Kentucky Wildcats at No. 6 Florida Gators Betting Preview

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

Heisman Trophy Odds for Week 13: Welcome to the Mac Jones Show

The Heisman Trophy race has not been a real exciting one this year; Trevor Lawrence led the pack for much of the season, but not because he was playing so much better than everyone else. No, he was playing well, but there was nothing about his game that was spectacular—which is usually a prerequisite for Heisman contenders.

That allowed Mac Jones to work his way into contention. When the Big Ten joined in on the fun and started playing, Justin Fields joined the conversation and it looked like Fields was destined to win from how he had played in his first three games.

But then Indiana got in his way.

However, in recent weeks, another contender has been working his way into the conversation. After throwing three more touchdowns in a win over Vanderbilt, it appears we have a new frontrunner—Florida’s Kyle Trask.

Will he win, though?

Heisman Trophy Odds: Things Are Starting to Get Interesting…

What was once the Trevor Lawrence Show (+1600; odds via FanDuel) now finds the Clemson quarterback fading into the background.  Missing a couple of games because of Covid-19 certainly hurt his case. Assuming the Pitt game happens this week, it will have been over a month since Lawrence last played.

There is bound to be a little rust after such a long lay-off. It would not be shocking if it takes Lawrence a quarter or even a half to get back in the swing of things. If he is going to have a shot at winning the Heisman still, he will have to dazzle voters from here on out.

Justin Fields (+400) had looked like a Heisman winner in Ohio State’s first three games of the season. But with the late start and shorter season, he could not afford to have an off day—which was just what he had against Indiana.

Yes, the Buckeyes won, and he accounted for 378 total yards and three touchdowns, but he has also had three interceptions on the day. With the Hoosiers looking like the most challenging team Ohio State is going to face this year, those three picks will stick out in the minds of voters. 

With Fields laying an egg, Mac Jones (+300) had a chance to put some distance between him and Fields. But Alabama didn’t need much out of him against Kentucky. He did not have a bad day (16-24 for 230 yards and two touchdowns with one interception). But in the eyes of voters, it didn’t do much for him.

Then there was Kyle Trask (-140). While he did not have 4+ passing touchdowns for the first time this season, he did complete 26 of 35 passes for 383 yards and three touchdowns. With those three, he set an SEC record for touchdown passes in seven games.

But the story on him remains the same. He will need to have a similar type of day over Alabama in the SEC title game if he is going to have a shot at winning.

Don’t Look Now… But BYU and Zach Wilson Are Making a Push

Zach Wilson’s odds improved (+2000) after the BYU quarterback had another big day. But a big day over North Alabama is not going to mean much to voters.

A new player has entered the conversation, Iowa State running back Breece Hall (+2500). Hall is having an exceptional season with 1169 yards and 15 touchdowns in eight games. He has had 100+ in every game this season and has scored at least once as well.

If he is going to be more than just a footnote in the conversation, though, he will have to play even better. But he will likely have a chance to shine on the national stage when Iowa State faces either Oklahoma or Texas in the Big 12 title game– and that could help.

FanDuel has odds listed for a few other guys, but anyone that follows the Heisman race at all knows what kind of shot Devonta Smith (+5000), D’Eriq King, Ian Book, and Kellen Mond (+10000) have. But one guy that should have odds but doesn’t is Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr.

It would have been nice if Indiana had won, then Penix would be one of the frontrunners. But even though the Hoosiers lost, he played well enough (27-51 for 491 yards and five touchdowns with one interception) for his name to at least be on the outskirts of the conversation.

If he can continue to have big games against Maryland, Wisconsin, and Purdue, he might do more than just enter the conversation.

But the biggest issue facing every contender down the stretch may not be their opponent, but the coronavirus. If more guys start missing games as Trevor Lawrence has, there is no telling who might win this year.

Heisman Trophy Odds for Week 12: Entrance of the Mac

A few questions about the Heisman Trophy have gone unanswered this season—until recently, that is. With every conference getting off to a late start this season, the original trophy presentation date just did not make sense. As more conferences returned to play and pushed the end of the regular season a couple of weeks beyond that date, one thing was clear.

The date was going to have to change—and now it has.

Over the weekend, the Heisman Trust announced that trophy presentation would be virtual on January 5th, with votes due by December 21st. The three finalists will be announced on Christmas Eve.

Okay! So, now we know the when and the how, but one question remains—who. Who will win the Heisman this year?

For most of the season, popular opinion has had the race down to two or three guys. But it appears that a case for a fourth candidate is starting to gain steam.

Heisman Trophy Odds: And the Plot Thickens…

The Heisman was widely considered Trevor Lawrence’s to lose for most of the season. While Clemson’s quarterback has played well this season, he has not had the kind of game that could lock the award down for him. He could have had such a game against Notre Dame, but the coronavirus had him sidelined.

He has not played poorly; he just hasn’t ‘wowed’ us this year. But he is still in consideration, of course, and is one of four co-favorites (+250 odds via FanDuel).

Lawrence did not play last weekend, and neither did one of the other favorites, the guy that has been hot on his tail all season long—Alabama’s Mac Jones. While he does not have the name recognition of Lawrence or Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, the results speak for themselves.

Fields almost got grandfathered into frontrunner status. After being a finalist last year, he was expected to win this year before the Big Ten decided to cancel its season. As soon as they announced they were indeed going to play, he was reinstalled as a favorite. His play has been exceptional, but he will not play as many games as Lawrence or Jones.

Can Kyle Trask Claw His Way Back into the Heisman Trophy Race?

The competition in the Big Ten is not as tough as it was expected to be. But the competition isn’t exactly tough in the ACC, either. That has allowed a fourth contender to sneak into the race: Florida quarterback Kyle Trask.

Trask has remained on the outskirts of the Heisman conversation all season. But he has joined the big three as a favorite after torching Arkansas over the weekend. He had as many touchdowns (six) as incompletions in the game (23-29 for 356 yards), giving him 28 on the season.

The only downside to him is the loss to Texas A&M, but even in that game, he threw for 312 yards and four touchdowns. He has had at least four touchdown passes in every game this season. If he can keep that level of production up in Florida’s last four games (Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Tennessee, and LSU), voters will have to notice him.

If he does it against Alabama in the SEC title game as well, he just might win.

Most books have cut their lists of players with odds short at this point in the season. While many of the guys still getting odds have had great seasons, most have had at least one bad game or don’t play anyone.

Outside of the top four, BYU’s Zach Wilson has the best odds at +3000. But his most formidable opponent was Boise State.  

Had the Pac-12 started sooner, it might be worth including a few guys in the conversation like Kedon Slovis or CJ Verdel. But for the Pac-12, it is too little, too late.

But while it appears to be at least a four-person race right now, that could all change by the end of next weekend. The odds are going to be heavily against Michael Penix Jr. and Indiana when they face Ohio State. But if the Hoosiers pull off the upset, Penix will most certainly jump right into the thick of the Heisman race.