Michigan vs. Florida Prediction
According to oddsmakers at Bovada.lv, Michigan is the favorite in this game, as the Wolverines are getting odds of -5 points against the Gators. The over/under total for the contest is listed at 43 points. These two last met in the 2016 Citrus Bowl, with Michigan getting a 41-7 win. This game will take place from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas and will air live on ABC.
Michigan is coming off a 10-3 record in 2016, but the Wolverines were just 6-7 against the spread. Michigan was led all year by its dynamic defense, which allowed just 12.5 points and 253 yards per game last season. That defense has lost 10 starters from the 2016 team, so it will be interesting to see if it is rusty with so many new starters. Offensively, Michigan averaged 40.3 points per game in the 2016 season. Wilton Speight hasn’t been named the starting quarterback despite throwing for 2,538 yards and 18 touchdowns last season. He is still expected to be the man who takes the field today. Speight will be working with new receivers and a new set of running backs this year as well.
Florida is coming off a 9-4 record last season in which the Gators were just 5-7-1 against the spread. Like Michigan, Florida was led all last season by its defense, which allowed just 17.9 points and 299 yards per contest. The Gators are expecting the defense to be the strength of this team again. Offensively, Florida struggled all year, averaging only 23.9 points per game. The Gators will have a hard time being much better on offense in today’s game as they have suspended receiver Antonio Callaway and running back Jordan Scarlett for the game. Those two were the respective receiving and rushing leaders for the team a year ago. That puts a lot of pressure on new starting quarterback Felipe Franks, a redshirt freshman that will be facing a team known for defense.
This game should be physical, as I expect both defenses to still be very good. Both Florida and Michigan have recruited well on the defensive side of the ball, so they should be able to handle the losses to key starting positions. I also think both offenses will struggle today as neither should have a lot of chemistry. Speight was a game manager a year ago and now will be forced into a bigger role. Franks has no starting experiences and will be trying to develop chemistry with first-time starters as well. Ultimately, I like Michigan because the Wolverines showed an ability to score last year behind a steady run game and timely passing. I think they will find a way to put together some scoring drives today.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREDICTION: MICHIGAN -5