Utah vs. Florida Betting Odds, Picks: How to Bet Saturday’s Over/Under
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images. Pictured: Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson.
Utah vs. Florida Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The narrative has been laid all summer for the mega showdown of the Pac-12's best team against a perennial SEC power. The idea that a team from the West Coast could go into the Deep South as a favorite has caught the attention of most bettors.
On one side, Utah played an exhilarating Rose Bowl in a narrow loss to an Ohio State team that may win the national title. The other side of the fence points to a Florida roster full of blue-chip talent under new and improved management.
Bill Napier spent several seasons as the wide receivers coach in Tuscaloosa before a pit stop at Arizona State and before building a Sun Belt power at Louisiana.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban has always spoken highly of Napier and his prospects of being the next great SEC coach. Those initial thoughts have become a reality with Napier taking over a Florida team that crashed at the end of the Dan Mullen campaign.
There's no doubt Napier can coach. He's a two-time Sun Belt champion with the Ragin' Cajuns while winning Sun Belt Coach of the Year twice. A turnaround on defense will be key to the Gators' 2022 season.
Head coach Kyle Whittingham enters his 18th season at Utah, logging at least nine wins in six of the last seven full seasons. The Utes have been on the cusp of the College Football Playoff, losing to Washington and Oregon in recent Pac-12 Championship games.
Whittingham returns a loaded offense that finished top-25 in numerous statistical categories. The defense will be the area of emphasis after losing a number of key contributors.
The Pac-12 has covered four straight games against the SEC dating back to 2019. This game features two of the most explosive quarterbacks in college football and asks each defense to improve in containing chunk plays.
There will be plenty of offensive highlights, but the team that thrives in limiting scoring opportunities will take home a huge statement win for future rankings.
Just a year ago, Charlie Brewer was tapped to be the starting quarterback for the Utes after winning a narrow battle through fall camp. Soon thereafter, Brewer became inefficient, and backup Cam Rising made the Utah offense elite in the third game against Washington State.
Brewer quickly hit the transfer portal, while Rising finished the season with a 20:5 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
The junior finished 2021 with an immaculate rating in play-action passing. Rising finished the season with 19 big-time throws and no turnover-worthy plays in passing attempts over 20 yards.
Offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig's scheme of quick passing and zone runs ranked seventh in third-down conversions last season. Both the rushing and receiving yards return more than 70% of production from last season, but questions persist around two key areas on the offensive line.
Right tackle Jaren Kump logged 149 snaps at left tackle last season while posting the lowest pass-blocking grade of any lineman. Rising will have a new starting center after Paul Maile recorded over 200 snaps last season but finished second behind Kump in pass-blocking grades. The Utes ranked 92nd last year in pass blocking — an area that will be of concern against the Gators.
Defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley will look for playmakers on a defense that lost four of its top five tacklers. The Utes lose half of their pressures recorded last season after ranking of 11th in Standard Downs Sack Rate.
The 4-2-5 scheme will depend on a plethora of unproven sophomores, but cornerback Clark Phillips III returns 13 pass breakups after finishing eighth in passing stops nationally among all Power Five cornerbacks.
Clark Phillips III CB, Utah while his size may deter some, he makes up for it with his IQ, athleticism, explosiveness, twitch & physicality. Confident in his gm & playmaking ability, he's a player certain to rise up draft boards.@Pick6Sports1#NFLDraftpic.twitter.com/cIwlRETIpf
— 🍢إليزار✭ (@ohmyword88) August 27, 2022
Napier walks into a fluid roster on both sides of the ball.
Quarterback Emory Jones' transfer to Arizona State has left questions of depth behind sophomore Anthony Richardson. While the Gators do return one of the most prolific highlight creators in Richardson, health was a constant issue in 2021.
Offensive coordinator Rob Sale is expected to lean on zone runs and RPO to get Richardson into space, where the quarterback averaged 4.6 yards after contact.
With the 15th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, The New York Football Giants select…Anthony Richardson QB University of Florida pic.twitter.com/1IzImJ3dI5
— 𝓢𝔀𝓸𝓜𝓸✞ (@Jayson_TaGOAT) August 24, 2022
A limited sample of 63 passing attempts at just a 59% completion rate is not enough of a sample to know if Richardson can execute secondary options off of the hot route.
There are question marks around the quarterback with just two experienced receivers and no running back who eclipsed Richardson's yardage mark on the ground. The great news for the offense is the return of 73% of snaps to an offensive line that was 23rd in line yards.
Co-defensive coordinators Patrick Toney and Sean Spencer will look to replicate the concepts used at Louisiana. Napier is ready to field every player in the defensive two-deep to find the best Havoc combination.
The biggest contributors from a pressure standpoint return to the line, as tackle Gervon Dexter and edge Brenton Cox recorded 19 quarterback hits in 2021.
While most of the secondary — led by safety Trey Dean — returns, the group ranked 109th in coverage grading.
Utah vs. Florida Betting Pick
There aren't many questions surrounding Utah's offense, but two offensive linemen have yet to prove themselves in pass-blocking attempts.
With limited experience returning to right tackle and center, both Dexter and Cox should put pressure on Rising during passing downs. If Kump and Maile can execute in standard downs rushing attempts for running back Tavion Thomas, Utah can avoid the passing downs in which it ranked 116th in explosiveness last season.
For Florida, options around Richardson on the Gators offense are limited. Any chance to beat Utah will come from execution in passing downs.
Phillips has been excellent at cornerback for the Utes, cutting the football grid in half against opposing offenses. Utah was excellent in creating Havoc and limiting scoring opportunities last season, but its tackle grading fell out of the top 75.
The Action Network projection agrees with the current market making Utah a favorite, but the Gators defense is expected to be vastly improved in the front seven.
That pressure against Utah's inexperienced offensive linemen can take away explosive plays for Rising and Thomas. Look for points to be at a premium on a humid Florida evening.