Florida Win-Total Prediction
Can the Florida Gators find their way to another 9-win season during 2016? Here’s our breakdown of what to expect from the Gators.
According to oddsmakers at BetDSI, Florida is listed with 50/1 odds to win the College Football Playoffs this season. The Gators are also listed with 8/1 odds to win the SEC. When it comes to the over/under for regular-season wins, Florida is listed at 8.5. The over and under both carry a money line of -115.
Jim McElwain enters his third season as head coach of the Gators. His first two seasons have been a success, as Florida was 10-4 in 2015 and 9-4 in 2016. The Gators won the SEC East in both years. Last year’s season was capped off with a 30-3 win over Iowa in the Outback Bowl.
Florida was led last season by its dominant defense. The Gators allowed just 17.9 points and 299 yards per game in 2016. The unit was just a sound overall group, as the leading tackler only had 73 tackles and the leading sacker had just five. The defense had great depth. Defensive back Marcel Harris was the leading tackler with 73 and he also had a sack and two interceptions. He returns to lead the defense in 2017. Linebacker Kylan Johnson had 39 tackles and five tackles for loss as a freshman and could see a big jump in production this season. Lineman Jabari Zuniga had the team-high five sacks as a freshman last year and also should see a step up in production this year.
Offensively, Florida must improve. The Gators ranked 108th nationally in offense last season, averaging just 23.9 points and 344 yards per game. Florida used two quarterbacks last season, unsuccessfully. This year, Florida is giving the ball to Notre Dame transfer Malik Zaire. He has seen limited action with the Irish over three seasons due to injuries or poor play. He had thrown for 816 yards with six touchdowns while rushing for 324 yards in his ND career. Jordan Scarlett was the leading rusher for Florida in 2016 with 889 yards and six touchdowns. He returns in the backfield this year along with Lamical Perine, who had 421 yards in 2016. Also back is the leading receiver, Antonio Callaway, who had 54 catches for 721 yards and three touchdowns.
Florida opens the season on Sept. 2 against Michigan from AT&T Stadium. The Gators will also face Northern Colorado, UAB and Florida State at home in non-conference play. In SEC play, the Gators will host Vanderbilt, LSU, Texas A&M and UAB while traveling to Kentucky, Missouri and South Carolina. Florida will also face Georgia in Jacksonville on Oct. 28. I feel good about the Gators this year. Their offense should improve with a lot of returning talent. I think Zaire will be a nice fit in that offense. The Gators should continue to have a dominant defense, which will make them even better if their offense gets on track.
2017 WIN TOTAL PREDICTION: FLORIDA OVER 8.5 (-115)