College Football Betting Preview: A look at Florida-Florida St

Florida Gators at Florida St Seminoles, Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL
Saturday, November 27, 2010, 3:30 pm Eastern, TV: ABC or ESPN
Opening Line: FSU -2 1/2
Current Line: FSU -2
Opening Total: 51
Current Total: 51
Money Line: FSU -130 / Florida +110

Quarterback Christian Ponder and the Seminoles are 2 point favorites at home versus arch-rival Florida.

It wasn’t that long ago that the annual battle between these two Sunshine State rivals would be without question the biggest game of the day. Now, though both teams will go to a bowl game neither will most likely play in a BCS game. Florida St can still go to the ACC Championship game if Maryland defeats North Carolina St on Saturday, but the Seminoles will still be significant underdogs against Virginia Tech next week. Inconsistent play has been the undoing for both the 7-4 Gators andĀ  the 8-3 Seminoles. Florida has owned the series recently going 5-1 in the last 6 meetings against the Seminoles. This is really not surprising as Florida has been one of the elite teams in the nation since Urban Meyer took over the program and Florida St has fallen on some hard times by program standards. Five of the last six in the series have gone under the total. Florida is 12-3 ATS in road games played on grass in the last 3 seasons. Florida St is 0-6 ATS in home games after playing a conference gameĀ  in the last 2 years.

Florida does have 4 losses on the season but all are to teams ranked in the top 25, Alabama, LSU, South Carolina, and Mississippi St. You could argue that Florida doesn’t have a quality win all season as their best victories are over South Florida and Georgia, two 6 win teams that are barely bowl eligible. Florida has outscored their opponents 31-20 for the season. The Gators struggle to move the ball sometimes as they only average 364 yards a game, including 161 yards per game rushing. The defense is still one of the best in the country though as they only give up 300 yards a game, including 132 yards rushing. The Gators have a turnover margin of +3 and have 21 sacks on the year. They do struggle in the kicking game as they have only converted 6 out of 12 field goal attempts. Quarterback John Brantley has struggled this season under the pressure of replacing Gator legend Tim Tebow. Brantley is only throwing for 179 yards a game. He also has 8 touchdown passes and 8 interceptions. The Gators only have 11 touchdown passes all season. Seven Gator receivers have caught at least one touchdown pass, but no one has any more than 3 (Chris Rainey.) Eight Gators have at least 10 catches but Deonte Thompson has the most with 36. Keep an eye on back-up quarterback Trey Burton who is a multi-threat weapon. He has over 500 combined passing, rushing, and receiving yards. He also has 12 touchdowns on the season, (11 rushing.) The Gator rushing attack is a multi-headed monster with 7 Gators having at least one rushing touchdown. Jeffrey Demps is the Gators leading rusher with 80 carries, 487 yards and 3 touchdowns. MIke Gillislee has 54 carries and 6 touchdowns. Rainey also has two rushing TD’s. The Gators also use back-up QB Jordan Reed in a multi-purpose role similar to Burton. Reed has over 400 combined yards passing, receiving, and rushing. Reed has 9 touchdowns on the season including 3 passing.

The Seminoles will be scoreboard watching as they take on arch-rival Florida. North Carolina St and Maryland play at the same time as the Seminoles and Gators. If Maryland wins then Florida St wins the ACC Atlantic Division and will play Virginia Tech for a berth in a BCS game next week. Florida St is out scoring opponents 32-19. The Seminoles are averaging 396 yards a game, including 183 rushing yards. The Seminoles give up 348 yards a game. The Seminoles are dominant against the run giving up only 115 yards per game. Florida St has a turnover margin of -3 and have forced 41 sacks on the season. The ‘Noles offense is led by Christian Ponder. Ponder has thrown for over 1,800 yards along with 17 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. He also has 4 rushing touchdowns. Nine FSU receivers have at least 1 touchdown catch. Running back Lonnie Pryor has 6 total touchdowns on the season including 3 receiving. Bert Reed has 50 catches and is the top target for Ponder. The Rushing game is led by Chris Thompson and Jermaine Thomas but 7 Seminoles have at least one touchdown run.

Though this game doesn’t have the national significance as it has in years past, these two teams don’t like each other. Expect a hard-hitting game with lots of defense. Florida must protect the quarterback from the aggressive FSU front 7. The Seminoles’ offense is more explosive than Florida’s and that might be the difference in this game,

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