Best Bets for Georgia vs. Florida: Our Staff’s Top Picks for Week 9 SEC Rivalry Game
Courtney Culbreath/Collegiate Images/Getty Images. Pictured: TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida, host for the Florida-Georgia football rivalry game.
Georgia vs. Florida Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
College Football Week 9 Staff Best Bets
Our Top Picks for No. 1 Georgia vs. Florida
Admittedly, some of the proverbial wind has been knocked out of this heated SEC rivalry due to Florida’s three losses in conference. However, it’s worth reminding ourselves of how razor-thin the margins were in each of the Gators’ losses this season:
- Sept. 18 vs. No. 1 Alabama | Loss, 31-29
- Oct. 2 at Kentucky | Loss, 20-13
- Oct. 16 at LSU | Loss, 49-42
Those losses have to count for something, of course — and so, it is perfectly justifiable that Florida is not ranked in this week’s AP Top 25 poll. Nonetheless, the Gators’ 4-3 record does a disservice to the team’s aptitude. Accordingly, Action Network senior writer Collin Wilson ranks Florida sixth in his most recent college football power ratings.
On paper, this rivalry game matches the No. 1 team in the country against an underperforming 4-3 team that lacks a path to the conference title game. But in betting terms? Saturday’s rivalry game features two of the top-six FBS teams on a neutral site.
Add in the rivalry’s storied reputation as “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party,” and of course we’re dedicating a staff article to this game. So, without further delay, let’s dive into how our staff is betting No. 1 Georgia vs. Florida.
Georgia vs. Florida: Our Staff’s Best Bets
|Florida TT under 18.5|
|1st Quarter over 10.5|
|Jacob Copeland Player Prop|
|Specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAF Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.|
I am once again asking you to back Florida in one of the biggest games of its season. It worked well when we backed it against Alabama, so let’s hope lightning can strike twice.
First off, I get it. Georgia is one of the best defensive units in college football history.
I am well aware that it’s holding opponents to 3.5 yards per play and 6.5 points per game. Georgia ranks top-20 or better in most defensive metrics. It has time and again shut down opposing offenses. It’s the clear-cut favorite to win it all.
With that said, I am confident Florida can cover the number. It brings a dynamic rush attack that is heavily involved with quarterbacks scrambling. It’s a different style of offense that Georgia has not seen yet, one that gave Alabama fits earlier this season.
While Florida will have a hard time generating offense, it’s the defense that has my attention.
Georgia is not very explosive, and its run game is mediocre. It relies on small chunks of yards by getting its playmakers the ball in the open field through screens and short cuts.
This gives Florida the advantage, as it has a great secondary — one that holds opposing offenses to 6.5 yards per attempt. It will fly to the screens and crosses and force Georgia into trying deep shots downfield.
I will be praying that Florida can take advantage of Georgia’s mishaps if it can rattle the Bulldogs early and flip field position to give its offense a much-needed boost. Points will not be easy to come by, and Florida will need any advantage it can get.
I will take the key number of +14 early and look at the under as well.
Pick: Florida +14
By Shawn Burns
Florida head coach Dan Mullen has been extremely loyal to starting quarterback Emory Jones, but to give his team the best opportunity against Georgia, it’s time for Anthony Richardson to play a bigger role.
Richardson has the playmaking ability needed when attempting to take down the No. 1 team and top defense in the country.
The Bulldogs defense has been incredible, leading the nation in scoring defense and total defense. They have allowed a measly two yards per rush and less than a touchdown per game.
There are questions about who will start at quarterback for Georgia. It will either be JT Daniels or Stetson Bennett leading a solid offense, but one that has lacked explosive plays and has benefited greatly from an elite defense.
Florida will easily be the best offense that Georgia has faced. It averages 34 points per game and ranks first in the SEC in yards per play.
The Gators are ninth in the country in total offense and No. 1 in the conference in explosive plays. And this is all without Richardson getting most of the snaps.
Florida’s defense was embarrassed by LSU, giving up 321 yards rushing and seven yards per rush. I don’t expect the Gators to shut down the Georgia rushing attack, but they will play better overall as a unit.
