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It’s an SEC showdown in the Swamp as the 3-5 LSU Tigers visit the 8-1 Florida Gators inside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday in Gainesville. Kickoff is at 7:00 P.M. Eastern.
This game was initially scheduled for Oct. 17 but was postponed after a COVID-19 outbreak within the Gators facility. The two programs have traded wins back and forth since 2015, with LSU taking last year’s meeting, 42-28 in Death Valley en route to the National Championship.
Last year’s matchup pitted two Top-10 undefeated schools in primetime against each other, with future first-round draft picks Joe Burrow and Clyde Edwards-Helaire leading the Tigers to the victory.
This year’s battle is once again under the lights, and while one of the participants ranks in the Top 10, the other is having trouble a year after winning it all. LSU is under .500, coming off a lopsided loss to Alabama in which they were 30-point underdogs entering the game. Florida will mark the third straight Top-10 team the Tigers will face, also falling to Texas A&M on Nov. 28 in College Station.
Before starting the season, the NCAA relaxed the rule that a team must finish above .500 to become bowl eligible. However, LSU self-imposed a one-year bowl-ban this week stemming from the NCAA's investigation into improper booster payments to its football players, so regardless of the outcomes of their final two games, the Tigers will not be going bowling this season.
Ja’Marr Chase is a projected first-round pick in next year’s NFL Draft and could very well be the first receiver taken off the board. But with Chase opting out before the season started, Terrace Marshall Jr has filled in as a reliable No. 1 option, hauling in 10 touchdown receptions, good for third in the SEC. However, Marshall also opted out, leaving LSU more shorthanded than anticipated.
The Gators are looking for their seventh straight win as their only loss of the season came to Texas A&M. They won’t get an opportunity to avenge that loss, but a win Saturday followed by a victory over Alabama in the SEC Championship on Dec. 19 could propel Florida past the Aggies in the rankings, potentially into the CFP if things shake out the right way.
Quarterback Kyle Trask leads the conference in passing yards and passing touchdowns, connecting all year with Kadarius Toney and Kyle Pitts. The Gators’ lethal WR-TE combo has combined for 89 receptions and 19 touchdowns.
Betting Line and Pick
Florida is a 23.5-point favorite in this one, with an over/under of 68.5. Florida has only been a favorite of 20+ points twice this year, failing to cover as 31.5-point chalk against Vanderbilt and pushing against Kentucky laying 24 points.
LSU is rebuilding this year and has been blown out on more than one occasion. But in the three instances in which they lost and gave up at least 40 points in the process, they responded with straight-up wins. As noted, they allowed 55 to the Crimson Tide last week. While we don’t expect an upset in the Swamp, that’s too glaring to ignore as Ed Orgeron clearly pushes the right buttons after a blowout.
Pick: LSU Tigers (+23.5)