Matchup: Toledo Rockets vs. Florida Gators
Date/Time: August 31st, 12:21 PM ET
Spread: Florida -23.5
Here at Bang the Book, we are always keeping our eyes open for the best games to bet on each and every week. Of all of the games on the Week 1 docket, the one we are zeroing in on is the game where the Florida Gators host the Toledo Rockets at 12:21 p.m. ET on Saturday, August 31st.
Over 60% of the action here is on the Gators, and we know that that isn’t something that is justifiable. The line has jumped up from 22.5 all the way up as high as 24 at some books, but some have come back to 23.5, which is still way, way too high.
Florida is a team that has a lot of problems right now. This is one of the most banged up teams in America. For a club that really didn’t have a heck of a lot of receiving options last year as it was, losing WR Andre Debose to a torn ACL for the year is going to hurt quite a bit. The biggest injury though, was the appendectomy to QB Jeff Driskel. It’s not the end of the world for a quarterback to have his appendix taken out, especially a few weeks before the season gets started, but the truth of the matter is that he hasn’t taken a hit in several weeks and won’t take his first until he gets on the field against the Rockets.
Driskel is considered a Heisman Trophy candidate this year, and we have absolutely no idea why that is the case. Driskel only threw for 1,646 yards with 12 TDs last season, and though he did add 408 yards on the ground, it’s still not good enough to really be considered. RB Matt Jones has a viral infection that is going to keep him out of the lineup in this one as well, and that is going to test a running game which is losing RB Mike Gillislee, who was a 1,000+ yard back last season with 10 TDs.
So where is the offense coming from for the Gators? We definitely aren’t all that sure about that.
Toledo, on the other hand, has a lot of returners. QB Terrance Owens is explosive to say the least, as he is a dual threat quarterback that can do it all. He turns the ball over too much, and that’s probably going to be a problem in this game as well. Owens threw for 2,707 yards and rushed for 395 more, and he accounted for 19 total touchdowns against eight picks while splitting duty with the departed QB Austin Dantin. RB David Fluellen rushed for 1,498 yards and 13 TDs last season, and he is back, as is 1,000+ yard receiver WR Bernard Reedy.
The Rockets have some major problems defensively, but they did land a bunch of raw recruits this year that should help out mightily from a unit that ranked 111th overall in the country.
The issue that Florida has is that it isn’t going to be able to take advantage of Toledo’s weaknesses. We really don’t see how this team is going to end up scoring more than about 30 points in this game if it is lucky. Go back and look at the history of what the Gators have done out of conference play lately against teams from outside of the major conferences. They should have been beaten by Louisiana Lafayette last season, they only managed to score 23 against Jacksonville State, and they needed the whole game to really put away Bowling Green. The year before, the squad allowed 32 points to Furman, and in 2010, Miami Ohio had the Gators on the ropes into the third quarter before the Gators finally pulled away.
The bottom line is that Toledo is better than all of these other teams that we have mentioned. The Rockets are the real deal, and we think that they are going to have a real chance, not to just cover this spread, but perhaps to put Florida on upset alert as well. It’s going to take a perfect game to pull the upset, something that we aren’t so sure that Owens is capable of, but this could be a close one regardless. Expect UF to survive by around 10 points or so, but not nearly enough to warrant a cover.
Week 1 College Football Pick of the Week: Toledo Rockets +23.5
Andrew Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.