NCAAF Preview: Utah vs Florida Odds & Betting Analysis

East Meets West to Start the Season

College Football fans have been waiting for this. Week 1 of the College Football season is like Christmas Day. Every fan base enters with a clean slate and the optimism that this is finally the year. Week 1 provides us with a loaded slate this season with the No. 7 Utah Utes traveling to The Swamp to take on the Florida Gators.

Read on for our Utah vs Florida odds analysis.

Utes Look to Build off Success

While it may not seem as big as the Georgia vs Oregon game, this game provides a lot of intrigues. Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham enters his 18th season with the program with an impressive overall record of 144-70. The Utes can be susceptible to a slow start as we saw last season. They lost two of their first three games before winning nine of the next 10 to make the Rose Bowl. They fell to Ohio State 48-45 in one of the most entertaining games of the entire season.

The Utes are commonly known for their defensive prowess, but it was their offense that was the best unit on the field last year. They ranked second in the Pac-12 in scoring offense with 36.1 points per game – 14th nationally. Their rushing offense ranked 14th in the country.

Lead rusher player Tavion Thomas returns after posting 1,108 yards on the ground with 21 scores. Cameron Rising returns at quarterback as a fifth-year junior and is a dark horse in the Heisman race. He tossed 20 touchdowns last season to just five interceptions and added six scores on the ground with almost 500 yards rushing. His offense from last year is still largely intact, as the Utes return five of their top six receivers from last season.

The offensive line is one of the unknowns for Utah football spread heading into the season. It does return three starters but saw the top two head for the NFL. The unit will still be solid, but it might take Whittingham plugging certain guys into different spots to find where they’re best suited. They’ll still likely be one of the Pac-12’s best rushing units.

What’s New in Florida?

Dan Mullen is out and Billy Napier is in. While at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, Napier had a record of 40-12 with two Bowl Game wins, as well as a top-20 ranking to end each of the last two seasons. Now, we’ll get to see what Napier can do with top-tier talent. We’ll also get a look at how quickly he adapts to the SEC from the Sun Belt Conference and has quite the test ahead of him in quite the formidable Utah team.

Anthony Richardson enters his first season as the full-time starter after splitting time with Emory Jones last season. Expect to see more from the 6-foot-4 230-pound quarterback this season. He has a big arm but can make plays on the ground when needed. He’s a bigger version of Levi Lewis, the quarterback that helped lead the Cajuns in Napier’s offense the last two seasons.

They’ll miss Dameon Pierce in the backfield this season, but have some candidates that could be poised to pop. Montrell Johnson comes over from ULL with Napier and could get the nod early on just because of the familiarity.

They’ll need to develop playmakers on the outside and be tougher in the trenches, but Rome wasn’t built in a day and this is just the beginning of what should be a good tenure for Napier.

Utah vs Florida Betting Trends

Despite all the unknowns surrounding the Gators, the Utah vs Florida odds are close. The Gators come in as just 3½-point underdogs to a top-10 Utah team that has playoff aspirations heading into the season. This is the first meeting between these two programs since 1977.

Utah is 4-1 ATS against current SEC teams. Since 2013, Utah is 7-2 in road openers and 7-1-1 against the spread.

As for the Gators, they’ve won their last 32 home openers. Having The Swamp behind Napier in his coaching debut. The Gators are 4-2 ATS against Pac-12 opponents which explains the solid NCAA Football odds.

One thing driving the Utah vs Florida odds is all of unknown surrounding Florida. Napier’s staff is prepared and well-researched, but how is the dominant team that returns not favored by more against an unranked team?

The total is set at 51 with the bet’s split almost perfectly down the middle.

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