Florida football: How to bet Week 4 vs Tennessee

LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY - SEPTEMBER 14: Kyle Trask #11 of the Florida Gators throws a pass during the 29- 21 win against the Kentucky Wildcats at Commonwealth Stadium on September 14, 2019 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY - SEPTEMBER 14: Kyle Trask #11 of the Florida Gators throws a pass during the 29- 21 win against the Kentucky Wildcats at Commonwealth Stadium on September 14, 2019 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Oddsmakers currently have Florida football favored by as many as 14.5 points. I recommend betting on Tennessee +14.5.

To make sense of Florida’s 29-22 win against Kentucky, the narrative has been disseminated that Kyle Trask is a hero for leading the Florida football comeback. This narrative couldn’t be more misleading.

In reality, Trask was quarterback as Kentucky allowed Florida to come back. Wildcat corners played a lot of soft coverage and the initial cushion that they granted to Gator receivers made Trask’s work easy while he only had to throw to open receivers. After a strong start, he did not look accurate when Kentucky’s extremely young secondary played closer to opposing receivers.

Over the course of the season, I actually think that he’s a better option than the injured Feleipe Franks. But he’s still just a former three-star prospect who needs to develop chemistry with a group of receivers that had been accustomed to having Franks (try to) pass to them.

Trask’s pass attack continues to miss top playmaker Kadarius Toney, whose explosiveness made him a superb option in the short-passing game while his unique skill set granted Coach Mullen added play-calling flexibility that included jet sweeps, wildcat, and so on.

Outside of Toney, Trask’s pass-catching options are underwhelming. In particular, Trevon Grimes has yet to live up to the hype that built after his strong finish to last season. After three games, he has two fewer yards than he did against Florida State in last year’s finale.

Van Jefferson, Florida’s leading receiver, is athletically subpar with lackluster speed and strength against physical coverage. Given his poor general history against SEC defenses, I’m unimpressed by his stats against a very young and often soft Kentucky pass coverage that missed key players.

An offensive line that is completely rebuilding will not help Trask feel comfortable in the pocket. Tennessee’s defensive line can only do a better job exploiting this weakness than Kentucky’s underwhelming pass rush did. The Vols amassed four sacks against BYU and have 11 quarterback pressures in their past two games combined.

They’ll have the advantage of facing a Florida football run game that lacks any competent run-blocking. Lamical Perine, who’s also having to shoulder a bigger load since Jordan Scarlett departed, averages a paltry 3.5 YPC.

The secondary, though, forms the strength of Tennessee’s defense, This is an experienced group in terms of returning players who accrued significant playing time last year. Crucially, Coach Pruitt announced that former four-star prospect Bryce Thompson, who was a freshman All-American last year, will be available to play.

On the other side, Tennessee looks primed to exploit Florida’s run defense. The Gators were weakest against the run last year, ranking 52nd in opposing YPC, and they still are this year.

Florida Gators Football
Florida Gators Football /

Florida Gators Football

In Week 1, DeeJay Dallas accrued 94 yards on 11 carries behind an extremely young and sloppy Hurricane offensive line. Last Saturday, Kentucky’s offensive line looked like it easily could push Florida’s front seven around as Kavosiey Smoke eclipsed five YPC against his first high-profile opponent.

Tennessee’s ground game boasts continuity in the form of returning three of its top four running backs and 69 starts in its offensive line. It adds former four-star prospect Eric Gray who was the fifth-highest recruit out of Tennessee.

More so than Gray, look out for Ty Chandler who’s building off his strong finish to last season in which he eclipsed 80 yards and exceeded well over five YPC against a then-stronger Kentucky defense, Missouri, and Vanderbilt. He currently averages 5.9 YPC thanks to a 154-yard effort against BYU.

In the passing game, Jarrett Guarantano enjoys similar continuity and chemistry with his receivers. In particular, Jauan Jennings and Marquez Callaway look to be difference-makers. Both are former four-star prospects who received an offer from Alabama and both led Tennessee in receiving yards in last year’s contest against Florida football.

Guarantano has enjoyed positive development at Tennessee, improving yearly in his efficiency and willingness to push the ball downfield. Initially a rather interception-prone, check-down Charlie, he completed 62.2 percent of his passes on 7.8 YPA while throwing 12 touchdowns to three interceptions.

He was stellar with amazing accuracy downfield and elsewhere while throwing for 300 yards and two touchdowns to no interceptions in an upset win at Auburn and he was also solid in an upset win at Kentucky.

Justifiably, PFF ranked him as the 21st-best quarterback entering the season.  His strong summer work ethic, positive offseason reviews, and support both from stronger pass protection and more experienced receivers promise improved game-to-game consistency and further development of his skill set.

Expect an easier time for Tennessee’s pass attack if top corner C.J. Henderson can’t go due to his ankle. Florida would have to miss, again, one of the nation’s top cornerbacks.  Likewise, Jabari Zuniga‘s absence would serve a considerable blow to Florida’s pass rush. Both are listed as ‘questionable.’

Next. Gators 2-deep roster against Tennessee. dark

Betting Record: 2-1