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Florida should start new streak against Kentucky

Kentucky ended Florida’s 31-game winning streak in the series last season.

After a Week 0 game against Miami, the Gators have been preparing for revenge since Aug. 25. Florida had a Week 1 bye and faced FCS pushover Tennessee-Martin last week.

I anticipate Florida’s defense will dominate. Kentucky wide receiver Lynn Bowden is the only passing-game threat that the Gators must contain, so defensive coordinator Todd Grantham can blitz backup quarterback Sawyer Smith as much as he wants.

Kentucky’s only hope in the running game is redshirt freshman Kavosiey Smoke, a big-play threat. But Florida will stuff Kentucky often on first down.

Kentucky lost its entire starting secondary in 2019, and then safety Davonte Robinson, the most experienced returning defensive back, was lost for the season because of an injury. With no Josh Allen chasing its quarterback, Florida’s athletic receivers will have time to get open.

Toledo was testing Kentucky before QB Mitchell Guadagni got a concussion, and the Wildcats scored a touchdown with 54 seconds left against Eastern Michigan to get a cheap ATS cover in that game.

Take Florida minus 8.

Four more plays (home team in CAPS):

BRIGHAM YOUNG (+4) over Southern California: The Trojans got revenge on Stanford one week after losing starting QB J.T. Daniels to injury. Next week, USC travels to Utah for a Friday game that could decide the Pac-12 South. This is a big-time sandwich spot on the road and at altitude. BYU should have lost at Tennessee, but played Utah much tougher than the final score indicated. I have the Cougars only six spots behind the Trojans in my power rankings. BYU is among the best teams in the country at preventing explosive plays. Expect a grind. USC should be happy to get out of Provo with a win of any margin.

TEXAS-SAN ANTONIO (+17½) over Army: The defensive line is the Roadrunners’ best unit. UTSA’s short yardage rush defense is solid. Army is getting love for almost winning at Michigan, but it almost lost to Rice. This is a back-to-back road spot for the Black Knights. If Army succeeds more than I anticipate, it will drain the clock with eight-minute drives. This is too many points for an Army team in a tough schedule spot facing a team that matches up better than you would think.

TEMPLE (+7) over Maryland: The handicap is whether the market has failed to catch up to the new reality for Maryland under coach Mike Locksley or whether the Terrapins are falsely inflated. I’m betting on falsely inflated. SP+, which is 63 percent ATS in games in which its projection differs from the spread by three or more points, projects Temple by 0.6 points. Maryland allowed 330 passing yards in last week’s resounding win over Syracuse, and Anthony Russo and his receivers are underrated. Temple will not push the pace as much as Syracuse did. This line represents a massive adjustment from what it would have been this summer, and that has created value.

Unlv (+18) over NORTHWESTERN: The Wildcats are a simple team. They are 27-10 ATS as road underdogs and 26-37-1 ATS as home or road favorites since 2008. They make games ugly, which makes them fantastic underdogs but poor as favorites. Hunter Johnson was supposed to make Northwestern’s passing game more explosive, but he finished 6 of 17 for 55 yards and two interceptions against a Stanford defense that allowed USC’s backup quarterback to throw for 377 and three touchdowns.

Last week: 2-3

Season: 4-6

More Betting: Follow at reviewjournal.com/betting and @RJ_Sports on Twitter.

Christopher Smith of AL.com, NOLA.com and MyBookie is providing college football analysis for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Follow @cfblocksmith on Twitter.

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