2019 Florida Gators Football Team Preview: Odds and Predictions

2018 Season in Review

The first year of the Dan Mullen was a welcome sight for Gator fans, who had grown used to some hard to watch football under his predecessor, Jim McElwain. Florida put together an respectable season with a regular season record of 9-3, which included wins over ranked opponents Mississippi State and LSU. Although they fell short against rival Georgia, Florida finally took down their other hated rival Florida State in the regular season finale after a five season drought. The Gators capped off their season with a dominant win over 8th ranked Michigan in the Peach Bowl.

After years where their defense had to carry an anemic offensive attack, Florida made significant strides when it came to putting points on the board. After ranking 109th in the nation in points per game in 2017 (22.1), the Gators jumped up to 22nd, averaging 35.0 points per game.

Key Returning Players (2018 Stats)

  • QB Feleipe Franks (Redshirt Junior) – 2,456 Pass Yards | 24 Pass TD | 6 INT
  • RB La’Mical Perine (Senior) – 826 Rush Yards | 8 Total TD | 6.2 YPC
  • DE Jabari Zuniga (Redshirt Senior) – 45 Total Tackles | 6.5 Sacks | 11.0 TFL
  • CB C.J. Henderson (Junior) – 38 Total Tackles | 5.0 TFL | 2 INT

Although Feleipe Franks managed to be the first Gator quarterback to start every game in a season since Tim Tebow in 2008, coach Mullen has not decided on a starter yet. Whoever wins the job will have solid support from senior running back La’Mical Perine who should get plenty of carries. Florida’s top three receivers in Van Jefferson, Josh Hammond, and Trevon Grimes are also back in Gainesville, as are linemen Nick Buchanan and Stone Forsythe.

Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham’s unit will be well stocked with talent, as pass rusher Jabari Zuniga will make the most of his fifth year. Fellow senior and top returning tackler David Reese II will once again man the middle linebacker spot, while top corner C.J. Henderson will be joined by upperclassman safeties Brad Stewart and Jeawon Taylor in the secondary.

Key Departures

  • DE Jachai Polite (NFL Draft)
  • OT Jawaan Taylor (NFL Draft)
  • S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (NFL Draft)
  • LB Vosean Joseph (NFL Draft)

The biggest losses for the Gators came in the trenches, where Florida lost key guys on both sides to the draft and graduation. The offensive line lost three starters, in second round pick Jawaan Taylor, Fred Johnson, and Martez Ivey. Defensive ends Jachai Polite and Cece Jefferson are also gone, with the former getting drafted in the third round by the New York Jets. Defensive stalwarts Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and Vosean Joseph, as well as running back Jordan Scarlett round out Florida’s draft defections.

Notable Recruits (Star Ratings and Rankings According to Rivals.com)

  • DE Khris Bogle – 4 Star | 6-5, 215lb | Cardinal Gibbons HS | Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • CB Kaiir Elam – 4 Star | 6-2, 180lb | Benjamin School | Palm Beach Gardens, FL
  • OLB Tyron Hopper – 4 Star | 6-2, 205lb | Roswell HS | Roswell, GA
  • WR Arjei Henderson – 4 Star | 6-2, 190lb | Travis HS | Richmond, TX

The Gators became the second program after the Texas Longhorns to lose a 5 star commitment to USC, as corner back Chris Steele elected to transfer close to home in LA. Florida can still deal with that hit with the signing 9th ranked corner, Kaiir Elam, the nephew of former Florida Gator and Baltimore Raven safety Matt Elam. Other key signings include fourth ranked tight end Keon Zipperer, defensive ends Khris Bogle and Lloyd Summerall, and fourth ranked outside linebacker Tyron Hopper.

2019 Florida Gators Schedule

DateOpponent
August 24thMiami (Neutral site game at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, FL)
September 7thTennessee-Martin
September 14th@ Kentucky
September 21stTennessee
September 28thTowson
October 5thAuburn
October 12th@ LSU
October 19th@ South Carolina
November 2ndGeorgia (Neutral site game at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, FL)
November 9thVanderbilt
November 16th@ Missouri
November 30thFlorida State

At a glance, the biggest games on Florida’s schedule are the visit to LSU, and of course their rivalry games against Georgia and Florida State. The season opener against Miami, however, could be the litmus test for the entire season with the Hurricanes a relatively unknown commodity with their coaching change. Another feature of the schedule that could factor into Florida’s success is their three straight games away from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, which include the LSU and Georgia games.

Where to Bet on Win Totals and Conference Title Odds in New Jersey

New Jersey residents can log on to 888Sport and make wagers on Florida’s SEC title odds as well as their win total. With an over/under of 9 wins, bettors will have some tough decisions given the schedule.

Number of Games Won – Excluding Bowl Games & Play Offs

Regular season only. Conference championship games do not count.

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