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Georgia Bulldogs vs. Florida Gators Point Spread - Pick

Georgia Bulldogs (7-0 SU, 5-2 ATS) vs. Florida Gators (3-3 SU, 2-4 ATS)
College Football Week 9
Date/Time: Saturday, October 28, 2017 at 3:30PM EST
Where: EverBank Stadium, Jacksonville, Florida
TV: CBS

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: UGA -14.5/FLA +14.5
Over/Under Total: 45

The Georgia Bulldogs meet the Florida Gators at EverBank Stadium on Saturday in SEC action. It's a neutral field setting, with UF about a two hour drive away from this venue. Fan bases of both teams should be expected to attend, but it's definitely not a home game for Florida. Each team is coming off a bye-week, entering this matchup rested and ready to go. The Bulldogs are coming off a 53-28 win over Missouri, while Florida is coming off a 19-17 loss to Texas A&M, their second straight loss at home. Last season on this same field, the Gators were able to beat the Bulldogs, 24-10. Let's just say the Gators were a lot better and the Bulldogs a lot worse in that game. Who can get the win and cover this week in Tampa?

Despite being ranked near the top and being unbeaten at 7-0, not a lot of people are giving Georgia a lot of attention or respect on a national level. If they win this, they have a pretty clear path to the SEC title game, which means they'll be one win away from the CFP. A lot can happen between now and then and a fairly-easy schedule is part of them being 7-0, with their best triumph a one-point win over Notre Dame. This is a tough road spot and we should get a better idea of where the Bulldogs stand in the second-half of the season. At the end of the day, despite not being all that severely-tested, the Bulldogs are a team that can run the heck out the ball and play good defense against the run and the pass.

The Georgia offense has gotten a big boost from freshman quarterback Jake Fromm. He has 12 touchdowns against just three picks and his solid presence has been a big part of this offense turning a new page this season. The aerial game isn't all that electric, but Terry Godwin is a difference-maker, with supporting weapons that can spring forth at a given time. The real danger in this offense comes from its deep rushing attack, led by Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. The two have combined for nearly 1200 yards with 14 touchdowns. With D'Andre Swift, Evander's kid Elijah Holyfield, and even Fromm, there is room for a lot of production in this backfield. And making it all come together is a line that has kept Fromm out of too much trouble, while opening up big holes for the cabaret of Bulldogs backs to exploit.

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In his second season at the helm, it's clear that Kirby Smart's handiwork has resonated in a big way on the defensive side of the ball. They are giving up just over 12 points a game on average, with the run-stop being great thus far, giving up 82 yards a game, while giving up just an average of 170 yards through the air. Other than the 19 they gave up to Notre Dame and the 28 they gave up to Mizzou in their last game, no team has surpassed 14 points against Georgia. They've done it without a lot of frills. No one on this defense is putting up numbers. They just play as a cohesive unit and they are very consistent. Having returning Trenton Thompson up-front moving forward will help and LB Roquan Smith is putting together a special season.

Florida has fallen to 3-3 and look to have taken a step back in Jim McElwain's third season at the helm after consecutive SEC East titles. After losing its opener to Michigan, three straight wins over Tennessee, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt restored some hope, but two straight losses to LSU and Texas A&M, by a combined three points, have them at 3-3 and looking for a positive development, which a win here would certainly be. The Gators have been hard by injuries on both sides of the ball. The bye week could help get some of those bodies healthy, but it's hard when key guys are banged-up and Florida has gotten more than their fair share of that this season.

Gators' quarterback, redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks hasn't really gotten this offense to click under his guidance, but Florida has managed to be one of those teams that can thrive even without standout play at the QB position. His best aerial weapon is sophomore receiver Tyrie Cleveland, who is questionable for this game. They have gotten some decent performances from young Malik Davis, Lamical Perine, and Kadarius Toney (questionable). But with injuries before and during the season, a lot of pieces that were supposed to be in there are missing. And that's true for the other side of the ball, as well.

A key part of the Florida formula for success is a defense that makes plays and is stout. Injuries have stripped them of some of that menace. Losing key DE Jordan Sherit was a bad blow and we'll see if some other banged-up members of this defense benefit from the week off. Giving up 19 to Texas A&M is certainly not a bad showing, but a little more clutch on this side of the ball would have really paid off the last few weeks. They will have their hands full with the Georgia ground game and how well they do will play a big role in this game.

The Bulldogs certainly look good thus far in the 2017 season. At the same time, we've seen teams with even better credentials suffer unexpected losses that were seen coming even less than this one. Georgia has beaten Notre Dame by a point, while toppling a bunch of suffering SEC teams, along with wins over Sanford and Appalachian State thrown into the mix. It's sort of weak resume for a team ranked so highly. But they are unbeaten and look pretty good. Florida, meanwhile, is a few points from being 5-1, but injuries and inconsistent play have cost them a lot this season. Still, at home, maybe they can offer enough grit to cover the big spread. We're taking the Gators.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Florida Gators plus 14.5 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the Bulldogs vs. Gators game by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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