Week 5 NCAAF Marquee Game: Gators on the Prowl in Starkville

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 1:59 PM UTC

Tuesday, Sep. 25, 2018 1:59 PM UTC

The Florida Gators may seem like the bigger name on the marquee, but they’re a value NCAAF pick for Saturday’s game against the No. 23 Mississippi State Bulldogs.

Jason’s 2018-19 NCAAF picks record through Week 5: 6-4 ATS; 0-1 ML (minus-1.00 units), 0-1 Totals

Florida vs. No. 23 Mississippi StateSaturday, 6:00 p.m. ET, Starkville (ESPN)Free NCAAF Pick: GatorsBest Line Offered: 5Dimes

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Something strange has happened in the SEC: People have forgotten about the Florida Gators. The Gators have had their ups and downs since Urban Meyer “retired” as head coach in 2010; they didn’t make it into a bowl game last year, giving Jim McElwain the boot after less than three seasons at the helm. Dan Mullen is their coach now. You remember Dan Mullen, right? He was Meyer’s offensive co-ordinator and QB coach before taking the top job with the Mississippi State Bulldogs in 2009 and turning them into a contender in the SEC West.

Well, what do you know: The Bulldogs are hosting the Gators this Saturday. And they’re 7.5-point favorites on the NCAAF odds board at press time, after opening at –7. This is despite 58-percent consensus for Florida among early bettors. On the surface, it appears the Bulldogs (3-1 SU and ATS) are still the sharp pick under new head coach Joe Moorhead. But it’s only an illusion – if we’re looking at these numbers correctly.

Gator Haterz

Let’s get right to the projection for this game and their equivalent vig-free odds, shall we?

ESPN Football Power Index: MSU 63.5 percent
Equivalent Moneyline (using SBR Odds Converter): MSU –174
Equivalent Point Spread (via Wizard of Odds): MSU –5

There’s that 2-point gap we want between the odds and the stat-nerd projections. And as far as Florida’s betting profile is concerned, the public money charts we’re looking at have the Bulldogs ranked No. 27 overall, well ahead of the Gators (also 3-1 SU and ATS) at No. 60. The betting public is indeed a fickle mistress. Is there really that much difference between these two teams? They both lost to Kentucky as big favorites. They’ve both taken care of business otherwise.

Mullen Kintyre

Actually, the Bulldogs are still the better team on paper. That’s according to the S&P+ rankings at Football Outsiders, which have MSU at No. 9 and Florida at No. 24. Both teams are underrated, in other words – although we’d rather go by whatever the F/+ Ratings have to say when they’re released later this week.

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Note to Gator Nation: 1. Kentucky is better than u thought. 2. Miss St. may not be as good as we thought. 3. With David Reese in the lineup, the Gator defense is better than u thought. 4. U probably owe Feleipe Franks an apology. 5. Dan Mullen was the best hire in CFB this year. pic.twitter.com/ICp1lhSBnr

— Buddy Martin (@buddyshow) 23 de setembro de 2018
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We remain confident enough here at the ranch to put Florida in our Week 5 college football picks, especially now that they’ve cleared the magic number 7. Mullen was the architect of this program; Moorhead is a highly-touted prospect as a head coach, but he was parachuted in last November after two years as James Franklin’s OC/QB wingman at Penn State. Saturday’s game could be a classic case of the old coach knowing more about his opponent than the new coach. We’ll buy that for a dollar.

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