Florida will concentrate on containing the running game and make Georgia beat it in the air, which neither Bulldog quarterback has done consistently.
The bye week will help Florida regroup, and Dan Mullen will have a well-prepared game plan to keep Georgia off-balance. Look for the Gators to hang tough and keep this game within two scores.
Pick: Florida +14.5
The Bulldogs lead college football defensively, allowing only 3.4 yards per play. They’re also the second-ranked team in the country in terms of Success Rate Allowed and explosive plays allowed.
Trying to throw on this Georgia secondary is an absolute fool’s errand, too. The Bulldogs are first in the country in EPA/Pass allowed, Passing Success Rate Allowed, explosive passing plays allowed, and are allowing only 5.0 yards per attempt.
The battle in the trenches when Florida is on offense will be an interesting one to watch. Florida sits 17th in EPA/Rush, 12th in rushing explosiveness, and 10th in Offensive Line Yards, while Georgia is fifth in Rushing Success Rate Allowed, 15th in rushing explosiveness allowed, and 10th in Defensive Line Yards.
Georgia hasn’t been that much of an offensive juggernaut this season. Sure, it ranks top-20 in terms of Success Rate, but it’s had zero explosiveness whatsoever, ranking outside the top 100.
The Bulldogs also haven’t really been that effective running the ball, as they’re 83rd in the country in EPA/Rush.
That will play right into Florida’s hands, as its strength is in the secondary. The Gators allow only 6.4 yards per attempt, rank 21st in EPA/Pass attempt, and 31st in Passing Success Rate Allowed.
Georgia plays at one of the slowest paces offensively, averaging only 2.04 plays per minute, good for 117th in the country. Florida, meanwhile, averages 2.27 plays per minute, which is 73rd in the nation.
So, if Georgia’s defense is able to control this game, the pace is going to be really slow, which favors the Bulldogs.
I only have 43.71 points projected for this game, so I think ther’s some value on under 51 points and would play it down to 48.5.
Pick: Under 51.5
By CJ Vogel
The total of 51.5 for the Georgia and Florida game sure feels rather low, but it’s still high enough for me to feel confident in the value here.
There has been a ton of hype surrounding Georgia’s defense this season, and deservedly so.
The Bulldogs are on a historic pace, and it has been reminiscent of the early Alabama defenses that seemingly replaced themselves every single year early in its dynasty.
Georgia leads the nation in total and scoring defense. Allowing just 208.3 yards per game and less than a touchdown per game in today’s college football world is unheard of.
Florida has its own offensive problems as well, and Georgia will look to exploit a Gator offense that ranks T-59th in red-zone efficiency.
Scoring touchdowns on Georgia is hard enough, and Florida has not been great at Finishing Drives.
Georgia is still figuring out which quarterback will be leading the way on Saturday. The decision between JT Daniels and Stetson Bennett has yet to be announced, but it won’t sway my decision to bet the under regardless of who is named the starter.
My only fear in this one is that turnovers Georgia causes create short fields for the offense. Otherwise, I’m looking at a final score that resembles something like 27-13 in the end.
Pick: Under 51.5
If you haven’t watched Georgia this season, you are in for a special treat. The Bulldog defense is something else.
Given the amount of five-star starters they have on defense, they could give the Milky Way’s star content a run for its money.
Through seven games, the Bulldogs are allowing only 6.6 points per game while scoring 38.4.
Florida is a better team than its 4-3 record indicates. It took Alabama to the limit earlier in the season, losing 29-31. The Gator defense will need to have an impressive showing if it wants to remain competitive in the later stages of this game.
Florida ranks 103rd nationally in Defensive Havoc; that level of commotion will not get the job done.
Offensively, the Gators have what it takes. They rank fourth nationally in rushing offense, averaging 254.3 yards per game.
My model is the basis for the vast majority of my picks. Unfortunately, I don’t have a strong signal on the spread or the total in this game. I’m projecting Georgia as 13.46-point favorites and the total at 48.78 points. This is right on top of where Vegas currently sits.
