Florida at Kentucky
Saturday, 4:30 pm PT - SEC Network
CRIS Opener: Florida -2.5 O/U 47
CRIS Current: Florida -1.5 O/U 43.5
Heading into the season, Kentucky talked all about playing at a fast tempo and putting up big points on a weekly basis. Three games into the season and the Wildcats have failed miserably at that claim and are ironically a better team for it. Fifth-year head coach Mark Stoops finally got the message that in order to compete in the SEC, you have to value the football, run the football, and play solid defense. Through three games, UK is +4 in turnover margin, owns a 121-70 run/pass ratio, and is allowing only 346.7 ypg. The competition comes up a little light (Southern Miss, Eastern Kentucky and South Carolina), particularly on the offensive end, but Saturday's opponent is another foe where Kentucky's newly-adopted strategy could thrive.
For seven of the eight quarters it has played, Florida's offense has been nothing short of abysmal. The Gators managed 11 rushing yards vs. Michigan and if you eliminate their Hail Mary toss at the end of last week's win over Tennessee, they would have been outgained by 125 yards to the Vols. And Florida's defense hasn't looked nearly as stout as last year's unit that surrendered only 4.66 yards per play. The Wolverines went for 200+ on the ground and through the air and Tennessee averaged over 6 yards per play.
For casual bettors, Kentucky's 30-game losing streak to Florida is going to make this a "Gators or pass" game. But in those 30 games, how many times could you confidently say Kentucky had the ability to win the line of scrimmage battle? I feel they'll do so in Saturday's matchup which is why I'm on the short home underdog.