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The Florida Gators saw their College Football Playoff hopes crash last week but still have a lot to play for as they host the Vanderbilt Commodores Saturday in an SEC East showdown. Florida suffered a 24-17 home loss to Georgia over the weekend that dropped them out of the national conversation and into second place in the East. The Gators should have an easier time against last-place Vanderbilt, who is 0-3 on the road.
Florida's offense runs through junior quarterback Kyle Trask, who has thrown for 16 touchdowns and four interceptions this season. He accounted for nearly all of Florida's 278 yards of offense against Georgia. The Gators boast one of the best defensive units in the country. The group should have its way against a Vanderbilt offense that that ranks 123rd nationally with 17 points per game.
Vandy looks to pull stunnerVanderbilt appeared headed in the right direction when it upset No. 22 Missouri three weeks ago 21-14. Looking back, the momentarily belief in the Commodores feels short-sighted. Missouri wasn't very good to begin with, and certainly neither is Vanderbilt. The Commodores confirmed that last weekend with a 24-7 loss to South Carolina. Derek Mason's team managed to put up just 189 yards of offense. Somehow Vanderbilt actually led 7-0 midway through the second quarter.
The Commodores' issues begin with the quarterback, where they've lacked any real pocket presence. Senior Riley Neal has six touchdowns to four interceptions and suffered a concussion against South Carolina. His status for Saturday is questionable. Backup Deuce Wallace threw for two interceptions and 30 total yards in relief. Regardless of who starts against Florida, the Commodores could be in for a lot of trouble against a fine secondary.
Vanderbilt allows 32.4 points per game. The defense has played better in recent weeks, but this is the same unit that allowed 66 points to LSU at home. The fact that they've been a beneficiary of a light schedule since then doesn't mean they'll come out and play well Saturday.
Florida hopes to reboundThe Florida Gators will have to wait at least one more year to see their names in the discussion of College Football Playoff candidates. Dan Mullen's group is a bit short of competing for an SEC yet alone national title, but the Gators are still a mighty talented team. Junior quarterback Kyle Trask is overlooked by his counterparts at Alabama, Georgia and LSU, but has put up nice numbers: 16 touchdowns to four interceptions and a quarterback rating that ranks 11th in the country. Trask should be able to carve up the Vanderbilt secondary.
If the Gators have a glaring weakness, it might be their running game. Florida ranks 107th with 128.9 rushing yards per game. Senior running back Lamical Perine has 491 yards and four touchdowns on the ground but has been held to under 70 yards in each of the last three games.
The Florida defense is one of the best in the country at limiting points. The Gators allow the 11th fewest points in the country at 16.7 per game. The unit has accounted for 29 sacks including four from senior linebacker Jonathan Greenland. Greeland also has an interception and a forced fumble.
- Gators are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following an ATS loss.
- Gators are 4-0 ATS vs. a team with a losing record.
- Gators are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 conference games.
The supporting trends for this game, found on Covers.com, are:
- Commodores are 1-4 ATS in their last five conference games.
- Commodores are 1-4 ATS in their last five games on grass.
- Commodores are 1-8 ATS in their last nine games overall.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Florida Gators have already blown out one team from Tennessee at home this year when they took down the Volunteers 34-3. Vanderbilt resembles Tennessee more so than any team Florida has faced since. And with the Commodores missing their starting quarterback due to a concussion, I expect the Gators to take advantage and win in a rout. UF quarterback Kyle Trask is one of the most efficient players at his position in the country. He'll have his way against the Vanderbilt defense. Go with the Tigers here.
Prediction: Florida Gators -26.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Florida is certainly going to put up a lot of points Saturday, but I don't expect the opposition to draw enough blood for this one to go over. Vanderbilt will be playing backup quarterbacks who'd struggle in any environment yet alone The Swamp. Florida's defense has 29 sacks this year, and I expect them to apply a lot of pressure all game. While the Gators will likely score somewhere in the 30s, don't count on Vanderbilt's offense to carry much water. This one is heading under.
Prediction: Under 49