Posted on October 6, 2019, by Travis Pulver
Coming into the 2019 season, the expectations surrounding the Florida Gators were for the team to be good in Dan Mullen’s second year. But the team was not quite viewed as a contender on the national scene; they were barely one in their own conference. When they lost their starting quarterback to an injury early in the season that should have solidified their status as a ‘not this year’ team.
But instead, with a quarterback who was a back-up in high school, the Gators have moved into a position where they could earn a playoff spot.
When the season began, the Gators had decent national title odds at around +2650. However, they rose as high as +4000 after the first couple of weeks due to the inconsistent play of quarterback Felipe Franks. But then he went down with a season-ending injury forcing the team to turn to Kyle Trask who has played surprisingly well.
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While many sportsbooks have not been sold on him and the Gators, heading into Saturday’s game against No. 7 Auburn, BetOnline.ag had the Gators at +5000 for the national championship. However, following their 24-13 win over the previously undefeated Tigers, their odds are now down to +2000.
They now have better odds than Wisconsin (+2500), Penn State (+3300), Michigan (+4000), and Notre Dame (+5000). But there are also several teams still in front of them. Alabama and Clemson are still tied for the shortest odds (+275) followed by Ohio State at +550, Georgia and LSU at +700, and Oklahoma at +900.
So—how do they break into the top four?
Well, it starts with the Florida defense stopping the 300+yards passing/game streak by LSU’s Joe Burrow at four games next week when the Gators travel to Louisiana. LSU is averaging over 400 yards passing a game so far (416 yards/game; No. 2 in the nation; No 3 in passing efficiency). However, the Tigers have yet to play a good defense.
Florida certainly has a defense with the potential to shut Burrows and the LSU passing game down. They are allowing only 183.3 yards/game (No. 18 in the nation) and have one of the more efficient pass defenses, too (No. 9 in the nation).
So, it is not hard to imagine the Gators making Joe Burrow appear mortal. But the LSU defense is not going to go easy on Kyle Trask (No. 17 in total yards allowed; No. 8 against the run; No 52 against the pass).
But a win wouldn’t help them in the national title hunt if it came easy. They will also have to get by a very good Georgia team (which should get them into the top four) while avoiding any missteps against South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Missouri, and Florida State. Even then, a loss in the SEC title game would likely knock them out of the national title picture.
So—how should gamblers approach the Florida Gators?
Definitely don’t bet the house on them, but it wouldn’t hurt to skip your lattes this week and put a little down on them. Because if they do manage to beat LSU Saturday night, their odds are going to get real short, real fast.