Gator Bowl Betting Picks: Florida Gators vs Ohio St Buckeyes

2012 Gator Bowl
Everbank Field – Jacksonville, Florida
Florida Gators vs Ohio St Buckeyes
Monday, January 2, 2012, 1:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN2
Opening Line: Florida -1
Current Line: Florida -2
Opening Total: 43
Current Total: 44
Opening Money Line: Florida -130 / Ohio St +110
Current Money Line: Florida -130 / Ohio St +110

Florida Gators
The Florida Gators are 2 point favorites against Ohio St in the Gator Bowl Monday in Jacksonville.

Though Urban Meyer won’t be on the sidelines for the 2012 Gator Bowl, he will be on the minds of both team involved. The former Florida Gators Coach “retired” at the end of last season citing health problems and wanting to spend more time with his family. His retirement lasted one year as it was announced he will take over the scandal plagued Ohio St Buckeye program next year. Both Ohio St and Florida are 6-6 this year, and barely qualified for a bowl game. These two tradition rich programs have met only once before, but it was a memorable game. Florida, coached by Meyer destroyed previously unbeaten Ohio St 41-14, in the 2007 BCS Championship game. It was the first of 2 national championships to which Meyer coached the Gators.

Florida, coached by Will Muschamp, were ranked #22 in the pre-season poll. The Gators won their first four games, but went 2-6 down the stretch. Florida has wins over Florida Atlantic, UAB, Tennessee, Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Furman. The Gators have losses to Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida St. Florida is 19-19 all time in Bowl games. The Gators beat Penn St last year in the Outback Bowl in Tampa 37-24 in Meyer’s last game as Florida coach.

Ohio St is coached by interim coach Luke Fickell. He will stay on as defensive coordinator under Meyer next season. The Buckeyes were #18 in the pre-season poll. The Buckeyes have wins over Akron, Toledo, Colorado, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana. Ohio St has losses to Miami-Florida, Michigan St, Nebraska, Purdue, Penn St, and Michigan. Ohio St has lost 3 straight games.  The Buckeyes are 19-22 all time in bowl games. They beat Arkansas 31-26 in the Sugar Bowl last year.

Florida is averaging 334.1 yards and 25.6 points a game. Florida is #102 in total offense out of 120 teams. The Gators average 190.2 passing yards and 143.9 rushing yards. Florida has 23 turnovers and has allowed 23 sacks. The Gators are 51/158 on third and fourth down conversions, and 30/35 scoring in the red zone with 17 touchdowns. Florida is allowing 299.6 yards and 20.6 points a game. The Gators are giving up only 176 .5 passing yards a game. All three are in the top 25 nationally, and the total defense and passing defense are top 10. The Gator’s rush defense allows 132.3 yards a game. Florida has forced 12 turnovers and 22 sacks. Gator opponents are 59/191 on third and fourth down conversions, and 31/37 scoring in the red zone with 22 touchdowns. Florida is averaging 8 penalties a game for 58 yards a game. Florida has 5 defensive/special teams touchdowns.

Florida quarterback John Brantley is 132/224 passing (58.9% completions) for 1,912 yards with 10 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. He is probable with a concussion. If he can’t go freshmen backups Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett also have taken some snaps this season. Brissett has 2 passing touchdowns, 4 interceptions, and 2 rushing touchdowns. Driskell has thrown 2 interceptions.  Running back Chris Rainey  has 155 carries, 790 yards, and 2 touchdowns, along with 28 catches, 350 yards, and 2 touchdowns. He also has a punt return for a touchdown and over 1,300 all purpose yards. Jeff Demps has 91 carries, 539 yards, and 6 touchdowns along with 15 catches for 165 yards. Demps has over 900 all purpose yards and has a kickoff return for a touchdown. He is probable with a personal issue. Mike Gillislee has 51carries, 313 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Trey Burton has 33 carries, 102 yards, and 3 touchdowns, along 19 catches, 149 yards, and a touchdown. Receiver Andre Debose has 15 catches for 423 yards and 4 touchdowns. Deonte Thompson, Jordan Reed and Frankie Hammond also get significant catches. Reed and Thompson are both questionable. Kicker Caleb Sturgis is 28/28 on extra points and 21/25 on field goals with a long of 55 yards. Brad Phillips is 2/2 on extra points and 2/3 on field goals with a long of 43 yards. Florida has 10 other players listed on the injury report including 6 defenders and 3 offensive linemen.

