Florida Gators vs. Georgia Bulldogs
Saturday, October 29, 2022 – 03:30 PM EDT at TIAA Bank Field
The pain is real. Football has been kind to sharp bettors this year, and to us here at the home office, but those delicious profit margins are starting to dry up. Last week delivered mixed results for the sportsbooks; public bettors made hay with several big matchups, while our college football picks got smacked around pretty good.
There should still be some tasty betting opportunities between now and bowl season, though. Consider Saturday’s SEC tilt between the Florida Gators (4-3 SU, 3-4 ATS) and the top-ranked Georgia Bulldogs (7-0 SU, 4-3 ATS).
Florida look like a must-hammer as 23-point underdogs at Bookmaker (visit our Bookmaker Review), and the consensus reports show 93% of early bettors in agreement. It’s also tempting to make this an underdog-Under parlay.
There’s a 57-point total on the NCAAF odds board at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review) and other locations; some have it at 56.5 as we go to press, but that’s still too high if we’re reading the models correctly. What to do, what to do.
Is Georgia Overrated?
Slightly. The defending national champions are still No. 1 on both the AP and the Coaches polls, but they were No. 2 behind Ohio State on last week’s F+ Ratings at Football Outsiders. And there’s a good chance Alabama will leapfrog Georgia once this week’s efficiency stats come out.
There’s still tons to like about the Bulldogs. Their defense is among the best in college, if not the very best, which is part of the reason we’re considering the Under as well as the underdog Gators. Georgia (Under 5-1-1) also excel on offense and special teams, but their offense isn’t quite as good as Ohio State’s or Alabama’s. So say the numbers, at least.
It’s still remarkable how well the Bulldogs have performed this year given all the players they lost during the offseason. Then again, they’ve played one of the softest schedules in the SEC thus far.
Business will pick up starting this Saturday; even the 23.5 points they’re laying to Florida are the fewest points they’ve given since Week 1, when they thumped Oregon (+16) 49-3 on neutral ground.
What Happened to Florida?
They fired head coach Dan Mullen last year. That may or may not have been the right thing to do after a string of disappointing defeats, including a 34-7 loss to Georgia as 14-point underdogs at the same TIAA Bank Field that will host Saturday’s contest. But it does leave Billy Napier in a tough spot in his first year at Gainesville in any capacity.
Napier has some bona fides. His first head coaching gig was at UL-Lafayette, where he led the Cajuns to their best-ever seasons in 2020 and 2021, including back-to-back Sun Belt titles. Offense is his strong suit, as you’d expect from a former quarterback (at Furman) and co-ordinator (at Clemson and Arizona State).
As a rule of thumb, it usually takes a new coach about three years to start building a football program, but now that players are allowed to transfer at the drop of a hat, it might be time to switch thumbs.
Napier was able to bring RB Montrell Johnson Jr. (7.2 yards per carry) over from Lafayette, and Johnson has excelled as part of Florida’s three-headed backfield monster with QB Anthony Richardson (7.1 YPC) and RB Trevor Etienne (6.3 YPC).
Too bad Richardson (six TDs, seven INTs) hasn’t performed as well as a passer. Gators fans did get spoiled there with Kyle Trask as their quarterback; last year’s downgrade to Emory Jones (now with Arizona State) was one of the reasons for Mullen’s downfall.
This is where Florida get their betting value. Dual-threat QBs never seem to get the credit they deserve for their rushing, and on top of that, Richardson still has some upside in that powerful right arm, he’s still only a redshirt sophomore, don’t forget.
What Needs Improvement
Alas, we also can’t forget about Florida’s defense, which will need a lot more rebuilding before the Gators are competing for national championships again. It’s enough of a concern to make the Under a considerably less attractive bet than just taking Florida (Over 4-3) and the points, even more so without any nasty weather popping up in Saturday afternoon’s forecast for Jacksonville.
The Under is still worth a standard one-unit bet, though. Parlay with the Gators ATS at your discretion, and may the prolate spheroid be with you.
NCAAF Pick: Florida +23 (-108) at Bookmaker
NCAAF Pick: Under 57 (-108) at Heritage Sports
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.