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The Let-Down game/overreaction to Week 1 results are the most tried and true football handicapping angles. Both are present in the No. 20 Kentucky Wildcats (1-0) visit to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium Week 2 for an SEC showdown with the No. 12 Florida Gators (1-0).
Kentucky unimpressively beat MAC’s Miami (Ohio) 37-13. The Wildcats’ ground game struggled in Week 1. Kentucky gained just 50 rushing yards on 25 carries vs. a Miami defense that ranked 88th in rushing expected points added last season.
Whereas Florida’s 29-26 victory over then-No. 7 Utah Saturday was college football’s biggest Week 1 upset. Gators sophomore QB Anthony Richardson looked like a superstar vs. the Utes and Florida first-year head coach Billy Napier looks like the guy.
However, both teams covered against the spread (ATS) and there’s sketchy line movement in the Kentucky-Florida betting market. Moreover, I see value in fading Florida after its big primetime upset and in Kentucky’s underrated football program under head coach Mark Stoops.
BET the KENTUCKY WILDCATS +6 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Betting Deets (DraftKings)
- Moneyline: KENTUCKY (+200), Florida (-225)
- ATS: KENTUCKY +6 (-110), Florida -6 (-110)
- Total (O/U) — 51.5 — Over: -110, Under: -110
‘Bad Spot’ for Florida
The Let-Down game is an old-school handicapping angle that obviously applies to Kentucky-Florida. The Gators are coming off a huge win over a top-10 foe in their rookie head coach’s first game and their quarterback looks like the real deal.
But, Florida’s win last week vs. Utah felt flukey and the Utes didn’t have the personnel to matchup with the Gators. Richardson made a ton of crazy plays, which is just not sustainable offense.
Furthermore, Utah lost its two leading tacklers from last year’s team to the NFL Draft. Utah’s defense ranks 88th in returning production (per ESPN’s Bill Connelly) and it showed.
On the other hand, Kentucky retained two of its three leading tacklers from last year’s squad and its leader in sacks. The Wildcats are in a better position to defend Richardson.
Also, Kentucky ranked higher in offensive and defensive line yards per snap last season. If the Wildcats win in the trenches Saturday, I’m willing to take a chance Richardson doesn’t play out of his mind again.
Additionally, the line movement indicates this could be a let-down spot for Florida. Circa Sports in Las Vegas opened Florida as a 7-point favorite vs. Kentucky. Since then, two-thirds of the bets placed at DraftKings Sportsbook have been on Florida, according to VSIN.
Yet the Gators are now just 6-point favorites. This reverse line movement (RLM) headed in Kentucky’s direction is suspicious. If the sportsbooks make the more popular side cheaper, it could mean they are laying a trap.
Not only is this is “bad spot” for Florida with sketchy RLM but Kentucky’s football program is underrated.
Don’t Sleep On Kentucky Football
Stoops has quietly turned Kentucky into a feisty, above-average SEC Football school since his first year on the job (2013). The Wildcats have two 10-win seasons, have ranked inside the top-25 in four of the last five seasons and have won four consecutive bowl games.
More importantly, Kentucky recruited better than Florida this offseason and both Football Outsiders and Pro Football Focus project the Wildcats to finish with better net efficiency.
Plus Kentucky QB Will Levis has a lot more arm talent with a first-round mock draft grade. Essentially, the Wildcats have the better quarterback and more proven head coach.
Finally, Kentucky is 4-0-1 ATS vs. Florida since 2017 with a +8.1 ATS margin and 9-6-1 ATS in conference play as a 6-point or greater underdog with a +2.6 ATS margin.
Go to DraftKings Sportsbook and BET the KENTUCKY WILDCATS +6 (-110).
- A $110 bet on Kentucky +6 (-110) nets a $100 profit if the Wildcats beat Florida outright or lose by five or fewer points.
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