Kentucky vs. Florida College Football Picks & Predictions

Darin Zank

Monday, September 8, 2014 7:52 PM UTC

Monday, Sep. 8, 2014 7:52 PM UTC

The Wildcats have already matched last year's win total, and they're 2-0 ATS. But they run into a team that's beaten them an amazing 27 times in a row, seven times in a row ATS, when they take on the Gators Saturday night at the Swamp (7:30 pm ET).

The Match-Up
Florida began this season by having a game at home against Idaho get weathered-out, then really kicked off 2014 last week with a 65-0 victory in a glorified scrimmage against Eastern Michigan, covering as 40-point favorites. Florida out-gained the Eagles by 530 yards, out-rushed them 259-80, held the ball for almost 36 minutes and won the turnover battle 5-0. No wonder the Gators beat the numbers posted on the College Football odds boards.

Florida returned 14 starters this season from the injury-plagued team that went 4-8 last year. Seven starters are back on offense, including QB Jeff Driskel and three along the offensive line. And seven starters are back on defense, including three along what could be one of the best front fours in the nation.

Kentucky, meanwhile, opened its second season under head coach Mark Stoops with a 59-14 victory over FCS UT-Martin, covering as 21-point favorites. The Wildcats then defeated Ohio last week 20-3, cashing in as 13-point chalk. Kentucky led the Bobcats 14-0 after one quarter and 17-0 at the half, went on to out-gain Ohio 402-223 and held the ball for over 38 minutes.

Kentucky returned 15 starters this season from a team that went 2-10 in its first season under Coach Stoops last year.  Seven are back on offense, including last year's leading rusher, top two receivers and four along the offensive line. And eight are back on defense, including six of the back seven.

Also Read My Tennessee vs. Oklahoma Free Picks Article

Wildcats-Gators Recent History
This series, at the moment, does not qualify as a rivalry, because Florida has beaten Kentucky 27 times in a row. And few of those games have been close. Last year, though, in the game after Driskel was lost for the season to that broken fibula, the Wildcats clung to a 7-7 tie into the second quarter, but eventually lost 24-7 and couldn't quite cover as 11-point home dogs.

The Gators out-gained Kentucky that day 402-173, won the ground battle 246-48 and held the ball for 38 minutes.

The last time the Wildcats beat Florida came back in 1986, a 10-3 victory in Lexington, when QB Bill Ransdell went 20/23 passing and the Kentucky defense thwarted a late Gators drive with a fumble recovery.


Wildcats-Gators Betting Trends

Kentucky is 0-16 SU, 3-11-1 ATS in its last 16 SEC games.

The Wildcats went 0-8 SU, 2-5-1 ATS last year as double-digit dogs.

Florida is 13-3 SU, 8-8 ATS when Driskel has started at QB.


Injury Update
Kentucky returned its top four pass catchers from last season, but two of them, Javess Blue and Jeff Badet, are banged up and listed as questionable for this game.


Free NCAAF Pick
Florida has owned Kentucky for nearly 30 years, but perhaps Coach Stoops has his team ready for this one. He's got most of last year's team back, and he's familiar with Florida and Coach Muschamp, having gone up against them as Florida State's defensive coordinator three years in a row from 2010-'12, holding the Gators to seven points twice. So we'll take a chance and go with the underdog Wildcats, plus the 18 points offered at 5dimes, for one of our free college football picks this week.

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