Among the marquee games in the first full weekend on the college gridiron is Utah vs. Florida and we take you through our betting picks and predictions for the game.
NCAA Week 1 Betting Picks & Predictions
Best NCAA Week 1 Sports Betting Sites
The seventh-ranked Utes are -3 (-105) at respected sportsbook Bovada, which a total of 51 at -110, the juice the same if betting either the over or under. Utah is -145 on the moneyline with the Gators at +125. Utah opened at -1.5 at 52.5.
Though the public loves betting favorites, this is a contest in which I assumed sportsbooks would get more play on the SEC home underdog. This is not the case as 72 percent of the tickets and a stunning 88 percent of the money is on Utah to cover. Again, I prove much better at handicapping lines than who the public will wager on.
Many of those betting on the Gators chose the moneyline as a modest 54 percent of wagers are on them to win outright, yet 86 percent of moneyline cash is on Utah. Based on popular sharp metrics, the wise guys are staking on the west coast squad.
NCAA Week 1 Betting Pick 1: Florida +3 (+115)
Yes, Utah is loaded, but the Utes are traveling 1,825 miles to play an SEC road game. While the Utes are used to high elevation, the expected 90-degree weather is a big edge for a Gator team used to the heat and humidity.
Florida yet again has another new head coach in Billy Napier. He will have that element of surprise as Utah will have less intel to scout on. He can utilize the versatility of Anthony Richardson, who can beat you with both his legs and feet. The Utes are notoriously slow starters out of the gate and are in a tough spot here.
It will be a rock fight and there really is no easy way to prepare for a game that has “Florida weather” written all over it. It’s still summer literally and figuratively. Napier already said he plans on rotating a lot of players and this game is ideal to break in that philosophy. Never underestimate the pressure Utah is under. The credibility of their national title hopes, and the conference is at stake. It will come down to the wire and the hosts will hold on as three points will loom large.
NCAA Week 1 Betting Pick 2: Utah-Florida UNDER 51 (+110)
Bet the under now, because it will likely drop with about a 60 percent chance of rain. I will strongly consider a “Bet Middler” on the total if it drops at least three points. Winds are not expected to be that high, only about 7 mph, so if the oddsmakers overreact to precipitation, we must pounce and take advantage of a great opportunity to win both sides of the totals bet.
Regardless, most UF insiders see Florida running a lot including at the QB position. Utah also likes to play conservatively and with the expected heat, I would be shocked to see them try to push the pace. The total is fairly high. Utah QB Cameron Rising is also multipurpose and can also run the ball as evidenced by his 92 yards on the ground in the Rose Bowl.
I look for both teams to want to slug it out. Utah does have more depth, but Florida’s home field weather and fans are legitimate reason to believe they will win a battle of attrition. Like I said, grab the under ASAP and hope the total drops before gametime for a possible middle.
NCAA Week 1 Betting Pick 3: Utah -145 moneyline
No, this is not a hedge. It is going to be close where it goes down to the wire and the favorite wins straight up but fails to cover. The Utes do have 14 returning starters, plus all three specialists for a total of 17. This is of course from the defending Pac-12 champions. It’s a sportscaster cliché, but in a game that will be close, the kicking game and special teams will be the deciding factor. Utah has done well in road and neutral games.
As stated, we do expect this to be a slugfest and while the weather does not favor the, Utah does have more depth as former Gators’ mentor Dan Mullen did not recruit nearly as well as expected and while he left some front-line talent, but not enough depth to hold on at the end.
If Florida leads at halftime, I will look very long at unloading on Utah on the second half line. Jitters will plague the Utes early, but talent wins out with a late but close win in what will be one of the great games to both watch and bet in the initial large slate of the season.