Line: Florida State -9.5
Florida vs Florida State Breakdown and Betting Odds
The Florida Gators (6-5) are facing their hated in-state rival No. 16 Florida State Seminoles (8-3) Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET. The Seminoles are 9.5-point favorites. The over/under is set at 58 points.
Florida owns the lifetime series, posting a 37-26-2 (.585) record. Outside of the COVID year, Florida and Florida State have played every season since 1958. Florida has won the last three matchups after losing seven of eight between 2010 and 2017. Florida won the last matchup in Tallahassee, blasting the ‘Noles by 27. Last year, the Gators eked out a 3-point win at home.
Florida has had a difficult season. While they are 6-5 and eligible for a bowl game, they have lost three of their last five games after a strong start. They opened the season with a heart-stopping win over then No. 7 Utah at home. The Gators jumped up to No. 12 in the subsequent AP poll, but they lost to Kentucky, only beat an atrocious South Florida by three, then lost to Tennessee. At 2-2, Florida fell out of the polls. They responded with wins over Eastern Washington and Missouri, but their season quickly went off the rails. Entering SEC play, Florida lost to LSU and Georgia before beating Texas A&M and South Carolina. Last week, the Gators lost to Vanderbilt.
Despite having a tantalizing quarterback, Florida has not had the most effective offense. They rank 47th in scoring, and they have completed only 55.8% of their passes. Anthony Richardson has had an unpolished season, mixing in some excellent plays with many turnovers. Richardson has 14 passing touchdowns and eight interceptions in a disappointing season. He has had a solid season as a runner, racking up 609 yards and nine touchdowns. Montrell Johnson also has scored nine times on the ground. Richardson’s top weapon is Xzavier Henderson. Henderson leads the team with 38 catches while Justin Shorter leads the team with 577 yards.
Florida’s defense has been quite disappointing. They rank 78th in points allowed per game, allowing 27.3 points per contest. They have allowed 4.5 yards per carry. They have forced their fair share of turnovers, but they have hemorrhaged yardage for much of the season. Nine different Gators have recorded a full sack with Amari Burney leading the way with 4.0 sacks. He has also forced two fumbles, one of four Gators to do so. Jaydon Hill is one of two Gators (with Burney) to intercept two passes.
Despite their recent struggles, Florida is 3-2 ATS in their last five games. They have been favored in three of five games, losing outright against LSU and Vanderbilt. They are 2-0 ATS in games they were underdogs. They covered +23 in a 22-point loss to Georgia, and they won outright as 1.5-point underdogs against Texas A&M. The over is 3-2 in those games, but the under has hit in each of the last two games.
Florida State Overview
Florida State’s season has come in three distinct sections. They began 4-0, beating FCS Duquesne, LSU, Louisville, and Boston College. They jumped to No. 23 in the polls, but they lost three consecutive games to ranked ACC teams in Wake Forest, North Carolina State, and Clemson. After slipping to 4-3, Florida State has ripped off four dominant wins. They beat Georgia Tech by 25, beat Miami (FL) by 42, beat Syracuse by 35, and beat Louisiana by 32. After beating Miami, the ‘Noles jumped back into the polls, and they are up to No. 16 in both the AP poll and College Football Playoff rankings. With a win over Florida, the Seminoles would be in play for a New Year’s Six bowl.
Florida State has had one of the better offenses in the country. They are 23rd in scoring, pouring in more than 35 points per game. If the ‘Noles were better than 8-3, quarterback Jordan Travis would likely be a Heisman contender. Travis has 26 total touchdowns and just four interceptions. While Florida State has had a dynamic rushing attack, Travis has been effective through the air, completing more than 65% of his passes for 8.9 yards per attempt. On the ground, Trey Benson leads the team in attempts, yards, and touchdowns. In the receiving game, nine different players have at least 10 catches. Four players have at least 20 catches with a general spread in both yards and touchdowns. Johnny Wilson has ascended to the alpha role, leading the team with 649 yards and five touchdowns.
Defensively, Florida State might be even better. With the help of their recent hot streak, they are now 13th in points allowed per game, allowing 18 per game. Jared Verse has had a stellar season, posting 14.0 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. Greedy Vance has lived up to his name with a trio of interceptions. Kalen DeLoach has had a well-rounded season, defending seven passes and recording three sacks. On a team level, Florida State has had a rock-solid passing defense, allowing just 155.4 passing yards per game with a 58.4% completion rate. On the ground, the ‘Noles have allowed teams to rush for just 3.7 yards per game. On a per-play basis, the FSU offense is outperforming their opponents by 2.3 yards. They also have a positive turnover differential.
Florida State is 4-1 ATS in their last five games, ripping off four wins in a row. They have covered -24 (Georgia Tech), -6.5 (Miami (FL)), -7 (Syracuse), and -25 (Louisiana). While the Georgia Tech and Louisiana spread offered some challenges, their blowout wins over Syracuse and Miami (FL) covered quickly. The over is 3-2 in the last five games.
Free Pick: Florida State -9.5
This is a battle between two teams who are heading in opposite directions. Florida is reeling, and they have already become bowl eligible. Florida State is having a strong season, but a win could launch them into major bowl consideration. In other words, Florida State has a lot to play for in addition to the rivalry while the Gators might not. It is tough to pick a blowout in rivalry games, but backing Florida State -9.5 is a good idea.