Florida State vs. Florida Odds & Best Bets: Breaking Down Betting Angle for In-State Rivalry Game
Maddie Malhotra and James Gilbert/Getty Images. Pictured from left: Jordan Travis (13) of the Florida State Seminoles and Jason Marshall Jr. (3) of the Florida Gators.
- Florida and Florida State square off in an in-state rivalry clash with both teams searching for bowl eligibility.
- The Gators haven't lived up to expectations this season and fired coach Dan Mullen after three straight losses.
- Our staff breaks down everything you need to know about this key Saturday clash.
Florida State vs. Florida Odds
|Florida State Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
A rivalry almost as heated as Mike Ianniello vs. Tanner McGrath, Saturday will mark the 65th meeting of the Sunshine Showdown between Florida State and Florida.
In this year’s contest, it will not just be the Makala Trophy up for grabs. Both schools enter Saturday at 5-6, and therefore the winner will also earn a bowl berth, while the loser’s season comes to an end.
I was going to make my entire argument just “Florida has quit” and call it a day, but that would be a short and boring article. But yeah, Florida has quit.
The Gators have lost four of their last five games, three of them as more than a touchdown favorite. Do they even want to play in a bowl game?
Head coach Dan Mullen was fired after last week’s loss to Missouri despite owning a 34-15 record in Gainesville and making a trip to the SEC Championship game just last season.
This a clear sign of the culture problem Florida has, a problem that is not going to get fixed in a week.
Florida State, meanwhile, had every reason to quit after a disappointing 0-4 start. Instead, Mike Norvell has gotten his team to rally back and win five of the last seven games to give FSU a chance at the postseason.
Over the last seven games, the Seminoles are averaging over 31 points per game. When they get the running game going, they’re hard to beat. In their wins this year, the Noles have averaged 224.8 yards on the ground. In the losses, though, just 113.7 per game.
Running back Jashaun Corbin is averaging 80 yards rushing per game with seven touchdowns, and Treshaun Ward has added 44.5 per game as well. They both are averaging over 6.3 yards per carry,
The backs are a great complement to dynamic dual-threat quarterback Jordan Travis. Travis is lethal with his legs, averaging 47.9 rushing yards per game, and has run for six scores this year after leading the team in rushing last season.
Well, guess what Florida has really struggled with? Stopping the run.
The Gators rank 88th in the country in Rushing Success Rate. Over the last five games, they have been torched for 206.6 yards per game on the ground and nine rushing scores.
Florida has the 75th-ranked tackling grade, a fundamental problem that again points back to lack of effort.
Florida State wants to go bowling more than the Gators do — and it’s going to look a lot like bowling, as the Noles run the ball down the lane and knock down this Gators defense like Ernie McCracken.
Boy, Florida has really sucked this year, huh?
But as a man ready to back the Gators in this year’s Sunshine Showdown, I’m very happy they just fired their coach.
Think about some teams that have switched coaches this season:
- TCU parted ways with Gary Patterson, and the team rallied the next week to beat Baylor.
- USC got rid of Clay Helton, and the team dominated Wazzu, 45-14, the next week.
- Georgia Southern fired Chad Lunsford after a 1-3 start to the season, and the Eagles rebounded by smashing Arkansas State.
So, even after a terrible year, this is the week to bet Florida.
Besides, it’s not like FSU has been much better. The Seminoles are also sporting a 5-6 record with a worse Offensive Success Rate and a worse SP+ defensive rating.
Plus, does FSU have a statement win? Maybe over UNC or a hapless Miami team. At least Florida has beaten Tennessee and taken a top-ranked Alabama team to the wire.
Florida State is catching three points in this meeting, but the Seminoles have lost and failed to cover in the last two games against the Gators.
Sharp money is already hitting UF, and our Action PRO projections make UF a 4.3-point favorite, giving us plenty of edge on the current line.
Florida’s going bowling, folks. There’s nothing you can do to stop it. So, instead, hop on the Gator train with me.
Ianniello: Florida quarterback Emory Jones suffered an injury in practice this week, and now freshman Anthony Richardson is expected to start.
Now, I know Tanner is probably going to say, “Good! Emory Jones stinks!” That is true; he has not been good. He has 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions this season.
Richardson is clearly the more talented player, but he is still young and inexperienced.
He’s shown flashes of brilliance, but that was mostly as a runner used as a changeup from Jones. When forced to actually be a passer, he is completing just 57.9% of his passes for five touchdowns and five interceptions.
