Florida Betting Odds Preview
The Florida Gators almost got back to the top of the SEC last year, missing out on a berth in the conference championship game because of a bad day at the big party in Jacksonville vs. Georgia. But just how good was Florida? The Gators won several close games last year, and after beating rival Florida State in the regular-season finale they got upset in the Sugar Bowl as 14-point favorites by Louisville. It will be interesting to see whether Florida can back up its 11-2 record of last season, or if it will take a step back.
Florida had 16 starters back last year from a 7-6 team of coach Will Muschamp's first season in 2011. The Gators then started 7-0, with wins over Texas A&M, LSU, and South Carolina, climbing to No. 3 in the polls. But then came that game against UGA in which Florida turned the ball over six times and lost 17-9. The Gators then won their last three games, including an upset of the 'Noles in Tallahassee, but fell completely flat in that Sugar Bowl loss to underdog Louisville.
Florida finished 7-6 ATS on the season, which is a bit hard to figure considering its +15 turnover ratio. The Gators went 6-2 ATS in conference play but only 1-4 ATS outside of the SEC. They were also just 1-4 ATS when favored by double digits, which says something. This year UF returns six starters on offense, including QB Jeff Driskel and three along the offensive line, but only four starters are back on defense, as they lose five of last year's top six tacklers from a unit that held foes to less than 15 PPG.
This year's schedule isn't exactly kind, considering the Gators have to play at Miami, at LSU, and at South Carolina, Georgia in Jacksonville, and Florida State at home. They do manage to miss Alabama and Texas A&M, though, at least until a possible SEC championship game matchup. So while Florida has seven very winnable games on its slate, it's also got five very tough ones. While the offense could improve upon its 26 PPG of last year, with Driskel headed into his second full season as the starter, the defense might find it hard to duplicate last season's numbers.
SEC Championship Odds at 5Dimes as of July 29
South Carolina +500
Texas A&M +850
Mississippi State +10000