Florida vs Utah Prediction - College Football Picks 8/31/23

Utah Utes (0-0) vs Florida Gators (0-0)

Game Info: Thursday, August 31, 2023 at 8:00 pm (Rice-Eccles Stadium)

Betting Odds: Utah Utes -4.5 -- Over/Under: 44.5 Click Here for the Latest Odds

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The Florida Gators and Utah Utes face off on Thursday Night in a Week 1 College Football showdown at Rice-Eccles Stadium. 

Who’s at Quarterback for Utah?

The big question heading into this season for Utah is who will be starting under center. In a perfect world it would be Cam Rising, but this isn’t a perfect world. Rising underwent ACL surgery this offseason and it’s unclear when he will return. Brandon Rose was expected to be the backup but he’s been hurt leading up to this also and it’s unclear if he will be able to go. On defense, Utah was elite last season, and all signs point towards this defense being even better. Junior Tafuna is going to be playing at the next level, and he’s going to try to be a force on defense in this game. 

Utah Betting Preview

  • Utah has won each of its last 17 home games against non-AP-ranked teams.
  • Utah has covered the spread in seven of its last eight games as a favorite against non-AP-ranked teams.
  • Utah has won the first half in 10 of its last 11 games against non-conference opponents at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
  • Four of Utah's last five home openers have gone OVER the total points line.

Will Florida be More Consistent Than Last Year? 

The Florida Gators had another losing season last year, and the hope is that this year is going to be different. The Gators were busy in the transfer portal, and the hope is that will be what this team will need. The strength of this team is going to be on the defense, especially on the defensive line. The defense is going to be strong with the pass rush and they are going to need to put the pressure on the quarterback here. Under center it’s expected to be Graham Mertz and he wasn’t exactly elite at Wisconsin. I’m not sure what exactly the Florida coaching staff thinks they will get from him, but he probably doesn’t serve to be an SEC quarterback. 

Florida Betting Preview

  • Florida has won each of its last five season openers.
  • Florida has covered the spread in five of its last six games as an underdog.
  • Eight of Florida's last nine road openers have gone OVER the total points line.

Utah vs Florida Facts

  • Utah ranked 4th among FBS teams for Q3 win percentage last season (.714).
  • Utah ranked 8th among FBS teams for H1 points per game last season (20.5).
  • Florida ranked T30th among FBS teams for Q1 win percentage last season (.538).
  • Florida ranked 33rd among FBS teams for Q4 points allowed per game last season (5.5).

Shane’s Free Pick

This is going to be a game where the defense is going to take the over for both teams. The Gators strength is with the defense, and even if Rising does play, Florida’s defense is going to be good here. I am also not sold on the Gators offense, and they are going to really struggle against the Utah defense. This is going to be a game where the first to 17 points is probably going to win. Back the under to cash here. 

The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a PickDawgz site consensus.

Mitch's Take...

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