Florida Gators vs. Kentucky Wildcats: Betting Odds, Preview, Matchup and Pick

OddsShark.com@@OddsSharkFeatured ColumnistSeptember 20, 2012

KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 15: Jeff Driskel #6  quarterback of the Florida Gators breaks free from A.J. Johnson #45 of the Tennessee Volunteers during the second half of play at Neyland Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Knoxville, Tennessee.    (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)
John Sommers II/Getty Images

The Florida Gators have won 25 straight games against Kentucky and are already 2-0 in SEC play, making this SEC matchup one-sided on paper.

But the Wildcats have a puncher's chance, given all the crazy upsets happening in college football this September. After all, they were the victims of such an upset last week.

Florida will shoot for a 3-0 conference start when they host the Wildcats Saturday afternoon (12:20 pm EST, ESPN3/SEC Network). They lay 23.5 points at most sportsbooks tracked by OddsShark.com and betting volume continued to pour in on Florida late in the week, pushing the number to 24.5

Kentucky, meanwhile, has lost eight straight as a double-digit dog and is just 2-6 ATS in those games. They're also 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games on the road, providing plenty of trend fodder for Florida backers.

"Just because they get spotted more than three touchdowns doesn't mean it's enough to cash at the sportsbook," said Jack Randall, a football analyst at OddsShark.com. "But Florida is just 3-9 ATS in their past 12 games overall, according to our matchup data, so they are not exactly money in the bank come Saturday."

The Gators returned 17 starters this season—including 10 on offense and four along the O-line—from a team that went 7-6 last year. Florida then opened this season with a 27-14 victory over Bowling Green, came from 10 points down to win at Texas A&M 20-17, then last week scored the final 24 points of the game to win at Tennessee 37-20.

The Gators also outrushed the Vols 336-83.

Florida came nowhere close to covering the point spread as 28-point favorites over the Falcons, but did cover as one-point favorites at A&M and as 3.5-point dogs in Knoxville.

With their three victories, the Gators have advanced from No. 23 in the AP's preseason Top 25 poll to No. 14 this week.

On the other side of this matchup, Kentucky returned just 11 starters this season—five on defense—from a team that went 5-7 last year. The Wildcats then opened their season with a 32-14 loss at Louisville, beat Kent State 47-14, but lost at home last week in overtime to Western Kentucky 32-31.

UK got outrushed by the Hilltoppers 163-41 and possessed the ball for less than 24 minutes.

The 'Cats couldn't cover as 14-point dogs against the Cardinals, but managed to cover as six-point favorites over the Golden Flashes before losing outright as six-point chalk to WKU.

Florida has beaten Kentucky 25 times in a row, the last four times by an average score of 50-9. Last year the Gators pounded the 'Cats in Lexington 48-10, jumping out to a 21-0 lead 11 minutes into the game, outgaining Kentucky 520-299 and covering the spread as 17-point favorites. 

Free Pick: Florida could be one of the major sleeper teams in college football this season. We'll give the points and take the Gators Saturday. (courtesy of PickShark.com)


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