If I had to place a pre-game bet, it would be on the under based on the matchup between Florida’s run game and Georgia’s defense. However, I’m not comfortable with anything more than 0.5 units there given how my model compares to the market.
Instead, I encourage you to enjoy this game and wait for a live bet.
I firmly believe that Georgia has put the pieces together to win a National Championship. The defense is one of the best I have had the pleasure of watching.
Be opportunistic and shop for a live bet on the Bulldogs. I’ll be laying the points at 9.5 or better. I recommend a four-unit play if this line presents itself.
Pick: Under 51.5
Everyone knows how dominant the Georgia defense has been, but when you dive into the numbers, it gets even more impressive.
The Bulldogs have allowed 6.6 points per game this season, and only four total touchdowns in seven games this season.
No one is running the ball against this front seven that has allowed 2.2 yards per carry and accounted for 43 tackles for loss. That unit has contributed another 24 sacks and 122 quarterback hurries.
Florida owns a rush rate of 57% and averages 6.3 yards per carry. But it hasn’t faced a defense close to the Bulldogs up to this point.
Georgia held Clemson to two rushing yards on 23 attempts. It has already shut down run-heavy offenses such as Arkansas and Kentucky. The unit ranks fifth in Success Rate and 10th in Defensive Line Yards.
Florida will be hesitant to put the ball in Emory Jones’ hands as he has only one game without an interception this season, accounting for a total of nine on the year.
The Bulldogs are a brick wall up front that has allowed 63 rushing yards per game. No team has scored more than 13 points against Georgia, and that feat won’t be accomplished by a Florida offense that is reliant on the run game.
Pick: Florida team total under 18.5
By Doug Ziefel
We all know about the Georgia defense by now.
Its numbers across the board are otherworldly, particularly in points allowed. The Bulldogs are only allowing a microscopic 6.6 points per game.
Now, you would expect a team with such a great defense like Georgia to trend toward the under. That has held true, as the under is 4-3 in Bulldogs games this season. But that record is for full-game totals.
The first quarter of Bulldog games totals are 4-3 to the over. This has come from the early explosiveness of the Georgia offense. It’s put up two touchdowns or more in every game in which the first-quarter over has hit.
Let’s look at Georgia’s opponent in this matchup, the Florida Gators. Many teams have struggled to score against Georgia, especially early on. But the Gators may have what it takes to put points on the board.
Their offense is explosive in its own right, as it ranks third in yards per play. Much of the offense comes on the ground, but the Gators don’t use the run to wear down the defense — they use it to score. Their 6.3 yards per rush leads the country.
Florida may also be the perfect dance partner for Georgia in the first quarter. The Gators are 5-1-1 to the over in the 1Q.
The points have come from a mixture of the Gators allowing scores as well as punching in touchdowns of their own early and fast.
This over could hit from both teams participating, or Georgia could do it itself. We’ll be happy to take it either way.
Pick: First Quarter over 10.5
When looking at how Florida decided to attack Georgia in the passing game last season in a 44-point performance, it put a focal point on targeting running backs, and that was with a team that included two top-20 NFL Draft picks who served as pass-catchers.
Florida spammed the wheel route out of the backfield in that game, as its three-headed backfield of Malik Davis, Nay’Quan Wright, and Dameon Pierce combined for 10 catches and 212 yards.
Now, it has a receiving corps that has really struggled to get separation on the outside this season, and I can’t imagine that Dan Mullen will make it a point to challenge Georgia’s cornerback duo of Kelee Ringo and Derion Kendrick with this group.
Jacob Copeland also has the highest average depth of target on the team, per PFF, and I’m not expecting Florida to have that type of game plan at all here.
Looking at Copeland’s numbers this year, he’s surpassed this number in 3-of-7 games, and those came against South Florida, Vanderbilt, and Kentucky.
Taking Copeland’s reception totals from every game this season, simple bootstrap resampling would result in a 58.5% chance of going under and a 41.5% chance of going over — and that’s not even considering that the Gators are playing the best defense in college football.
Florida’s biggest strength is its running back room and the quarterback run game, and you’re going to need to play to your strengths to have any prayer against this defense.
Pick: Jared Copeland under 3.5 receptions
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