Kentucky – Florida
Time: 3:30 PM ET
Spread: UF -16
M/L: UF -750, UK +525
Betting odds c/o 5dimes
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The Kentucky Wildcats lost Week 1, falling 44-35 to Southern Mississippi. Drew Barker performed well in the loss, throwing 15 of 24 for 323 yards with four TDs and just one pick. Boom Williams rushed for 94 yards on 13 carries, and Garrett Johnson caught six passes for 143 yards and two TDs. The Wildcats defense was where the problems were, as Southern Miss had 258 passing yards and 262 rushing yards. Golden Eagles running back Ito Smith had 173 yards alone.
Williams is going to have to turn it up another notch this week to keep Kentucky in the game against the Florida Gators. Florida’s defense was tough last week against UMass, and Kentucky cannot count on its defense to keep it in games. This game is not that evenly matched as SEC play begins here in Week 2 for these respective clubs.
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Florida defeated UMass 24-7 in Week 1. Luke Del Rio threw 29 of 44 for 256 yards and two TDs, and rushed for 11 yards on six carries. Brandon Powell and Antonio Callaway combined for 15 receptions and 145 yards between them. The Gators caught 29 passes for 8.8 yards per attempt, and Del Rio did not throw any picks. Jordan Scarlett rushed for 70 yards on 13 carries, leading the Gators backfield. Florida had 107 yards on 29 attempts (3.7 yards per).
Callaway also had a 32 yard return, and Dre Massey returned one for 21 yards. Callaway returned four punts for 33 total yards, including a long of 17 yards. Eddy Pineiro was 3 of 3 on FGA including a 49-yard make. Johnny Townsend punted four times for an average of 44.5 yards per punt, and had a long punt of 52-yards. Special teams play is usually a strength of the Gators and Callaway will have his standout returns.
The Wildcats have a stable of great return men, in their own right, though. Last week Kentucky had 188 yards on eight kick returns with Jojo Kemp, Shishem King and JD Harmon all returning one for 27 yards or more.
Del Rio is a 6’1” sophomore whose previous experience included all of 18 throws in 2014. He is short on experience, but high on talent and his 65.9 percent completion ratio from Week 1 should prove to be a staple of his typical performances.
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The Gators have two top-notch receivers in Brandon Powell and Callaway, and Josh Hammond is a good option as well with five catches for 38 yards last week. Scarlett has a lot of pressure on himself in the backfield, and Del Rio will have to be more effective at rushing the ball to keep the Gators’ ground game up to par.
Kentucky should be able to stay within striking distance early on the basis of its offense, but eventually the Wildcats’ lack of defense is going to catch up to them with Florida’s high powered pass attack. Kentucky did manage 411 total yards last week, but that was against Southern Miss and the Gators are a stronger defensive team to say the least.
College football oddsmakers setting the line 16-points in favor of Florida is fairly illustrative, but if the Wildcats are allowing the Golden Eagles to put up 44, might not Florida go for 50 even? The over/under is set at 49.5, which seems slightly low in light of how poor Kentucky’s defense was in Week 1 against a far lesser squad than the Gators.
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