The University of Florida and Ole Miss will both open their 10-game SEC season against each other on Saturday afternoon with the Gators tagged as the 14.5 point favorite. This is actually the first meeting between these teams since 2015, and the first trip for the Gators to Oxford since 2007.
This game will air on ESPN Saturday at 12:00pm Eastern time. Florida compiled an 11-2 record and a victory in the Orange Bowl last year. Ole Miss on the other has a new head coach in Lane Kiffin after finishing just 4-8 last year.
The talk around Florida thus far has been their #5 preseason ranking, and how exciting their offense will be with Kyle Trask returning under center. The Gators averaged a little over 33 points per game in their final 10 games of the year after Trask took over the helm.
For Ole Miss, Kiffin will try to create more offensive balance with a team that was No. 9 in the nation in rushing offense at 251.3 yards per game. A better passing attack could go a long way this year, and instead of starting returning QB John Rhys Plumlee, Kiffin will start Matt Corral under center.
Florida started at -12 but that line has climbed upward where the Gators now stand as a 13.5-point favorite. 62 percent of the bets against the spread have come on the Gators. 72 percent of the moneyline bets have backed the Gators as well.
The over/under has trended downward as the week has worn on. After opening at 60 points, it has steadily went down to the current mark of 57.5 points. A hefty 85 percent of the wagers on the total have gone on the over.
Temperature at kickoff is expected to be in the mid-70s and climbing toward 80 as the game continues. The real-feel temperature for the game is projected for the high-70s at kickoff and rising to the mid-80s as the game wears on. There is no precipitation in the forecast with winds from the south-southwest around five miles an hour with gusts under 10 miles an hour.
Highest Ranking for Gators Since 2012The University of Florida is now under their third year with Coach Dan Mullin. Returning all coordinators and coaches with plenty of starters as well, the Gators find themselves with the No. 5 ranking in the AP poll and the No. 6 ranking according to the Coaches Poll.
There hasn't been this much excitement about a Florida offense since Tim Tebow was on campus. Kyle Trask returns after completing 67 percent of his passes for 2941 yards and 25 touchdowns last year in 10 games. Trask will have plenty of weapons to assist him this year, and one of his logical favorites will be tight end Kyle Pitts. Pitts recorded 54 receptions for 649 yards and five touchdowns which is second most by a Florida tight end since 1996.
TOUCHDOWN!— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) August 24, 2019
Kadarius Toney takes it 66 yards to the 🏡 pic.twitter.com/bmx5x7wLzE
Last year was the first time the Gators had eight 300-yard passing games in a season since 2001. There are high hopes for Senior Kadarius Toney as he returns as an explosive weapon for the Gators, but he only finished the season totaling 286 all-purpose yards and one touchdown. But Trevon Grimes also returns and the former Ohio State transfer has caught 59 balls for 855 yards and five touchdowns in his two seasons as a Gator.
OUT: DB Ethan Pouncey, DB Brad Stewart Jr.
Coach Kiffin Leads Ole Miss in 1st SeasonOle Miss went 4-8 last season, missing out on bowl-season for the fourth consecutive year. New Coach Lane Kiffin is back leading a Power 5 program for the first time in seven years. Kiffin at 45 has already led an NFL franchise and two different major college programs. Now Kiffin and staff are tasked with restoring Ole Miss back to relevancy.
The Rebels do return a dynamic rushing attack led by the big home run threat of Jerrion Ealy who had 894 yards and eight total touchdowns. The offensive line basically returns a few starters and there is optimism at the receiver position as Junior slot receiver Elijah Moore is back after snagging 67 catches and 6 touchdowns last season.
The quarterback situation at Ole Miss is still a mystery. By all early indications, sophomore Matt Corral is the favorite to at least start. Jeff Lebby, new offensive coordinator, is a tempo pusher and he loves to take the big so he can stretch the defense vertically. Corral has the arm strength, and sources around campus are saying he is the favorite to start against the Gators. He led the team in passing with 1,362 yards and appeared in ten total games and started four.
John Rhys Plumlee did share time with Corral last season and is the better runner of the two quarterbacks. Plumlee averaged 113.7 rush yards a game and destroyed the freshman rushing record last year. He also accounted for 16 total touchdowns.
"One of them's going to start," Lane Kiffin said Monday to the Clarion Ledger. "There's a good chance that both of them will play."
OUT: LB Sam Williams
- Rebels are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games as a home underdog
- Rebels are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games in September
- Gators are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 conference games
- Gators are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 road games.
- Gators are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games on grass.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I'm laying the points with the favorite on the road as Ole Miss won't have enough to ultimately keep up with Florida for all four quarters. Florida has the advantage when they are on offense against the Ole Miss defense. Florida also has the edge when their defense is on the field. Ole Miss returns the 9th best-ranked rushing attack from last season, but with a new head coach and offensive coordinator, it's hard to favor the Ole Miss offense over the Florida defense in their first game together. I'm siding with the more experienced team, take Florida to cover on the road and start the season 1-0 in the SEC.
Prediction: Florida Gators -14.5
Full-Game Total Pick
The point total of 60 is a large number in this contest. We know the one thing that did work for Ole Miss last year was the rushing attack so I see Kiffin utilizing the strength of the team he inherited, and when Ole Miss has the ball they will attempt to chew up the clock to keep the Gator offense off the field. Florida’s run defense promises to remain solid after ranking eighth nationally last year. I don't see Ole Miss scoring a ton of points in this contest, but Florida should have about 4-5 touchdowns against the Rebel defense. Take the Under in this Saturday 12pm ET contest.
Prediction: Under 60