Free CFB Pick: Florida at Miami

The SEC’s Florida Gators will try and get off to a perfect 2-0 straight up start this upcoming Saturday afternoon when they square off against the in-state rival Miami Hurricanes out of the ACC. All the action is set to get underway at noon (ET), and the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.

Florida opened the season with a less-than-inspiring 24-6 victory over the MAC’s Toledo Rockets as 22-point favorites at home. The Gators are now 1-6 against the spread in their last seven games, and the total has stayed “under” in four of their last six games.

The Hurricanes rolled over Florida International 34-6 in their season opener last Friday night, but they could not cover as 31-point home favorites. The total stayed under the 54-point line, and it has now stayed under in six of their last eight games.

Florida at Miami Betting Storylines

Jeff Driskel went 17-of-22 for 153 yards and a score against Toledo last week, but look for the Gators to rely on another big game by Mack Brown running the ball. He gained 112 yards on the ground against the Rockets on 25 carries, with two of the runs resulting in scores in what was his first start. Kelvin Taylor also looked good running the ball in limited action after gaining 43 yards on just five attempts.

The other key to beating their in-state rivals this Saturday afternoon will hinge on the Gators’ defense to once again step up like it did last week when it kept Toledo out of the end zone and limited the scoring to just two field goals. Cornerback Vernon Hargreaves sealed the win with an important interception in the third quarter that thwarted another Toledo drive. Overall, Florida held the Rockets to just 205 yards of total offense.

Miami relied on a heavy dose of Duke Johnson to get past the Owls last week. The sophomore running back carried the ball 19 times for 186 yards and one touchdown. Herb Waters touched the ball only once in that game, but it was for a 63-yard gain and six more points. Quarterback Stephen Morris put the ball up 27 times and completed 15 passes for 160 yards and a score. He will have to step things up a bit this Saturday if the Hurricanes’ running game struggles to move the ball against Florida’s defense.

Speaking of defense, Miami also allowed only a pair of field goals in last Friday’s win. This game actually remained pretty tight through much of the first half with the Hurricanes holding a 10-3 lead about halfway through the second quarter, but the defense kept things in check until the offense was finally able to put some points on the board with a couple of solid second-half drives.

Florida at Miami Betting Odds and Trends

Pointspread: Florida – 3
Total Line: 49

The Gators are 13-2 SU in their last 15 games, but they have covered the spread only once in their last seven. The total has gone over in two of their last three games.

The Hurricanes are 4-1 both SU and ATS in their last five games overall and 5-2 SU in their last seven games at home. The total has stayed under in their last three home games.

Head-to-head in this matchup, Miami is 4-1 SU and ATS in the last five meetings, and the total has stayed under in three of the five games. Last season, Florida rolled to a 26-3 victory but could not cover as a 24-point favorite at home.

College Football Picks: Florida at Miami Betting Predictions

Take: #176 Florida (-3) over Miami (12 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7)

Giving points to a home team in an in-state rivalry is always a risky proposition, but the edge in this matchup is clearly with the Gators. They have a better all-around offense, and their defense should be able to shut down Miami’s running game to force the Hurricanes to try and win this game through the air, which plays right into Florida’s strength.

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