Florida vs. Michigan, Peach Bowl 2018: Prediction, pick, line, spread, odds, watch live stream online

By Adam Silverstein
December 29, 2018
Florida vs. Michigan, Peach Bowl 2018: Prediction, pick, line, spread, odds, watch live stream online

Image Credit: Graphic by Michael Meredith

The No. 10 Florida Gators have already far exceeded expectations this season, but they can truly put a bow on their campaign with a major victory over the No. 7 Michigan Wolverines on Saturday afternoon in the 2018 Peach Bowl. While it would seem like this is a rare matchup between two powerhouse programs, it is actually the third time in the last four years they have squared off. The bad news? Florida has never beaten Michigan (0-4) and got routed by UM in the last two meetings.

On a day where many are focused on the College Football Playoff, this is actually the first New Year’s Six showdown to kickoff this bowl season. The Gators earned this opportunity by playing their way into the game with a strong close to the season, while for the Wolverines, this is a disappointment after missing out on a conference title and more.

Viewing information

Date: Saturday, Dec. 29 | Time: 12 p.m. ET
Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium — Atlanta, Georgia [Capacity: 73,000]

TV: ESPN (Bob Wischusen, Brock Huard, Allison Williams)
Live stream: WatchESPN.com | SiriusXM: 105/190 | Radio: WRUF, TuneIn

Live updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

Tale of the tape

No. 10 Florida Gators No. 7 Michigan Wolverines
Head coach Dan Mullen Jim Harbaugh
Record 9-3 10-2
Conference SEC Big Ten

Prediction and analysis

Spread: Florida +7 | O/U: 51

Michigan has embarrassed Florida in the teams’ last two meetings, showing how truly far behind the Gators were from being a legitimately competitive Power Five program. And if the Wolverines had a full compliment of players, I would likely pick them to cover easily in this game as well. But here’s the thing: Florida is supremely motivated, Michigan’s players know their teammates are not suiting up, and this game means a lot more to UF than it does UM considering how poor the Gators have been for the better part of the last decade. Mullen was 5-2 in bowl games he actually coached at Mississippi State, though one of those losses came in the biggest moment when a 10-2 MSU team fell to Georgia Tech 49-34.

Florida is also coming in hot off a 41-14 blowout over rival Florida State, while Michigan was decimated 62-39 by Ohio State after being outscored 38-20 in the second half. You think Mullen called former boss Urban Meyer for a couple tips on beating Harbaugh? Because I do. This will be a low-scoring affair falling under the total, but the struggling Gators secondary just got 15 practices to work things out, and Feleipe Franks has the chance to put his foot down on the starting job entering the 2019 season. That spells a Florida cover for me.

2018 records: ATS picks 5-6 | O/U picks 5-6

Injuries and absences

Probable (1): OL Brett Heggie (foot)
Questionable (1): QB Kyle Trask (foot)
Out for season CB Marco Wilson (knee), DB Quincy Lenton (Achilles), RB Malik Davis (foot)

The following starters are skipping the Peach Bowl to prepare for the NFL Draft: RB Karan Higdon, DL Rashan Gary, LB Devin Bush, OL Juwann Bushell-Beatty

Game notes

» Florida is 0-4 all-time against Michigan with two losses in the prior three seasons by a combined score of 74-24. Three of the four meetings between the Gators and Wolverines have been in bowl games, all since 2003.
» UF is 22-21 all-time in bowl games (14-13 vs. ranked teams), while UM is 21-25 in bowls (18-21 vs. ranked teams). The Gators are 8-3 in their last 11 bowl games.
» Florida is 0-2 all-time in the Peach Bowl and will play in the game for the first time since 2004. UF has only scored a combined 16 points in those games, falling by a total of 53-16 to Miami and West Virginia. Michigan has never played in the game.
» The Gators were 2-2 against ranked opponents this season. They have not beaten three ranked teams in a season since 2012.
» Florida is 5-0 when scoring first and 7-0 when leading after the third quarter. It is also 6-0 when allowing 20 points or fewer and 8-0 when outrushing their opponent.
» The Gators have not won 10 games since 2015 and have only done so twice since 2009.
» Florida has have scored in 383 consecutive games, an NCAA record.
» UF is one of two FBS teams nationally since 2008 (Alabama) to have not lost a single game to a team that ended a season with a losing record.
» Mullen was 5-2 in bowl games he coached at Mississippi State, though one of his two losses was in his lone appearance in a now-New Year’s Six game (Orange Bowl).
» This is the first time an SEC team has played a Big Ten team in the Peach Bowl since 1990.

Odds and ends

» Florida will wear traditional orange helmets with white jerseys and blue pants. The Gators have not strayed from their traditional uniform combinations since the middle part of the season. Both teams will be in Jordan Brand uniforms on Saturday.

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