If you looked at the records of the two schools heading into this match and knew they were both in the SEC without knowing what schools they were, you’d assume you would have a very close and competitive game on your hands. But then you see it’s actually number 15 Florida at 3-0, and it’s the unranked Kentucky at 2-1. If this was a basketball game Kentucky would be handily favored, but in the football domain, the Gators own the Wildcats, having won 24 straight games over them.
In the first year for Will Muschamp, the Gators were expected to be good but to be a team in transition. Competing for an SEC championship seemed out of the question. But the early returns have been plenty positive. Of course, that’s what facing Florida Atlantic, UAB and Tennessee in three straight weeks will do for you. The first two were blowouts where Florida surrendered just 3 points combined, but Tennessee kept it close on the road, losing by just 10. Quarterback John Brantley has been playing very well and appears to have taken a leadership position with the team.
Because of the opposition they’ve faced so far, Muschamp’s Gators have the number 1 rushing defense in the country, and the number 6 scoring defense in the country. Muschamp is a defensive guy and the Gators are improved over last season, however, those numbers won’t hold up for the rest of the year.
They probably will hold up over the Wildcats however. They beat two overmatched opponents in their first two weeks, and lost last weekend to Louisville. Now they play Florida, LSU and South Carolina in three straight weeks, so they could wake up with their heads spinning and a 2-3 record before they know it. Kentucky has been hoping to get the football program back to a higher level than they’ve been, but they are up against it hard in the SEC, and Florida is rolling right now.
That’s why when you look at the point spread, you’ll see that Florida is a 19.5 point favorite on the road. The over/under for the game is 43 points. For one thing, you should take the over on that, as Florida will likely put up 30 or 35 all on their own, at least. In terms of whether or not they should cover the spread, they beat Kentucky 48-14 last season and have beaten them two dozen times consecutively. However, they only beat Tennessee at home last weekend by 10.
So you might want to get sneaky and pick Kentucky to beat that large point spread, but they certainly don’t have much of a chance at winning here. The Gators want to keep cruising as they gear up for some big showdowns coming up on the calendar, and the Wildcats are simply overmatched, with a terrible track record playing Florida as well. Don’t be surprised if Florida covers, but it’s also easy to envision a 10-15 point win as Kentucky plays tough but comes up well short.