Michigan and Florida One of Top Games on Week 1 College Football Board

Florida Gators

Willie Bee

Wednesday, July 19, 2017 1:41 PM GMT

Favored by 4 points on the NCAA football odds, the Michigan Wolverines look for their 4th-straight win over the Florida Gators when the two collide in Texas on September 2.

Michigan Wolverines vs Florida Gators

Maybe getting out of their home state will help the Florida Gators finally beat the Michigan Wolverines. It certainly hasn’t helped playing in their own back yard so far, all three previous meetings taking place in January 1 bowl games. They meet again in a Week 1 ‘bowl game’ with a September 2 collision that is nationally televised from Arlington, Texas and finds Michigan favored by 4 at Bookmaker.

The Wolverines trashed the Gators not too long ago in the 2016 Citrus Bowl played in Orlando, posting a 41-7 laugher as 3½ favorites on college football odds boards. Michigan won in the same bowl in 2008, and also took Florida out at the ’03 Outback Bowl in Tampa. All three clashes went ‘over’ the totals.

 

Harbaugh’s Recruiting Classes To Be Tested With Just 5 Returning Starters

In a recent interview, Phil Steele noted he thought the Wolverines were among teams that are a bit overrated heading into the 2017 campaign. Steele felt they were a solid ‘under’ 8½ win play, and that would make Michigan and even better fade as a +200 pick to win the Big Ten on the NCAA football futures odds.

That has Jim Harbaugh’s team trailing only Ohio State on the conference futures. The Wolverines are coming off successive 10-3 seasons under Harbaugh and face a tough schedule that begins with the Gators followed by home games against Cincinnati and Air Force. The very end of the slate is also challenging with a trip to face Wisconsin before closing at the Big House against the rival Buckeyes.

That’s a daunting slate with an experienced team returning, which the Wolverines do not have with only five starters coming back. Harbaugh had another strong recruiting class, so talent exists, but Michigan has to reconfigure the defensive backfield, offensive line and receiving corps, making a repeat of those 10-win efforts seem unlikely.

 

Who Is Under Center For Gators Come September?

The 2016 season started so well for Jim McElwain and Florida, but ended on a sour note with lopsided losses to Florida State then Alabama in the SEC Championship. The Gators are, however, are in better shape than Michigan in terms of experience with 14 starters returning, nine of those on offense, and should contend with Georgia for the SEC East title as 8/1 choice to win the conference.

Defense was the strength last season, Florida finishing fifth in the nation in yardage (293/game) and sixth in scoring (16.8). That’s where the Gators lost the most experience, especially in the secondary. The offense should be fine, assuming the Gators can settle on a quarterback,. It’s unclear if Luke Del Rio will be healthy to begin the season, leaving Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask to handle the job for at least a game or three. Whoever is under center will have Jordan Scarlett returning at tailback plus the top five receivers from last year.

I’m not sold on Florida finally getting a win against Michigan, but I do see a close game and that has me taking the Gators plus the points for my free college football pick.

Free College Football Pick: Florida +4Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3187370, "sportsbooksIds":[93,238,19,1275,139], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1 }[/]