College Football Picks: Florida vs. Kentucky

Jeff Grant

Thursday, September 26, 2013 1:38 PM GMT

Thursday, Sep. 26, 2013 1:38 PM GMT

The Florida Gators have absolutely owned their series with the Kentucky Wildcats, as the two teams prepare to meet Saturday night.

Let’s take a closer look at the college football odds for this Southeastern Conference matchup at Commonwealth Stadium, with the opening kickoff scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPNU.

Take a look at my College Football Picks: Opening Odds Report for Week 5.

Starting over

The Florida Gators are 2-1 SU and 0-3 ATS through their first three games of the season, but they now prepares for life without starting quarterback Jeff Driskel, who suffered a season-ending leg injury last week in a win over the Tennessee Volunteers.

The Gators will turn to Tyler Murphy under center, as they attempt to win their 27th consecutive game in this series—posting a 17-9 ATS record over that span.

A new enthusiasm on campus

Kentucky is 1-2 SUATS to start its first season under head coach Mark Stoops, but there’s some good things happening within the program, which includes ranking fourth in the SEC in averaging 490 yards per game.

The Wildcats are 2-16 SU and 5-13 ATS as underdogs the last two-plus seasons, with the UNDER going 11-7 in that situation.

Series domination

College football handicappers may blindly back the Gators when looking over the point spread in this affair, as they’ve compiled a 30-3 record against the Wildcats when dressing up as a ranked team in this series.

Florida has covered the number in its last six games against Kentucky, while the defense has allowed 299 or fewer yards in four of five contests over that span.

Converting on third down

There’s probably no bigger statistic to analyze in this matchup than third-down conversions, as the Wildcats have allowed opponents to pick up just nine first downs in 39 opportunities in that situation.

It’s important to point out that Saturday’s opponent has been dominant during the Will Muschamp era in this category, which virtually offers no advantage on either side.

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Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Gators with their college football picks, as their wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Joker Phillips was fired as Kentucky’s coach last year—something that will properly motivate the roster for this affair.

College Football Pick:  Florida Gators -12

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