University of Florida

UM favored? Gators and FSU double-digit dogs? Trying to explain this week’s betting lines

Florida opens a two-touchdown underdog the week after knocking off a Top 10 team? The University of Miami, despite being 2-3 and looking more G5 than P5 the last two games, favored over a ranked opponent? Florida State a four-touchdown underdog like some Ball State or Kent State?

Welcome to this week’s betting lines involving the state’s FBS college-affiliated football teams.

Florida’s defense broke Auburn freshman quarterback Bo Nix like first-year college romance and pulled away to a 24-13 upset win in The Swamp over the then-No. 7 Tigers. Now, it’s the Gators (6-0, 3-0 in the Southeastern Conference) occupying No. 7 in the Associated Press poll, only two spots behind No. 5 LSU (5-0, 1-0).

Still, the consensus opening line, according to, put the Gators as 13-point underdogs and bettors moved that to 13.5.

Venue undoubtedly plays into the spread. The Gators got Auburn and Nix in The Swamp while they go to

The Hurricanes (2-3, 0-2 in Atlantic Coast Conference play) opened 1-point favorites for Saturday’s home game against No. 20 Virginia (4-1, 2-0) apparently on name recognition alone.

When last seen Saturday, UM fell behind by 28 and 42-35 at home to a Virginia Tech team that got bullied at home by Duke and stretched at home by Furman. And the Hurricanes laid that dinosaur egg after a bye week and barely outlasting Central Michigan at Hard Rock Stadium. Virginia’s only loss was a 35-20 adverse decision at No. 9 Notre Dame.

The books clearly still believe in the Hurricanes’ defense and/or that the UM offense won’t seed Virginia’s point total with turnovers: the consensus Over/Under opened at 42.5 and has moved up to 43.5, still low for modern college-affiliated football.

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Florida State (3-2, 2-1) heads for No. 2 Clemson (5-0, 3-0), which still would be No. 1 if it still looked like the defending national champions that they are. But the Tigers have looked good enough and the Seminoles looked mediocre enough that the Tigers opened 27.5-point favorites over FSU. Bettors bet that down to 26.

As for the rest of the state:

Bettors apparently thought they caught the books with their Group of 5 pants down and jumped all over FIU (2-3, 0-2 in Conference USA) at home against Charlotte (2-3, 0-1). In one day, the Panthers shot from 2-point favorites to 5.5-point favorites and the consensus Over/Under went from 58.5 to 63.5. Bettors at William Hill bet the Panthers up to 6-point favorites.

Also trending up is Florida Atlantic (3-2, 1-0), consensus 10.5-point favorites over Middle Tennessee State (2-3, 1-0) at the open and favored by 11 or 11.5 points (depending on your book) by Monday afternoon.

The bettors like South Florida (2-3, 1-1 in the American Athletic Conference) more than the books, pulling the spread from BYU by 6.5 at the open to BYU (2-2) by 4.5 Monday afternoon. Maybe that has something to do with the Cougars losing to Toledo, 28-21. Also, the total has dropped from 53.5 to 50.5, a number only that Toledo game hasn’t surpassed.

UCF is having a bye week.

Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.