The Miami Hurricanes and the #8 ranked Florida Gators will take center stage on Saturday, as they kick off the 150th season of college football and renew their storied rivalry. This Sunshine State battle will take place at the neutral site of Orlando, Florida, and you can expect each team to be well represented with fans. Miami begins a new era under first-year head coach Manny Diaz and Florida looks to build off of their breakthrough success from last year. Kickoff inside the Camping World Stadium for the Hurricanes vs Gators game is at 7 PM ET.
|Betting Data||Miami Hurricanes||Florida Gators|
|2018 ATS Home||3-3||4-3|
|2018 ATS Away||2-3||4-0|
|2018 O/U Home||3-3||4-3|
|2018 O/U Away||1-3-1||3-1|
This “Week 0” matchup marks the 56th time these two schools have played against each other. Miami holds the advantage with a 29-26 all-time record. The Hurricanes have also dominated this rivalry in recent years as they’ve gone 8-2 in the last 10 head-to-head matchups, which dates back 35 years. Miami not only won their first ever meeting back in 1938, but they also won the last time these two teams played against each other in 2013.
Miami (0-0) is coming off a 7-6 season, which was a step down from their 2017 campaign when they finished 10-3 overall. When we last saw the Hurricanes, they were getting pummeled in the Pinstripe Bowl against the Wisconsin Badgers. Miami ended up losing 35-3 and head coach Mark Richt retired after the game. This program starts a new era under first-year head coach Manny Diaz and redshirt freshman QB Jarren Williams.
Florida (0-0) finished the season strong, as they went 10-3 overall and won their final four games. However, it was their impressive 41-15 beat down of the Michigan Wolverines in the Peach Bowl that has many fans and pundits believing that this program is finally back. The Gators have a lot of returning talent this season, but do have a few question marks on the offensive side of the ball.
Although it’s at a neutral site, Miami is listed as the home team, and they opened as a 7.5 betting underdog with most college football betting sites. The spread rose as high as 9.5 points before settling back down at the current line of 7.5 points for the Hurricanes. The over/under opened at 50.5 total points with most online betting sites. The over/under rose as high as 53.5 points at various sports betting sites before coming back down to the current line of 47 total points.
This is an exciting matchup to kick off the season. I believe we’re far enough removed from Miami’s dominance in this rivalry to see a new era begin. And that era is in favor of the Florida Gators. Last year, the Gators rose from the ashes as they went from 4-7 in 2017 to 10-3 in 2018. They will have a tough schedule this year, but their overall talent should make them very competitive in the SEC.
The Gators will have returning QB Franks and just about all of his receiving weapons. There’s a solid rotation of running backs that will help power this running game once again. Last year, Florida eclipsed the 200-yard mark on the ground in nine of 13 games. We could see a similar mark this season. The big concern for the Gators is their new offensive line, as four starters are gone from last year.
For the Hurricanes, redshirt freshman Jarren Williams will get the start. And he’s going up against a ferocious defense. The Gators feature an All-SEC corner in CJ Henderson and a top shelf pass rusher in Jabari Zuniga. The Hurricanes will have plenty of talent at the skilled positions, but their offensive line has a few new linemen as well. Left tackle Zion Nelson will get his first start as he tries to stop Zuniga.
The Gators are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games, 6-0 SU in their last six August games, 3-1 ATS as a road favorite, 6-2 ATS in their last eight games as a road favorite of 7.5 to 10 points, and 6-2 ATS in non-conference games.
The Hurricanes are 9-16 ATS in their last 25 overall games, 5-8 ATS in their last 11 games as the home team, 8-12 ATS in their last 20 games played on Saturdays, 9-14 ATS in their last 23 grass games, and 4-5 ATS in their last nine non-conference games. Miami is 1-9 ATS in their last 10 neutral sites games.
Both teams will feature solid defenses, but I give Florida the advantage, as Franks returns as QB and Miami’s Williams is starting his first ever game. Furthermore, both o-lines will struggle at times, as each defense features a solid front seven. However, I do give the advantage to Florida’s secondary over Miami’s. I believe the Gators have more playmakers in their secondary and that will be a big difference come Saturday.
I expect the Hurricanes vs Gators game to be close in the first half. However, the talent and depth of Florida should prevail as the game goes on. The Gators seem to be further along with their program under coach Mullen than Miami is with Diaz. I would prefer to get the spread at 7 points or less for the Gators, but I’m comfortable with Florida winning by 10 or more points this Saturday.
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