While Travis is also most dangerous with his legs, he has really improved with his ability to pass the ball this season.
- 2020: Six touchdowns, six interceptions. 55% completion rate, 55.1 PFF Passer Grade.
- 2021: 14 touchdowns, five interceptions. 62.8% completion rate. 85.2 PFF Passer Grade.
Travis has not thrown an interception in five straight games, and Florida State is a different team with him at quarterback. He battled injuries early in the year, while most of the Noles losses came with McKenzie Milton at quarterback.
FSU is 5-2 with Travis as the starter with its two losses coming at the hands of Notre Dame and Clemson. Both have significantly better defenses than the Gators.
McGrath: While Florida’s defense hasn’t been all that good, I don’t expect that to be a problem. The Gators offense will outscore their own defense.
Florida is a machine in the ground game, running for over 215 yards per game at over 5.5 yards per carry. The Gators themselves rank 22nd in Rush Success Rate, and while FSU ranks 24th in that stat defensively, Florida has edges in so many other offensive areas.
Explosiveness is one. Florida ranks 13th nationally in big plays, while Florida State is 62nd in defending them. In terms of overall explosiveness, Florida State ranks 120th defensively, allowing chunk play after chunk play.
One of the reasons Florida dominates in the rush game is the ability to run with the quarterback. With Jones injured, Richardson will step in under center and be presented with a very solid matchup.
The two best rushing quarterbacks FSU has faced this season are probably Malik Cunningham and Garrett Shrader. Cunningham put up 56 yards at 4.0 YPC against the Noles, while Shrader racked up 137 on 8.5 YPC in his turn dicing up FSU.
In his limited attempts this season, Richardson has taken his 40 carries for almost 400 yards. He’s nearly averaging a first down every time he takes the ball himself.
FSU should be shaking in its boots. It’s going to allow too many big plays and too many rushing yards for its “up-and-coming” rushing offense to overcome.
Ianniello: I’m not so sure this Florida offense is just going to move the ball at will.
Your “machine in the ground game” managed to rush for 93 yards on 38 attempts against a Missouri defense that ranks 125th in the country against the run. Two weeks before that, the machine churned out 82 yards against the 95th-ranked South Carolina run defense.
Florida State’s defense has taken a tremendous step in the second year under defensive coordinator Adam Fuller. The Noles rank 24th in the country in Rushing Success Rate. They are excellent at getting the ball carrier to the ground, sitting 12th in the nation in tackling.
The Noles have also been really solid in the passing game. They rank 36th in the country in Passing Success, largely because of their ability to get after the quarterback. This defense is 30th in the country in Havoc rate.
Richardson better have his cleats tied tight because Jermaine Johnson II is a game-wrecker and will live in the Florida backfield. The Georgia transfer has 43 pressures and is sixth in the country with 10.5 sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss.
Florida State won’t be shaking in its boots; it’ll be dancing in them after Johnson puts pressure on Richardson and forces him into a turnover.
McGrath: Speaking of getting after the quarterback, Florida features a top-20 pass rush and a top-30 Defensive Pass Success Rate.
Meanwhile, Travis’ offensive line hasn’t done him any favors, ranking outside the top 50 in pass blocking and 108th in preventing Havoc.
And when Travis isn’t kept clean, things can get ugly.
|Jordan Travis||Clean Pocket||Under Pressure|
|Yards Per Attempt||8.8||6.0|
So, I’m not worried about Florida’s ability to stop Travis or this FSU pass attack.
And between two teams that are clearly rush-first, I definitely trust Richardson and Florida more than Travis and the Noles.
Ianniello: Bet Florida State +3
These two teams are heading in very opposite directions.
Florida appears to have given up, while Florida State has fought back into bowl contention. Which of these teams do you think wants to play in a bowl game more?
Yes, Tanner is right that Florida has crushed the Noles in the last two meetings. But the last time Florida State won this Sunshine Showdown was in 2017. What else happened that year? Florida fired head coach Jim McElwain during the season and then finished the year with a 38-22 loss to Florida State at home.
Give me the Noles.
McGrath: Bet Florida -3
Florida’s had a rough season, but the team is still 4-2 in Gainesville this year. Meanwhile, FSU is just 2-2 on the road, most recently losing to Clemson and its anemic offense.
This is a classic buy-low spot for the Gators. Given this “momentum,” the public will be on FSU, and over 65% of bets are on that side.
However, the line continues to move the other way.
Stay on the sharp side and take the reverse line movement with Florida this Saturday.
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