Florida at Kentucky odds: Will No. 22 Gators end their frustrations against Wildcats?

By OnlyGators.com Staff
September 29, 2023
Florida at Kentucky odds: Will No. 22 Gators end their frustrations against Wildcats?
Football

Image Credit: Maddie Washburn, UAA

The Florida Gators dominate the Kentucky Wildcats on the gridiron. Well, at least that’s a sentence that used to be uttered with significant accuracy. The Gators, at one point, won 31 straight games over the ‘Cats (and 39 of 40 from 1980 to 2020). Four decades of utter dominance is nothing to sneeze at.

But a funny thing — well, not funny for Florida — has happened over the last few years: Kentucky has gotten better — much better. Head coach Mark Stoops has led a praiseworthy turnaround for UK that has seen it go through a pair of identical 17-9 two-year stretches. He’s also led the Wildcats to consecutive wins over the Gators for the first time since 1976-77.

No. 22 Florida enters this week’s road game having moved up the AP Top 25 rankings yet with revenge on its mind. Kentucky embarrassed UF — well, the Gators did most of the embarrassing themselves, to be fair — last season in a 26-16 win at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. It kicked off a rough stretch for then-first year Florida head coach Billy Napier, who wound up going winless against the team’s traditional rivals.

Napier ended that drought with a win over then-No. 11 Tennessee a couple of weeks ago, but it’s up to him to ensure the Gators don’t suffer a similar fall from grace against the Wildcats as they did last year after they beat Utah to open the season.

Florida has not had a decisive win at Kentucky since 2013. It won a 14-9 snoozefest in 2015, barely came back to win 28-27 in 2017, scored 19 points in the fourth quarter to win 19-0 in 2019 and then lost in Lexington, Kentucky, for the first time since 1986 after getting edged 20-13 in 2021.

A sleepy noon ET road kickoff will not do the Gators any favors, either. That’s one reason why the betting market will likely be robust. DraftKings Kentucky is sure to see a lot of action┬ásince this will be a nationally televised game on ESPN.

Despite being ranked with a top-15 win, Florida opened and remains a 1-point underdog at Kentucky on Saturday. This ends a 34-year streak in which UF has been favored over UK entering their annual meeting. The total for the game is listed at 44.5, which is projecting a score of 23-22 — also appropriate given the way these teams’ defenses are playing and the scoring history in Lexington as listed above.

The Gators certainly have the better win of the two through four weeks, but it came in a top-tier environment — Saturday night in The Swamp against one of the team’s most hated rivals. The Wildcats haven’t played anyone, though they have been a more impressive scoring team averaging 38 points per game against Ball State, Eastern Kentucky, Akron and Vanderbilt — with their team total increasing each of the last three weeks. Florida has seen its total decline each of the last three weeks as it only scored 22 points against Charlotte.

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