Ohio St is averaging 319.5 total yards and 25.1 points a game. The Buckeyes are averaging 195.4 rushing yards and 124.1 passing yards a game. The running game is #2 in the country but the Buckeyes are near the bottom of the country in total offense and passing yards.  Ohio St has 13 turnovers and has allowed 40 sacks.  The Buckeyes are 71/175 on third and fourth down conversions and 32/36 scoring in the red zone, with 23 touchdowns.  The Buckeyes are allowing 328.6 yards a game on defense and 20.8 points. They are allowing 142.4 rushing yards a game and 186.2 passing yards. The Buckeyes are in the top 30 in all categories except rush defense.  They have forced 17 turnovers and 23 sacks. Buckeye opponents are 76/190 on third and fourth down  conversions, and 26/32 scoring in the red zone with 20 touchdowns. The Buckeyes have one special teams touchdown this year on a punt return.

Ohio St quarterback Braxton Miller is 67/134 passing (50% completions)  for 997 yards, 11 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, along with 144 carries for 695 yards and 7 touchdowns. Quarterback Joe Bauserman has also taken some snaps and is 40/86 passing with 492 passing yards, 5 touchdowns, and 1 interception. He also has 19 carries for 19 yards and a touchdown. Running back Dan Herron has 123 carries, 596 yards, and 3 touchdowns, along with 4 catches. Herron missed the first 5 games due to a suspension for accepting improper benefits. Running back Carlos Hyde has 101 carries for 549 yards, and 6 touchdowns, along with 9 catches for 65 yards. Jordan Hall has 95 carries for 381 yards, and 2 touchdowns, plus 9 catches, 102 yards and 2 touchdowns. Rod Smith has 29 carries for 116 yards and a touchdown. He is questionable for the bowl with a personal issue.  Receiver Devin Smith has 12 catches for 247 yards and 4 touchdowns. Jake Stoneburner has 14 catches for 193 yards and 7 touchdowns. Stoneburner is questionable with a knee injury. Corey Brown and Chris Fields also get significant catches. Brown is probable with a shoulder injury. Fields has a punt return for a touchdown this season. Kicker Drew Basil is 34/34 on extra points and 15/18 on field goals with a long of 47 yards. Seven Buckeye players are listed as questionable or out including 4 defensive players.

Ohio St is 6-6 against the spread and the total is also 6-6 this season. Florida is 3-8-1 ATS and the total is 6-6 this season. The Gators are 7-1 ATS as a neutral site favorite,  5-1 in bowl games, and in January, 7-2 in neutral site games, 20-6 in non-conference games, 1-3-1 as a favorite, 0-5 after a straight up loss, 0-7 after failing to cover, 0-8 overall, and on grass, and 0-4 after scoring 20 points or less. The Buckeyes are 4-0 ATS as an underdog, and in neutral site games, 11-2 in non-conference games, 5-1 as a bowl underdog, 22-6 on grass, 7-2 in bowl games, 6-2 in January, 23-8-1 after a straight up win, 18-7-1 after a cover, 55-26-1 overall, 2-5 as an underdog of 3 points or less, and 1-5 against SEC teams.

Neither of these 0ffenses are that great, and a lot of the key skill position players are banged up on both sides. Throw in the fact that the defenses are among the best in the country, and it points to a low scoring. I like Florida to win by double digits because I am not sure what motivation Ohio St will have a with a lame duck coach.

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