Florida at Kentucky: Game pick, prediction, odds, spread, line, time, TV, watch live stream

By Adam Silverstein
September 14, 2019
Florida at Kentucky: Game pick, prediction, odds, spread, line, time, TV, watch live stream

Image Credit: Michael Nash

Believe it or not, the Florida Gators have opened a season 2-0 for the first time since 2016. And one of the reasons why Florida holds that distinction in 2019 is the Kentucky Wildcats. A shocking 27-16 upset over the Gators inside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium last season broke a 31-year winning streak UF held against UK. Ask anyone involved with Florida football and they will tell you that “revenge” is not on their minds. Sure it’s not.

The truth is that the No. 9 Gators have been disrespected ever since their Week Zero win over Miami. And now, hitting the road to face a Kentucky team that beat it soundly a year ago and appeared poised to pull off an upset the year prior, too, Florida is on “upset alert” according to nearly everyone who writes such columns or opines on television segments.

What will go down as the Gators hit the road for the first time this season to take on the Wildcats? Let’s find out with plenty of information, notes, analysis and a game prediction.

Viewing information

Date: Saturday, Sept. 14 | Time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: Kroger Field — Lexington, Kentucky [Capacity: 61,000]

TV: ESPN (Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Todd McShay, Molly McGrath)
Live stream: WatchESPN.com | SiriusXM: 99/201 | Radio: WRUF, TuneIn
Live updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

Tale of the tape

No. 9 Florida GatorsKentucky Wildcats
Head coachDan MullenMark Stoops

Injuries and absences

Probable (2): ATH Amari Burney (undisclosed), DB Jeawon Taylor (shoulder)
Doubtful (1): CB C.J. Henderson (ankle)
Out (2): ATH Kadarius Toney (shoulder), DT Elijah Conliffe (undisclosed)
Out for season (2): CB C.J. McWilliams (Achilles), LB David Reese (Achilles)
Undetermined (1): DB Brad Stewart

Game notes

» Florida is 51-18 all-time against Kentucky and saw the nation’s longest active winning streak over an annual opponent end after 31 years last season.
» Still, the Gators are 37-2 against the Wildcats since 1980 and have won 15 straight games in Lexington. UF is 21-10 overall against UK at its home stadium. Kentucky has not beaten Florida in consecutive seasons since 1976-77.
» UF is 9-2 vs. UK when the teams open SEC play against one another.
» Florida has begun a season 2-0 for the first time since 2016.
» The Gators have won six straight games by a combined score of 214-59.
» Florida is looking to win its seventh straight game (dating back to 2018) on Saturday. That has not been accomplished by a Gators team since the 2014-15 seasons.
» Florida is 9-2 against unranked opponents under Mullen with both losses coming to SEC East teams (one of them Kentucky) in The Swamp. However, the Gators are also 4-1 against ranked opponents under Mullen, beating three ranked teams in a single season in 2018 for the first time since 2012.
» UF is looking for its first back-to-back 10-win seasons in a decade (2008-09).
» Under Mullen, the Gators are 7-0 when scoring first, 10-0 when leading after the third quarter, 9-0 when allowing 20 points or fewer, 4-0 in games decided by fewer than 10 points and 10-0 when outrushing their opponent.
» UF has scored in 387 consecutive games, an NCAA record.
» Florida is one of only two FBS teams (Alabama) that has not lost to an opponent that finished the season with a losing record dating back to the 2008 season.

Prediction and analysis

Spread: Florida -8 | O/U: 48

The Gators’ defense is, somehow, underrated. Florida is not getting credit for leading the FBS in sacks (15) or racking up the second-most tackles for loss nationally because of its first two opponents. But the fact of the matter is that UF’s front seven has eaten so far this season, and it does not appear as if UK has the horses to stop them. Sawyer Smith is a worthy replacement for Kentucky quarterback Terry Wilson, but what made Wilson so successful against a young Florida defense last season was his versatility and dual-threat ability. Smith does not share those qualities. Let’s not forget that the Wildcats are also without running back Benny Snell and linebacker Josh Allen, who moved onto the NFL after giving the Gators fits last season.

That does not mean this will be easy for Florida. This Kentucky team is talented, and the lacking home-field advantage the Wildcats used to have (there would often be plenty of Gators jerseys in Lexington in years past) is gone with the fan base rallying around the team. In fact, this is actually one of the most popular tickets of the weekend. Still, Florida has the talent advantage here and superior special teams play. Injuries to Henderson and Toney hurt but are not killers for the Gators. They can say that revenge is not on their minds, but I would be shocked if Mullen is not using last year’s result and the lacking respect for Florida nationally as motivation in this one.

This should be relatively close for most of the game, but a late score by the Gators should put them past the Wildcats by double digits. And in backing the defense on both ends of the field, this should fall under the projected total.

2019 records: ATS picks 1-1 | O/U picks 1-0

Odds and ends

» Florida will wear traditional orange helmets with white jerseys and orange pants. The Gators have not strayed from their traditional uniform combinations since the middle part of the 2018 season.

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