The game of the day in the SEC this Saturday afternoon (3:30pm ET) features the third ranked LSU Tigers (5-0), the runner up last year’s BCS National Championship Game, traveling to the Swap in Gainesville, FL to take on the resurgent 11th ranked Florida Gators (4-0). LSU is 2-3 ATS this season, with closer-than-expected wins over Towson last week (38-22) as a 43 point favorite, and at Auburn (12-10) the previous week as an 18 point favorite. The Gators are 3-1 ATS this season with a three-game winning streak ATS, rolling 38-0 over Kentucky last week to cover 23.5 points, 37-20 at Tennessee the previous week as a 3.5 point underdog, and at Texas A&M in their SEC opener in week 2 20-17 as a 1 point favorite.
The LSU offense has excelled at running the football this season, ranking 18th in the country with 229.6 yards per game on the ground, but their passing game has been well below par at 203.2 YPG to rank 95th in the country. New starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger (1,016 yards passing, 6 TDs, 2 INTs) is an improvement over their previous signal callers, but is not the type of elite passer that will keep SEC defensive coordinators awake at night. The Tiger defense is still a top 10 unit across the board, ranking 9th in scoring defense (12.6 PPG), 4th in total defense (217.8 YPG) and 6th in pass defense (134.8 YPG).
Florida is also a team that has not excelled at throwing the football this season, QB Jeff Driskel (698 passing yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT) leads a unit that ranks 110th in passing offense with 183 YPG, but has averaged a respectable 30.5 PPG (51st in the country) against tough competition. The Gator defense has stepped up their level of play this season, ranking 10th in scoring defense with 12.8 PPG and 18th in total defense with 305 YPG allowed.
LSU vs. Florida Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
LSU Tigers -2.5
@ Florida Gators +2.5
Over 43 (-110)
Under 43 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
LSU vs. Florida Pick:
LSU is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 road games, 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games against winning teams, and 7-2 ATS in their last 9 SEC games. The Gators are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall, 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 home games and 1-6 TATS in their last 7 games against winning teams. The under is 4-1 in LSU’s last 5 games coming off of a bye week. The under is 5-2 in Florida’s last 7 SEC games and 4-1 in their last 5 games against winning teams. In head-to-head play, the over is 4-1 in their last 5 meetings, and LSU is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 meetings.
These two teams are both inept when it comes to throwing the ball, and are among the best in the country at defending the pass. LSU and Florida have both played some very low-scoring games over the past two seasons, particularly in conference play. The trend in this series favors the over, but this is not the same defensively-challenged Florida team that LSU has pummeled the last few years, and this game should be close and low-scoring. Florida is a very tempting pick as a home underdog, and the Gators + the under is certainly a good parlay pick, but the call here is to take the under with two good SEC defenses and very little offensive firepower to challenge either of them.
PICK = Under 43