Florida vs. LSU: Pick, prediction, spread, odds, football game time, watch live stream, TV channel

By Adam Silverstein
October 16, 2021
Florida vs. LSU: Pick, prediction, spread, odds, football game time, watch live stream, TV channel

Image Credit: Michael Nash

The cross-division rivalry between the Florida Gators and LSU Tigers has been filled with twists and turns over the years, but it’s been especially unique over the last five seasons as the Gators and Tigers have suffered upset losses to one another with odd circumstances effecting the games themselves. This as Florida has largely floundered with LSU taking advantage throughout the last 10 meetings.

The game has been moved twice in the last five years — first from Gainesville, Florida, to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 2016 amid a contentious situation involving Hurricane Matthew and then again in 2020 to the final week of the regular season due to COVID-19 issues. The Gators won that former meeting in an upset only to lose the latter as the No. 6 team in the nation to an unranked Tigers program that was struggling mightily throughout the season. Oh yeah, there was also a thrown shoe that cost UF significantly.

That’s not to mention all the strange bounces, controversial calls and close games that make the annual meeting between these programs so special.

No. 20 Florida enters Saturday’s game at LSU not only seeking revenge of a struggling team but hoping to propel itself forward after consecutive losses — a tough defeat at home to Alabama and disastrous road upset at Kentucky — basically ended its chance at the SEC Championship Game and College Football Playoff. The Gators enter as 11-point road favorites as the Tigers limp into the game both literally and figuratively.

LSU’s injuries and absences have mounted with the program expected to be down four or five starting defenders — mostly stars, including starting cornerbacks Derek Stingley, Jr. and Eli Ricks — along with a starting wide receiver, who this week was ruled out for the season. Then there’s the Tigers themselves, which are just 8-8 (6-7 SEC) over the last two seasons with a 1-3 record against Power Five competition in 2021. Their coach is legitimately on the hot seat — unlike the imaginary one a small portion of Gators fans believe their coach should be on — and may well be looking at his last game leading the Bayou Bengals if they suffer an embarrassing defeat.

Florida still has plenty of questions to answer after an uneven yet dominant performance over Vanderbilt last week. LSU was doubled up on the road at Kentucky, 42-21, which was either an aberration or a sign of things to come Saturday.

What will go down Saturday when Florida visits LSU at the season’s midway point? Let’s find out.

Tale of the tape

No. 20 Florida GatorsLSU Tigers
Head coachDan MullenEd Orgeron
Record4-2 (2-2)3-3 (1-2)

Injuries and absences

Questionable (1): CB Kaiir Elam (knee)
Out for season (3): LB Ventrell Miller (torn biceps) CB Jaydon Hill (knee), DB Kamar Wilcoxson (knee)
Notable inactives (?): To be announced before kickoff

Viewing information

Date: Saturday, Oct. 16 | Time: 12 p.m. ET
Location: Tiger Stadium — Baton Rouge, Louisiana [102,321]

TV: ESPN (Sean McDonough, Todd Blackledge, Molly McGrath)
Live stream: WatchESPN | SiriusXM: 85 (app) | Radio: WRUF, TuneIn
Live updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

Game notes

» Florida is 33-31-3 all-time against LSU with a 17-17 mark in Baton Rouge. The Tigers have defeated the Gators in eight of the last 11 meetings since 2010 and three of the last four in Death Valley.
» Under Mullen, Florida is 24-4 when scoring first, 27-3 when leading at halftime, 29-2 when leading after the third quarter, 23-1 when allowing 20 points or fewer and 25-2 when outrushing its opponents. The negative marks in those last two statistics have come this season to Kentucky (both) and Alabama, respectively.
» UF is 7-8 when being outrushed by an opponent and 6-6 in games decided by 10 points or less.
» Florida is 6-9 against ranked opponents (2-3 vs. top five teams, 4-6 vs. top 10 teams) and 25-4 against unranked teams under Mullen. It is also 12-1 against nonconference opponents.
» The Gators have scored 24+ points in 31 of their last 35 games.
» Florida had posted 400+ yards of total offense in 14 consecutive games, the longest such streak since at least 1981. That mark ended against Kentucky (382 yards). Its 666 yards against South Florida in Week 2 were the most in any game under Mullen.
» The Gators’ 504 total yards per game are fourth among Power Five teams, and the team’s 3,024 total yards are the most through six games since 1991.
» UF’s 400 yards rushing in Week 1 vs. FAU were the most under Mullen and the most for any FBS team this season. The Gators are third nationally with 273.7 yards rushing per game, and their 1,642 yards rushing through six games are the most for the program in that span since 1975.
» Florida is one of two FBS teams nationally (Alabama) that has not lost to an opponent that finished the season with a losing record since 2004.
» UF has scored in 416 consecutive games, an NCAA record.

Prediction and analysis

Spread: Florida -11 | O/U: 60

As you can see below, I have no handle on how Florida is going to perform this season, an oddity as the Gators wins and losses (not to mention covers) are usually predictable at a decent clip. The reason is primarily because Florida is exceedingly inconsistent. How else do you explain the performance against Alabama compared to the one at Kentucky or a team that has been relatively disciplined under Mullen suddenly being a penalty machine over seven of the last eight quarters? The Gators offense is giving away yards like candy, and it faces a much tougher road environment than Kroger Field when it steps into Death Valley, even if the game is Saturday afternoon.

So while the Tigers are playing poor football and licking their wounds, they do not feel as vulnerable because there’s no proof that UF can take advantage of the situation. Even it it can, how do we trust Florida to have suddenly solved its penalty problems (an issue that should have been fixed last week at home)? The only answer that presents itself is the Gators running game, third in the FBS and capable of not only taking the air out of Tiger Stadium but perhaps grinding the Tigers into dust in the second half.

In perhaps a bit of a George Costanza move, I’m going to fade myself and do the opposite. Nothing’s worked out this season with tuna on toast. Let’s go with chicken salad, on rye — untoasted — with a side of potato salad … and a cup of tea. That means Florida covering the spread of under two touchdowns. The under is also 4-1-1 this season in Gators games, and with it possibly being difficult for LSU to score at all, that’s a smart lean. Good for the tuna.

2021 records: ATS picks 1-5 | O/U picks 3-2-1

Odds and ends

» Florida will wear orange jerseys and orange pants with orange helmets for the first time since the 2016 SEC Championship Game loss to Alabama. The Gators are 3-0 under Mullen in orange jerseys and 4-1 all-time in all orange.

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