Florida Gators Odds to win the College Football National Championship with Expert Betting Predictions
It's a sign of the state of the lowly SEC East that Jim McElwain has won the division in both of his years at Florida, yet he has yet to field a team that is particularly terrifying. Sure, it's much better than what Will Muschamp had done, but that's not exactly a big hurdle to get over. Don't get me wrong, he has done a good job given what he has had to work with, and his future is pretty bright, but it's still a work in progress, and if he were in a stronger division he wouldn't have anything like two division titles to his credit.
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2016 in a Nutshell
Remember how I said that this team benefited from a weak division? (If you don't you need to talk to your doctor because I only said it one sentence ago) Well, the team won the division by two games despite going 8-3 in the regular season and 6-2 in conference. They had nice wins against Georgia and at LSU but lost at Tennessee, got beaten up by Florida State, and somehow lost to Arkansas by three touchdowns. And then they looked like they were playing a different sport than their opponents in a very humbling 38-point loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. They finished up by beating Iowa handily in their bowl game. However, how much credit do you really deserve for beating up an Iowa team that had no business being ranked?
Key Additions and Departures
The team has been hit very hard by changes this year. The news on offense is pretty good as they return four starters on a pretty decent offensive line, have good running back depth and solid receivers. QB is a big question, though, as redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks has had more time with the team, but Notre Dame transfer Malik Zaire has more experience. The team desperately needs someone to take the job over, because lack of QB play has been an issue for this team pretty much since Mets' farmhand Tim Tebow, who you may remember once played football, left.
Defense, though, is a different story. The team has lost eight starters on defense, and they have a new defensive coordinator - Randy Shannon - as well. The Gators eternally field a Top 15 defense, but they will need guys to learn their jobs quickly and really step up if they want to keep that up. The secondary in particular is a massive concern as the two best corners in the SEC are both gone and the veteran safety was lost for the year to injury.
The recruiting class wound up just outside the Top 10 and didn't feature a five-star player. It's hard to catch up to the best SEC teams when you are falling behind in recruiting.
Florida Gators Schedule Analysis
The Gators start out with a bang, opening against Michigan in Arlington. The Wolverines also are going through a lot of changes but have more experience to draw on in their replacements. It's a tough task. The next four games are manageable, with only a home game against Tennessee being even a little interesting. Then it's a crucial three-game stretch - against LSU and Texas A&M, and then Georgia on a neutral field. Get through that and they have three manageable games again before finishing against Florida State. It's tough, and is going to make taking a step forward tough. The first and last game will be tough to win, but they are nonconference games, so they don't matter that much for where this team really is. There could easily be two or three losses in conference play, though - and they don't even have to play Alabama. Well, not until the SEC Championship Game if they get that far, anyway.
2017-18 Florida Gators Betting Odds and Trends
At +2800 to win the national title at BetOnline , Florida is behind only nine teams in futures odds. I find it impossible to justify that price with this team and this schedule. At +850 to win the SEC they are behind four other teams. I like that a whole lot better, though I wouldn't dream of betting it - I don't like betting things that aren't happening. The Gators are four-point underdogs currently in the opener against Michigan.
This was not a good team to bet on last year. They were 5-7-1 ATS on the season. The bright spot, though, was the totals - they went "over" only four times in their 13 games.
2017-18 Florida Gators Predictions and College Football Picks
I'm not optimistic - and I suspect I didn't hide that very well. They are going to lose to Michigan and Florida State. And Georgia. And LSU. And they aren't going to win the division - Georgia is. If this sounds like a bit of a lost season, that's because that's what it is. They need to use this year to figure out things for next year.
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