Saturday, November 28, 2020, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, Florida, noon ET
Wildcats at Gators Betting Preview: Wildcats (+24), Gators (-24)
Kentucky Wildcats Betting Preview
The Wildcats (3-5, 3-5 Southeastern Conference) suffered through a soul-searching loss last week in Tuscaloosa, falling 63-3 to top-ranked Alabama. That was the third-worst defeat in school history since 1950. Three of the top four shellackings suffered by the Wildcats have come in the Sunshine State against the Gators.
With Steve Spurrier at the helm, Florida drubbed the Wildcats in 1994 and 1996 — 73-7 and 65-0, respectively — and Urban Meyer’s Florida team walloped them 63-5 in 2008.
But despite their struggles against Florida over the last three decades, the Wildcats lately have fought fiercely in the series.
In the past six meetings, all but one game was close – Florida’s 45-7 rout in 2016 – and four were decided by eight points or less.
In the loss to the Crimson Tide, eighth-year Kentucky coach Mark Stoops was without many key contributors, including top rusher Chris Rodriguez. Rodriguez has amassed 562 yards and a team-high six touchdowns.
Kentucky started strong with 121 yards in the first quarter, but the offense generated just 27 yards in the second half and tried desperately to get something going with quarterbacks Terry Wilson, Joey Gatewood and Beau Allen. The three were a combined 10 of 25 passing for just 120 yards against the Tide.
While Stoops said there were good points to take from the big loss, junior defensive end Joshua Paschal worried about the long-term effect on younger teammates.
“This is not acceptable for us,” Paschal said. “We know that as players, as a whole football team, as a whole organization.
“As leaders, we are going to put it on the young guys, so the young guys know that this isn’t acceptable, this is not who we are, this won’t happen again.”
No. 6 Florida Gators Betting Preview
The No. 6 Gators (6-1, 6-1 SEC) will look to create another winning streak against SEC East foe Kentucky in Gainesville, Fla. The two teams have met 70 times with the Gators holding a 52-18 advantage over the Wildcats.
In the driver’s seat in the SEC East after defeating rival Georgia 44-28 on Nov. 7, Florida has to defeat just two of its last three opponents — Kentucky, at Tennessee (2-5) on Dec. 5, and at home against LSU (3-3) on Dec. 12 – to clinch the division and advance to the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 19.
The Gators appeared to go through the motions for a half at winless Vanderbilt last week before pulling away for a 38-17 victory. They received 383 passing yards and three touchdown passes from standout quarterback Kyle Trask, who leads the nation in touchdown passes with 28.
Florida coach Dan Mullen said Monday Trask would get back his top target this weekend with star tight end Kyle Pitts (24 catches, 414 yards, eight TDs) returning from a concussion and nose surgery.
“He’s such a playmaker, he’s such a leader,” Mullen said. “The matchup problem he causes defenses is great to have him back with us.”
Linebacker James Houston (13 tackles and a sack in four games) also is expected to return.
Wildcats at Gators Betting Prediction
The Gators have won 28 of 33 meetings with the Wildcats in Gainesville, though the Wildcats won the last one 27-16 in 2018 on Florida’s turf, snapping a 31-year losing streak to the Gators.
Florida bounced back with a 29-21 win in Lexington last year with Trask taking over from an injured Feleipe Franks and rallying the Gators from a 21-10 deficit by passing for 126 yards and rushing for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Wildcats at Gators Betting Pick:
Gators 52, Wildcats 14
Wildcats at No. 6 Gators Best Bet
The Gators have scored at least 35 points in a school-record nine consecutive games with seven in a row against SEC competition, also a school record. After holding Georgia to just 14 points, the Wildcats have surrendered 35 in a win over Vanderbilt and 63 in a big loss at Alabama.
Wildcats at Gators Best Bet: OVER 59.5
–Field Level Media