Florida corrected some defensive issues in last week’s impressive victory over South Carolina – and those improvements come at a critical time for the Gators, who face the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday in Jacksonville. The Bulldogs remain one of the premier defensive teams in the country and are coming off a 21-0 shutout of Kentucky last weekend.
Sportsbook Odds Analysis
The Bulldogs are favored by 4.5 points to kick off the week. If it stays in this range, it will mark the smallest spread between the teams since October 31, 2015, when Florida prevailed 27-3 at -1.5.
Georgia News & Notes
Fans can’t ask for much more from the Georgia defense, which ranks fifth in the country in rush yards allowed per game (86.1) and 17th in pass yards against (181.0). The Bulldogs have also done a sensational job protecting quarterback Jake Fromm, allowing just four sacks through their first seven games (tied with Air Force for the fewest in the nation).
So what, if anything, do the Bulldogs need to work on moving forward? Discipline might be at the top of the list, with Georgia coming into the weekend as one of the most penalized teams in the country. The Bulldogs rank 94th in average penalty yards per game (62.7), even after getting flagged just four times for 33 yards in the win over the Wildcats.
Florida News & Notes
The Gators defense buckled but did not break in last week’s 38-27 win at South Carolina, a modest improvement over its showing in a 42-28 loss to powerhouse LSU. Florida escaped a challenging two-game road trip still ranked in the top 25 in total defense (319.5 yards per game against) while limiting opponents to just 15.8 points per game (12th in FBS).
The biggest issue for the Gators will be how to generate enough offense through the air to keep pace with Georgia. In addition to the Bulldogs ranking inside the top 20 in pass defense for the season, Florida managed a meager 105 passing yards against Georgia in last year’s meeting, a big reason why the Bulldogs prevailed 36-17 in that one.
Betting Pick: UNDER
Both teams have shown impressive defensive prowess coming in, and have surpassed the total just twice in their previous eight meetings overall. We’re leaning toward the UNDER here.