Missouri (8-2 straight up, 7-3 against the spread) is 5-1 SU at home this season with back-to-back wins over Tennessee and South Carolina by scores of 36-7 and 34-12, respectively. In between those two home contests, the Tigers lost 30-21 at Georgia but covered the spread as 14-point road underdogs.
In fact, Eli Drinkwitz’s squad has covered the number at a 7-1 ATS clip in its last eight outings. In the only non-cover, Missouri had a 39-35 lead vs. LSU with less than four minutes remaining as a 6.5-point home underdog, only to see LSU get a touchdown and a late pick-six for an improbable spread cover.
Missouri QB Brady Cook has a 68.0 completion percentage, 2,731 passing yards and a 17/5 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He also has 228 rushing yards and six TDs.
RB Cody Schrader has 1,124 rushing yards, 11 TDs and a 5.7 yards-per-carry average. WR Luther Burden has 67 catches for 977 yards and eight TDs, while WR Theo Wease has 42 receptions for 526 yards and five TDs.
Florida (5-5 SU, 3-7 ATS) is 1-3 both SU and ATS in four road assignments, losing by 17 points at LSU, by 19 at Kentucky and by 13 at Utah. The Gators did win 41-39 at South Carolina, but they trailed 37-27 with less than five minutes remaining in that contest.
Regardless of the venue, UF has lost three games in a row both SU and ATS since that improbable comeback to edge the Gamecocks, including a 39-36 home loss to Arkansas in overtime. What have the Hogs done in the games before and after that win in Gainesville? Well, they lost 7-3 at home to Mississippi St. and lost 48-10 at home to Auburn.
Florida’s defense surrendered more yards in last week’s 52-35 loss at LSU than in any other game in program history.
That’s right. LSU gained more yards this past Saturday night against the Gators than any foe had in more than 100 years of UF playing college football.
When these teams met at The Swamp last season, UF captured a 24-17 win. However, the Tigers outplayed the Gators.
They had a 21-13 advantage in first downs and a 370-297 advantage in total yards. But Cook threw a pair of costly interceptions, including a pick-six.
That gives Missouri the revenge angle, though, and you know Cook is ready to redeem himself. I expect the Tigers to win by at least two touchdowns.
As for the total…
The ‘over’ has been a winner in six straight games for the Gators, who have seen their last four games produce combined scores of 87, 75, 63 and 80 points. Florida’s defense is ranked DEAD LAST, #133 out of 133 FBS teams, in giving up explosive plays of 40 yards or more.
The Gators have allowed 21 of those. Missouri has produced 14 of them to rank #28 nationally.
Florida QB Graham Mertz continues to play outstanding football, completing 73.2 percent of his passes for 2,695 yards with an elite 18/2 touchdown-to-interception ratio. WR Ricky Pearsall continues to shred defenses with 61 receptions for 881 yards and four TDs, while freshman Eugene Wilson has 51 catches for 479 yards and five TDs despite missing 2.5 games.
UF’s RBs continue to excel, too. Trevor Etienne has 628 rushing yards, seven TDs and a 5.9 yards-per-carry average, while Montrell Johnson has 625 rushing yards, four TDs and a 5.1 YPC average.
Johnson also has 29 catches for 224 yards and one TD, while Etienne has 16 receptions for 136 yards.
PREDICTIONS: Missouri -11 vs. Florida (BetOnline) and ‘over’ 58 (DraftKings).
*Note #1: As of Wednesday morning, most books had Missouri at -11.5, but BetOnline was still at -11. I actually like the Tigers all the way up to -13 but if your number is -11.5, I’d buy the half-point to 11 because I consider that a key number just like 10. Furthermore, the total is 58.5 at a lot of books but still 58 at DraftKings. I like the ‘over’ up to 59 points.
Note #2: I might add to/edit this story with more picks when Team Totals and/or player props become available.