LSU (6-3 straight up, 5-4 against the spread) star senior quarterback Jayden Daniels has been upgraded to ‘probable’ and is expected to start in Saturday night’s home game vs. Florida. It wasn’t all good news from Brian Kelly on Thursday night, though, as he shared that RB Logan Diggs has been downgraded to ‘doubtful.’
Both players were injured in last week’s 42-28 loss at Alabama. Daniels left the game after a hard hit from the Crimson Tide’s Dallas Turner left him with concussion-like symptoms. Diggs exited the game with an upper-body injury.
Daniels passed enough protocols Wednesday morning to practice that afternoon. After practicing again Thursday without any issues, his status was upgraded.
In nine games this year, Daniels has completed 72.1 percent of his passes for 2,793 yards with a 27/4 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He also has 684 rushing yards, six TDs and a 6.7 yards-per-carry average.
In eight games, Diggs has 635 rushing yards, six TDs and a 5.6 YPC average. The transfer from Notre Dame has eight catches for 82 yards.
Most books opened the Tigers as 13-point home favorites with a total of 63.5 this past Sunday. When word broke early Wednesday afternoon that Daniels was going to practice, a lot of spots adjusted LSU to -14.
The total didn’t move much until Thursday when a lot of shops went to 64.5 points by lunch. By early Thursday night, most books had adjusted to 65 or 65.5.
The Circa moved all the way up to 67 points early this morning. BetOnline is up to 67.5, while many spots are still at 65.5 or 66.
Circa and South Point now have LSU at -15, while most other spots have the Tigers as 14.5-point ‘chalk.’
LSU is undefeated in four home games with a 3-1 ATS record, while Florida (5-4 SU, 3-6 ATS) is 1-2 both SU and ATS in three road assignments. The Gators rallied to win a 41-39 decision at South Carolina last month, but they lost 24-11 at Utah and 33-14 at Kentucky back in September.
LSU has won four games in a row over UF, going 3-1 ATS, including last year’s 45-35 win as a 1.5-point road underdog at The Swamp. Daniels was the catalyst, torching the Gators for 349 passing yards and three TDs without an interception. He also had 44 rushing yards and three TDs on 14 attempts.
LSU’s Damian Ramos hit a 47-yard field goal with 1:52 left to give LSU a two-possession lead. The Tigers’ three previous wins over Florida came by scores of 49-42, 37-34 and 42-28.
The 42-28 LSU win in 2019 was a misleading final score. UF led 28-21 midway through the third quarter. The game was tied or either squad had a seven-point advantage for more than 54 minutes until Joe Burrow found Ja’Marr Chase for a 54-yard TD pass with 5:43 remaining.
In the fourth quarter, UF had first-and-goal opportunities twice and didn’t score either time. One possession ended on an interception in the end zone, and the other was stopped a yard short of the end zone on a fourth-and-goal play.
This rivalry is renewed every season but since 1981, LSU has beaten Florida by more than 14 points just twice. The top-ranked Tigers trounced the 17th-ranked Gators 41-11 in 2011 one week after UF starting QB John Brantley and backup freshman Jeff Driskel were injured in a home loss to Alabama.
Therefore, Will Muschamp had to start third-string true freshman Jacoby Brissett, who took his first career snap in college in front of a sold-out crowd against the nation’s #1 team in Death Valley. The only other instance was in 2002 when Nick Saban’s LSU squad dealt Ron Zook’s team a 36-7 shellacking at The Swamp.
Seven of the last nine head-to-head meetings have been one-possession games.
In his six seasons as a head coach, Florida’s Billy Napier is 8-2-1 ATS as a double-digit underdog.
On the injury front for UF, it’s getting back two starters on the defensive line this week. DE Tyreak Sapp and DT Cam Jackson both missed last week’s 39-36 overtime loss at home vs. Arkansas.
The ‘over’ has been a winner in 13 straight LSU games and is on a 16-1 run in its last 17 contests. The ‘over’ has cashed in five straight games for the Gators, and the ‘over’ is also on a 5-0 run in this rivalry.
PREDICTIONS: I have an ‘over’ 63 ticket from earlier in the week but in terms of numbers that are still available, I like LSU’s Team Total to go ‘over’ 41 points. The Tigers have scored at least 41 points in six of their nine games, and they had scored 48 or more in four straight games until settling for 28 last week. I’m also on LSU’s Team Total ‘over’ 20.5 (-130 price) points in the first half. As for the side, I lean to the Gators +14.5 or 15, but I’m not sure if I’ll play it yet.
For more of Brian’s opinions on the Week 11 slate, check out his podcast with Jay Greeson for Southeastern 14.