Florida Gators (0-0) at Utah Utes (0-0)
Game Info: Thursday, August 31st, 2023 at 8:00 p.m. EST (Rice-Eccles Stadium)
Betting Odds: Utah -4.5 (-110) - Over/Under (44)
Pick: Utah -4.5 (-110)
Thursday night takes us to Utah where the Utah Utes open up their 2023-24 college football season against the Florida Gators. This is arguably the first marquee matchup of the brand new college football season and we should be in for a good one as these two power five programs get ready to hit the field. Both of these teams have playoff hopes coming into the year and this should be a close and competitive matchup here on Thursday night.
The Florida Gators will be looking to be much improved this season after a rough couple of years. This is a program that is rich in history and tradition and I will be dying to get back to their winning ways this upcoming season. Billy Napier will be coming into his second season as the head coach in Gainesville, and he will be looking to improve upon their 6-7 record last season, and grab a season opening victory over a top fifteen team in the country. They will be looking to get themselves an SEC East divisional title this season as well which is something they have not accomplished since the Covid season of 2020.
Last season the Florida Gators finished in fifth place of the SEC East with a losing record of three victories and five losses inside of conference play. However, it was the beginning of a new era for the Florida football program as they had all first year coaches, and a bunch of young players running the show out on the field. All of those guys will be looking to take the next step here this season in year number two and they will look to upset Utah to open up the year. Florida was able to beat Utah last season at home by three points, but they face a much tougher task on the road this time around here on Thursday night.
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The Utah Utes will be looking to have a second consecutive successful season after they were crowned champions of the PAC-12 last season. They will also be looking to avenge their loss to the Florida Gators last season at The Swamp by grabbing a victory over Florida at home. Unfortunately they will be without their superstar quarterback Cam Rising as he is still recovering from his injury that he suffered in last year’s bowl game. They will have to rely on their second string quarterback here in this one to get the job done on Thursday night. They come into this season with plenty of expectations, as they find themselves ranked in the top fifteen of the country and opening the season with a loss would derail those expectations.
Utah will be looking to coast along until they get Cam Rising back in the lineup and they will be hoping it was in time for the Southern Cal game for a showdown with USC in what should be one of the marquee matchups of the season. They had a successful campaign last year, and they will be looking to follow up on that campaign by trying to get themselves into the college football playoffs this season, and they certainly have the talent on their roster to do so. This is a Utah team that was undefeated at home last season and it will be a very tough task ahead of them with Florida on the schedule, but this is a very tough Utah team to beat at home, as they have not lost at home since the 2020 COVID season.
Betting trends to consider in this matchup:
- Utah hasn’t lost a home game in two years
- Florida is on a 3 game losing streak
- Florida hasn’t beat a top 25 team on the road in 5 years
I expect Utah to pick up the victory in the opening game of the season even without their start quarterback in the lineup. As I look for Utes to have a strong performance at home here on Thursday night against the Florida Gators.
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