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Florida-Kentucky Odds

Lexington, KY A matchup against Kentucky typically presents little trouble for Florida, which hasn't lost in the series in more than two decades.

This week, though, it's not just the Wildcats the Gators are trying to beat.

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With players battling the flu, the top-ranked Gators hope to overcome the spread of an illness and win their 23rd straight over Kentucky when they meet Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium.

Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made Florida -22.5 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 67% of bets for this game have been placed on Florida -22.5 (View College Football bet percentages).

After starting the season with blowout wins over two non-conference opponents, Florida (3-0, 1-0 SEC) opened league play with a 23-13 win over Tennessee last weekend. The game had been circled on the calendar for months after Volunteers coach Lane Kiffin vowed to sing "Rocky Top" all night long after beating the Gators.

Many expected the defending national champions to run Tennessee off the field, but their offense, which averaged 59.0 points and 643.5 yards in its first two games, never got going.

"It wasn't how we envisioned or hoped," said Tim Tebow, whose streak of games with a touchdown pass ended at 30. "But it's a win and it's good enough for all of us."

The Gators had some excuses for their lackluster offense.

Running back Jeff Demps, tight end Aaron Hernandez and defensive end Jermaine Cunningham were isolated last week because of flulike symptoms. They all took the field against the Vols, but none seemed to play up to par.

Demps, who had a 101-degree temperature, ran four times for 31 yards and a touchdown. Hernandez caught four passes for 26 yards, while Cunningham finished with one tackle.

No player has had a confirmed case of swine flu, but coach Urban Meyer said he was concerned the virus could ravage his team. As a precaution, the Gators got a round of flu shots Sunday, one week after a school official predicted that as many as 40 percent of students could catch swine flu.

"We knew there was something going on and there was a few players getting sick, but we didn't know the extent of how many people on our team were sick from it," senior receiver David Nelson said.

While some players could miss this game because of the flu, linebacker Brandon Spikes might be out because of tendinitis in his Achilles' tendon.

The team's defensive captain missed most of the second half last week and is wearing a protective boot.

Although the Gators might not be at full strength, Kentucky (2-0) knows better than to take them lightly.

"The second string could probably play anywhere else in the nation right now," Wildcats wide receiver Randall Cobb said. "That just shows how much depth Florida has."

Kentucky witnessed how tough the Gators' backups are in last season's 63-5 loss, as most of the subs played the second half.

Florida has won 22 in a row in this series since a 10-3 defeat in 1986 and rarely have the scores been close, with the Gators winning by an average of 28.8 points in the last 15.

Tebow had a subpar outing against the Vols, passing for 115 yards while rushing for 76 and a TD on 24 attempts, but he should be able to bounce back against the Wildcats. In his last two games versus Kentucky, the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner has passed for 436 yards, six touchdowns and one interception while rushing for 126 yards and three TDs.

"It seems like we always get them when they're mad," coach Rick Brooks said. "They didn't light up the scoreboard like they're accustomed to lighting it up, so I'm sure they're going to want to come in here and show everybody their offense is still very explosive."

The Wildcats are set to open SEC play after defeating Louisville 31-27 last Saturday to win their third straight Governor's Cup.

Mike Hartline's 12-yard touchdown pass to Cobb in the corner of the end zone with 4:28 remaining in the game sealed the win for Kentucky and helped it overcome some sloppy play.

The Wildcats rallied twice in the second half, overcoming three third-quarter turnovers and a barrage of long-yardage plays orchestrated by the Louisville offense - something they can't afford to let happen against the Gators.

"The turnovers are inexcusable, it's not normal that you lose the turnover battle and win the game," Brooks said. "If you make big mistakes you won't win any game, let alone against the No. 1 team in the country."

It's not going to get any easier for Kentucky, which hosts third-ranked Alabama next week.

Bet College Football Week 4

Posted: 9/22/09 6:08PM ET

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