road at Tennessee, and were walloped at home their last time out against LSU.
The Gators have holes in every phase. Offensively, Anthony Richardson hasn’t come as advertised. He received some first-round love before the season, but despite his ability as a runner, he’s been abysmal as a passer, completing just 56.5% of his passes with more interceptions (7) than he has touchdowns (6). The strength of Florida’s offense is on the ground, as they average over 200 yards per contest. Unfortunately for them, they’ll be up against a stout Georgia run defense, which is limiting opponents to under 100 yards per game on the ground. Providing Georgia can slow down Florida’s rushing attack, it’ll likely be a long day for Florida’s offense.
I don’t see Georgia’s offense having too much of a problem with Florida’s defense, either. The last time out, Florida allowed LSU to run up 42 points on them in just three quarters, and we could see something similar this Saturday. The Gators haven’t stopped the run all season, ranking 111th in rush defense, and we know how much Georgia loves to run the ball. Combine that rushing attack with a few wrinkles, and the Bulldogs should be able to move the ball at will against Florida.
The only way I see this game being within three touchdowns is if Georgia gets caught looking ahead to Tennessee, which will arguably be the biggest game in college football this year. Florida, while they have underachieved, still has talent and this is their Super Bowl. Bill Napier’s first season in Gainesville would go down as a success if the Gators could knock off Georgia, so I’m expecting them to put their best foot forward. I just don’t think it will be enough.
While we as fans may be overlooking this matchup, Kirby Smart isn’t the kind of coach that is going to allow that. He bleeds red and black and knows as well as anybody what this rivalry means. From the players to the coaches, these two teams hate each other, and I expect to see that come out this weekend. A focused Georgia squad with two weeks to prepare should have no problem covering this number, setting up a showdown in Athens next week featuring two of the best teams in the country.
The Pick: Georgia -21.5