Breaking down lines for the Gators at 5Dimes
Published on Tuesday, 6/16/15, at 12:45 p.m. Eastern.
Updated on Wednesday, 6/17/15, at 10:24 a.m. Eastern.
Big hat tip to one of the best in the industry, Marc Lawrence! Make sure to get Marc’s preseason magazine over at his website. Marc’s handicapping database goes back to 1980 and he helped us figure out many of the stats used below pertaining to the Gators. Check out Marc’s work over at Playbook.com.
5Dimes has released a lot more Games of the Year lines. My takes on many of those can be found here at VegasInsider.com.
Here’s our take on the ones for the 2015 Florida Gators.
Week 1: Florida -35.5 vs. New Mexico St. (Total: 55) — Since 2009, the Gators are 1-4 ATS as huge favorites in their season opener. That omits last season’s lid-lifter that was washed out vs. Idaho after UF returning the opening kick for a touchdown.
Week 2: Florida -13 vs. East Carolina — Rematch of the Birmingham Bowl won by UF by a 28-20 count. The Gators have a new coach, while ECU no longer has QB Shane Carden and WR Justin Hardy, who my Falcons were somehow able to get in a steal of a pick in the fourth round.
Week 3: Florida -1 at Kentucky — UF has won 28 in a row over UK, which nearly ended its drought against the Gators at The Swamp last season. In fact, a shaky no-call on what could’ve been a delay-of-game flag came right before a fourth-down TD pass by the Gators, who won 36-30 in triple OT. UF has beaten UK in 34 of 35 meetings since 1980. The Gators have been favored in all but one of those 35 encounters, with 1988 being the lone exception.
Week 4: Tennessee -4 at Florida — Going back to 1980, Tennessee has never been favored in Gainesville. UF has gone 4-1 against the spread in five underdog spots vs. UT in the last 35 years, with all of those games played in Knoxville. The Gators have won 10 in a row over UT, including an improbable 10-9 comeback victory at Neyland Stadium last year. They have won 11 of 13 against the Volunteers at home since 1980. The only setbacks came in back-to-back fashion in 2001 (Spurrier’s last home game) and 2003. UT’s last win over UF came in controversial fashion (total bullshit if the truth is to be told) in 2004. A UT cornerback slugged UF wideout Dallas Baker right in front of the referee as the Gators were killing the clock with a two-point lead. Like a dummy, Baker slugged back. Although the ref saw both actions, he called a 15-yard penalty on Florida. However, that didn’t even matter. What mattered was the crucial mistake made by the referee, who didn’t wind the clock after the 15 yards was assessed (Tennessee was out of timeouts). This cost UF 30 seconds of clock burn-age. After punting, UT got into field-goal range and made a long 50-plus yard game winner on the final play. The Vols shouldn’t have had the extra 25-30 seconds to get into FG range because of the ref’s monumental mistake.
Week 5: Ole Miss -4 at Florida — Since 1980, Florida has hosted Ole Miss five times. The shortest line in favor of the Gators was eight. Both the Rebels and Gators have major questions at the QB position. Ole Miss last visited The Swamp in 2008, winning outright under Houston Nutt as an enormous underdog. After the loss, Tim Tebow made his famous speech and the Gators bounced back to win the rest, including a national-title win over Oklahoma in Miami.
Regular-Season Finale: FSU -2 at Florida – The ‘Noles have won back-to-back games over the Gators, who dropped a 24-19 decision in Tallahassee last year. UF missed a pair of field goals in the fourth quarter, but the big play came late in the first quarter. With UF leading 9-0 and inside FSU’s 10 with a first-and-goal opportunity, UF’s Treon Harris threw to TE Tevin Westbrook. Harris probably put a little too much zip on the pass, but it hit Westbrook in the hands. Westbrook couldn’t hold on, resulting in a 94-yard pick-six to turn the tide of the game completely.
*All lines for Games of the Year from 5Dimes have -120 juice either way.