Florida vs. Kentucky Odds, Picks: Why There’s Betting Value on Saturday’s Underdog (October 2)

Florida vs. Kentucky Odds, Picks: Why There’s Betting Value on Saturday’s Underdog (October 2) article feature image
Credit:

Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: Chris Rodriguez.

Florida vs. Kentucky Odds

Florida Odds -7.5 (-105) 
Kentucky Odds +7.5 (-115)
Moneyline -310 / +245
Over/Under 56.5 (-110 / -110)
Time 6:00 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

The Florida Gators look to keep their season alive on Saturday when they head to Lexington to battle the Kentucky Wildcats.

Florida was so close to taking down Alabama in Week 3 but rebounded last week, beating Tennessee 38-14 at home. The Gators get quarterback Anthony Richardson back for this one, so it’ll be interesting whether he or Emory Jones takes the majority of the snaps.

Florida has the fifth-toughest schedule remaining in the Power Five, and this is a precarious spot against an undefeated Kentucky team, although the Wildcats have played a relatively easy schedule so far.

This begins the murderer’s row portion of Kentucky’s schedule with LSU and Georgia coming after the Gators.

Florida has won 33 of its last 34 meetings against Kentucky and the Wildcats haven’t beaten Florida in Lexington since 1986.


Florida vs. Kentucky Betting Preview

Saturday, October 2
6 p.m. ET
ESPN

Florida Gators

Florida Offense 

With Jones under center, the Gators have been good, but their passing offense hasn’t been anything close to elite. He’s only averaging 6.4 yards per attempt with Florida ranking 62nd in passing success.

Richardson, who head coach Dan Mullen said is 100% for this game, getting a decent amount of snaps changes the game for the Gators. In limited action, he has a 91.2 passing grade and 92.0 rushing grade, per Pro Football Focus.

For Florida though, the success of their offense is on the ground. The Gators rank 13th in Rushing Success, eighth in Line Yards and are averaging 7.5 yards per attempt, which is the highest average in the country.

However, Florida will be facing a Kentucky front seven that has been stout against the run this season, allowing only 2.0 yards per carry.


Florida Defense

The Gators’ defense has been horrific by their standards this season.

Florida’s front seven hasn’t been able to stop the run, ranking 97th in Rushing Success Rate allowed and outside the top 50 in run defense rating, per PFF.

The Gators weren’t that effective against Tennessee last weekend, allowing 4.0 yards per carry. Now, they face a run-heavy Kentucky offense that is averaging an impressive 5.5 yards per carry.

The Florida secondary has had all sorts of issues this season, allowing 7.5 yards per attempt and a ranking of 120th in coverage, per PFF. This might not be a huge issue on Saturday, though, given how much of a rush-heavy offense the Wildcats are.

Florida also hasn’t been able to stop anyone once it gets in the red zone, ranking 103rd in Finishing Drives. Kentucky’s offense ranks 13th in that category.

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Kentucky Wildcats

Kentucky Offense

The Wildcats run the ball 62.02% of the time and have run all over opposing defenses for 5.5 yards per carry this season.

The offensive line has been outstanding, ranking 33rd in offensive line yards and has graded out as the ninth-best unit in terms of run blocking, per PFF.

Junior running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. has been an absolute beast leading Kentucky’s rushing attack this season, having gone over 100 yards in the Wildcats’ three games against FBS opponents.

Dating back to last season, he’s only been held under five yards per carry twice in 14 games.

Chris Rodriguez Jr. went beast mode 😳 pic.twitter.com/8IJJsGumOA

— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) September 4, 2021

While Kentucky doesn’t throw the ball that often, its passing attack has been successful with Will Levis under center.

The junior is averaging 8.9 yards per attempt, has a 74.9 passing grade, according to PFF, and has Kentucky ranking 13th in Passing Success Rate.

It helps that Levis has one of the most talented wide receivers in the country in Wan’Dale Robinson, who has already gone over 100 yards receiving in three games this year and has PFF’s 28th-best receiving grade.

Robinson will be a nightmare for Florida’s secondary that has not only struggled from a Success-Rate perspective, but is 92nd in explosive passing allowed.

Wan’Dale Robinson on 20+ yard targets this season:

🔹 6 Catches (T-1st)
🔹 239 Yards (1st)pic.twitter.com/uQ0HwKyJ2b

— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 22, 2021


Wildcat Defense 

Kentucky’s defense has been pretty average against a relatively easy schedule this season, ranking 55th in Success Rate allowed.

However, the Wildcats do not allow explosive plays, ranking 15th in the country in big plays allowed, something that will be huge against Florida’s offense on Saturday.

The Wildcats’ run defense hasn’t been great from a Success-Rate standpoint, ranking 57th, but it has only allowed 2.0 yards per carry in their three games against FBS opponents.

That’s encouraging that they’ll be able to potentially slow down Florida’s rushing attack and play this game at their pace. Kentucky ranks 93rd in plays per minute compared to Florida, which ranks 49th.

Additionally, Kentucky is a fundamentally sound defensive unit under Mark Stoops, ranking 35th in tackling.

It’s the same story with the Kentucky secondary. It isn’t great from a success-rate perspective, ranking 70th, but it is 34th in explosive passing allowed and PFF has them graded as the 23rd best secondary in terms of coverage.

The Wildcats seem capable of limiting Jones and a Florida passing attack that hasn’t really been effective this season.

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Florida vs. Kentucky Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Florida and Kentucky match up statistically:

Florida Offense vs. Kentucky Defense

Offense

Defense

Edge

Rush Success
13
57
Line Yards
8
36
Pass Success
62
70
Pass Blocking**
15
86
Big Play
12
15
Havoc
51
46
Finishing Drives
75
78
**Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Kentucky Offense vs. Florida Defense

Offense

Defense

Edge

Rush Success
45
97
Line Yards
33
29
Pass Success
11
66
Pass Blocking**
22
18
Big Play
42
38
Havoc
104
83
Finishing Drives
13
103
**Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling
52
35
PFF Coverage
120
23
Middle 8
75
75
SP+ Special Teams
92
70
Plays per Minute
49
93
Rush Rate
59.9% (33)
59.2% (40)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.


If we want to talk about external factors in this game, this will be Jones and Florida’s first big road test since 2019 with a full crowd in Lexington (no offense to South Florida).

Kentucky’s run-heavy offense and effective passing attack should be able to move the ball on Florida’s defense.

On the flip side, if the Wildcats can continue to limit explosive plays like they have been this season, they will be in this game against Florida.


Florida vs. Kentucky Betting Pick

Florida opened as a -8.5 favorite, but the line fell down to -7.5 at a lot of shops. However, 72% of the tickets and 81% of the money is on Florida.

This game has also triggered a pro systems play in our Bet Labs database for heavily bet games when the home underdog is getting little public support, but the line is moving in its direction.

I only have Florida projected as a -4.58 favorite on the road, so I think there is some value on Kentucky at home at +8.5, which is still available at Bet MGM and would play it down to +7.

Pick: Kentucky +8.5 (Play to +7)

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