It’s another edition of the rivalry formerly known as the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, the Florida-Georgia game. The No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs will head to Jacksonville for a neutral-site matchup with their rival Florida Gators this Saturday (10/28/23). Get Florida vs. Georgia odds, predictions, and picks below as our best bet is Florida +14.5
Florida Gators Vs. Georgia Bulldogs Prediction
It’s reached the point with this Georgia team where we have to stop asking if they’ll win, and rather focus on what the margin of victory will be. This week, it might not be that large. These Bulldogs have been unbelievably dominant over the last few seasons, as they’ve lost just one game and secured two national championships since the start of the 2021 season. But this year looks a bit different.
Georgia is a veritable talent factory that hardly blinks when they lose players to graduation and the NFL draft. And while they’ve usually had no problem reloading, there have been a few hiccups this season. The defense allowed 20 points to Vanderbilt in their most recent outing, and they weren’t all meaningless garbage time scores. Georgia also played uncharacteristically competitive games against South Carolina and Auburn, as the offense wasn’t really able to get going in either matchup.
They finally looked like the well-oiled machine that entered the season favored to complete a three-peat in January in a blowout win over then-undefeated Kentucky. Then Georgia suffered an enormous blow, the loss of star tight end Brock Bowers to an ankle injury. Bowers was at the center of the Bulldogs offensive mini-renaissance, and is an incredibly tough talent to replace. He might be back by the playoff, but Georgia still has to navigate the toughest part of its SEC schedule without him.
That starts with Florida, a team that has definitely had an up-and-down start to the season. The Gators have the ability to hang in there with the best squad in college football and make it a real game. Florida’s offense isn’t flashy or reliant on big plays, but it’s very efficient. This is a perfect profile to go up against a Georgia defense that doesn’t give up big plays, but has been more vulnerable than expected at times.
The reason I’m not considering the Gators as a real threat to pull out the outright upset is their defense. Georgia’s offense is still ninth in the country in EPA per play while the same metric pegs the Florida defense as the 72nd best in the country, so they’re an average unit, but definitely not good enough to hang with a champion-caliber offense.
Ultimately, this one should feature some really good offense. but due to the potentially run-heavy nature of this one, we’re going to shy away from the over, as the pace of play just might not be there. Instead, let’s bet the spread. Florida will have all the motivation they need to stick around in this rivalry game, their offense will be able to run effectively enough to set up second and manageable, and thus have opportunities to string together nice drives against Georgia’s defense.
Florida Gators Vs. Georgia Bulldogs Prediction: Florida +14.5
Florida Gators Vs. Georgia Bulldogs Best Odds
Georgia is favored by 14.5 points in this neutral-site game, putting Florida’s spread wager on the right side of a very key football number. The Bulldogs are -650 on the moneyline compared to +450 for the Gators, and the over and under are both set at -110 for a total of 47.5.
Florida Gators Vs. Georgia Bulldogs Key Matchups
Florida will look to force Georgia to the ground on offense without Brock Bowers, while the Gators offense can shorten the game and keep the chains moving by establishing the run themselves. Let’s take a look at how these matchups might play out.
Georgia Pass Catchers Vs. Florida Secondary
Florida’s pass defense grades just 74th in EPA per play against the pass despite a pass rush that PFF considers to be the nation’s 27th-best. The culprit is a suspect secondary, which will be tasked with limiting Georgia’s air game in the absence of Bowers. The Bulldogs are 19th in PFF’s pass catching corps grade, but of course the majority of that mark was earned with Bowers on the field.
Only three non-Bowers players have over 20 targets for Georgia, and it’s not a star-studded group. Marcus Rosemary-Jacksaint has been the most productive of the bunch with 333 yards and two scores. Georgia will be hoping for a step up from Ladd McConkey, who has been quiet since returning from injury, but was very good last year as a second option behind Bowers. He’ll need to re-announce himself on the national stage in this game, and help quarterback Carson Beck bounce back after he was mediocre against Vanderbiltl.
Florida Rushing Offense vs. Georgia Run Defense.
Florida’s rushing offense, ranked 50th in the country by EPA per play, isn’t as outstanding as their revamped air game, which checks in at 23rd. Georgia’s pass defense is 11th by the same metric, but its run prevention unit is just 51st. So the Gators’ ground game should have an evenly-matched opponent. Establishing the run will be key for sustaining drives, and keeping the Gators in this game; as good as the passing offense has been through Mertz, it won’t be enough on its own to compete with Georgia.
Gators center Jake Slaughter has anchored the run blocking unit, which will have their hands full with linebacker Jamon Dumas-Johnson and edge Chaz Chambliss both putting in good run-stopping seasons. The rushing duties have been split just about evenly by Montrell Johnson and Trevor Etienne, both of whom are averaging over five yards per carry.