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It's been a whirlwind for the No. 7 Florida Gators recently and now their wild season will continue with a game against No. 5 LSU in Death Valley. The game is one of four matchups between ranked teams in Week 7 and potentially the best. After all, it's the only one that features two teams without a loss so far in 2019.
Kickoff for the game is set for 8:00 P.M ET and ESPN will broadcast it nationally in primetime.
Last year, the two legendary programs met in similar circumstances. Both were ranked at the time last year, with Florida, then ranked 22nd, beating LSU, then ranked 5th, by a 27-19 final score. That game was thrilling and it's a lock that this year's version will be as well.
Gators Have QB ConcernThe Florida Gators haven't lost a game yet this year, winning all six of their games so far. Four of their wins have come against Power-5 programs, including in-state rival Miami and three SEC rivals. Their most recent win was their most impressive, a 24-13 triumph over No. 7 Auburn.
Having said that, the Gators have had bad luck with injuries. Their starting QB, Feleipe Franks, went down for the year in mid-September. His backup, Kyle Trask, played well in his place but he also went down. Trask was hurt against Auburn in the first half, forcing Emory Jones into a bigger role, though he would return in the second half.
Speaking to reporters, head coach Dan Mullen said Trask (sprained knee) is "progressing along nicely."
Trask added that his knee is "getting better every single day" and that "the pain is kind of going away now," via ESPN.
So far, Trask has completed 72.2 percent of his passes this year with seven touchdowns and two interceptions. Jones, a freshman, is a change-of-pace QB for the Gators and could see more action with Trask recovering. He's averaging over eight yards per carry but just five yards per passing attempt.
LSU Offense Looking GreatThe LSU Tigers football team is also undefeated this year, winning all five of their games. They have beat No. 9 Texas, SEC rival Vanderbilt on the road, and three non-Power-5 programs. This game against Florida, which will be played in Death Valley, is their most important game of the season so far and one that's must-see television.
On the strength second-year starting quarterback Joe Burrow and second-year offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger, the LSU offense looks better than I've ever seen. The Tigers lead the nation in points per game (52) and Burrow, an Ohio State transfer, is playing near-flawless football. He's tied for the second-most touchdown passes in college football and third in passer efficiency. He's making big plays and driving the ball down the field, averaging 11.5 yards per attempt (third-highest in the nation).
On the other side, their defense has allowed a lot of big plays this year and against Power-5 opponents, they've allowed 38 points per game. The Gators aren't elite offensively so if the defense can get pressure and avoid big gains, they will have their best performance of the year.
- 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games vs. teams w/winning records.
- 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
This is going to be a close game for awhile but by the third quarter, LSU will start pulling away. They will have their raucous fanbase behind them which will definitely hinder the performance of Kyle Trask and Emory Jones. Combined, the two have just three starts between them and neither is an elite quarterback talent. This is the hardest place either will have ever played and that will help the LSU defense, who has allowed just 23 points in three home games this year. On the other side, the Florida defense hasn't seen an offense like that of LSU yet this year. The Tigers win this game by 20+.
Prediction: LSU -13
Full-Game Total Pick
The LSU Tigers have been running roughshod over opposing defenses this year, but they have not faced a defense close to the one they will face in this game, so I will not look for the top-scoring team in the nation to pile on the points here. The Gators have issues at QB and they will not play an uptempo game here. The Gators have averaged 32.3 ppg this year, but they scored just 24 on a tough Auburn defense last week and LSU has allowed just 19.8 ppg on the year. These are two very good defensive teams in a huge matchup on Saturday night and that should lead to a lower scoring game than expected.
Prediction: Under 55.5