The Sugar Bowl this season features the runners up in the SEC in Florida, who finished third on the final BCS Standings behind only the two Championship Game participants, taking on the Big East Champions from Louisville, who finished 21st in the BCS after being unranked in the previous week.
The line in this game certainly reflects the BCS rankings with the Gators being -13½ favorites. The total is set at 45½.
FLORIDA – LOUISVILLE SUGAR BOWL BETTING LINE:
OPEN: FLORIDA -14 | CURRENT: FLORIDA -13.5 | O/U: 45
1. Why Florida will cover the spread: Florida will cover this spread if quarterback Jeff Driskel has at least moderate success passing the ball. Running the football was not much of a concern for the Gators all year as they averaged 194.6 rushing yards per game. However, when they were one dimensional, the offense looked stagnant vs. the likes of Jacksonville State and UL Lafayette late in the year, and Florida even scored only 14 points in a win over Missouri. The Gators then allowed Driskel to throw the ball more vs. what was supposed to be a stingy defense in Florida State, and the end result was a 37-26 victory.
2. Why Louisville will cover the spread: In another quarterback key, Louisville will cover the spread of their quarterback Teddy Bridgewater can duplicate his regular season numbers while playing in the Big East vs. an SEC defense. Bridgewater finished with 3452 passing yards while completing 69.0 percent of his passes and averaging 8.9 yards per attempt with 25 touchdown passes against seven interceptions.
The only problem is that Louisville faced a schedule rated 93rd according to the Sagarin Ratings, as besides playing on one of the weakest conferences among the automatic BCS qualifiers, the Cardinals also had a light non-conference slate.
3. Total Talk: First off let us say that Florida has the much better chance of accomplishing its key. Driskel may not have done much vs. the terrific defenses of the SEC, and Louisville may rank 25th in the country in total defense on paper, but that ranking is bogus when you consider the schedule that the Cardinals faced and the entire Florida offense may feel like it is facing a team playing in slow motion after facing so many teams with great team speed inside their conference.
That team speed goes for both sides of the ball so as fine a player as Bridgewater is, we see he and the entire Louisville offense struggling vs. easily the best defense they have seen all year. The Gators finished fifth in the country in total defense at 282.6 yards per game and third in scoring defense yielding 12.9 points per contest. We still like the ‘over’ here with the total set in the mid-40s, but mainly because we expect Florida to get into the 30s by itself.
4. Betting Trends for the game: Florida is 22-9 ATS in its last 31 non-conference games, as well as 19-7-1 ATS in its last 27 games after gaining more than 200 rushing yards in the previous game. Louisville rallied to win at Rutgers in the season finale to claim the Big East title, but the Cardinals are 0-5 ATS in their last five games following an ATS win.
Florida 34 – Louisville 16
GUESS THE EXACT SCORE OF THE SUGAR BOWL & WIN $20!