College Football Betting — Florida Gators getting points at home vs. Utah Utes in new coach’s debut

Florida Gators Athletics

Utah Utes Look to go to the Swamp and Beat the Florida Gators in College Football Action

By Charles Jay

Will it really be a “new era” for the Florida Gators under coach Billy Napier, or will this be just another coach who failed in Gainesville? Remember hat expectations are pretty high for this program, based on past successes, and nothing less than genuine contention in the ultra-competitive SEC will do.

Now Florida finds itself in an unusual position, as they are actually home underdogs to a team from a lesser conference. The Utah Utes visit on Saturday night, with a game time of 7 PM ET from the Swamp.

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And as we mentioned, they have Utah favored in this contest:

Utah Utes -2.5
Florida Gators +2.5

Over 51.5 Points -110
Under 51.5 Points -110

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About the Florida Gators

Napier was brought aboard for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that he is a very capable recruiter. Previously he had been at Louisiana-Lafayette, where he steered that Sun Belt entry into the Top 25. ULL achieved that behind a powerful ground attack, and Napier is thankful that he doesn’t have to rebuild that part of the Florida offense. The Gators were 23rd in the nation in rushing last season.

And Napier grabbed his best offensive lineman from Lafayette and brought him to Gainesville. O’Cyrus Torrence is considered to be one of the top NFL prospects in the country at the guard position, and now he’ll have a chance to enhance his status in the SEC.

On the surface, what Napier should have the most concerns about is his quarterback. Anthony Richardson can run with the ball, and that is one component of the offense that could give the opposition fits. But he doesn’t have a classic arm. So in running the spread option, is Florida going to be too one-dimensional?

About the Utah Utes

The Utah program is a model of stability, by comparison. Kyle Whittingham is more or less an institution in Salt Lake City. Last season they went 10-4 and won the Pac-12 championship, moving on to the Rose Bowl, where they went toe-to-toe with talented Ohio State before losing a 48-45 decision. They are bringing eight starters back on offense, and that includes highly-regarded quarterback Cameron Rising, who threw 20 touchdown passes against just five interceptions.

That kind of ball control is important, because Utah is, by and large, reliant on its ground attack. Tavion Thomas is one of the top backs in the Pac-12, and maybe the entire country, with 1108 yards and 21 (that’s right, 21) touchdowns in 2021. Utah outgained its opponent by almost 1000 yards a game on the ground.

On defense, Utah has proven to be tough, allowing just 119.4 yards a game on the ground last year. And it got even more formidable this season while making Florida a little weaker. Linebacker Mohamoud Diabate, who would have been the leading returning tackler for Florida this season, transferred from Gainesville, which makes this game a big one for him.

And if cornerback Clark Phillips is as good as many of the NFL scouts think, he can take away one side of the field.

Our conclusion

Fundamentally, it may seem wise to move toward the Power 5 team with talent getting points at home. And when all is said and done, Napier may be a tough guy to bet against. But the fundamentals of this matchup may favor Utah, which can’t be accused of not being tested, having faced off against the high-octane Buckeyes in Pasadena on New Year’s Day.

This is obviously Utah’s opportunity to demonstrate that it can contend once again for the Pac-12 title, as all the talk thus far has been about USC. But they have more balance on the offensive side, and Florida is not yet a finished product on defense. We do it with some caution, but we will lay the points.

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