The game of the day Saturday in College Football Week 1 is clearly No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 3 Florida State. But two other teams who think they can make the College Football Playoff also square off in a neutral-site affair as No. 11 Michigan faces No. 17 Florida. The Wolverines are slight betting favorites against the Gators for this Saturday’s matchup.
Michigan vs. Florida College Football Week 1 Odds & Game PredictionWatchESPNRadio: WWJ 950AM (Michigan) / ESPN 98.1 FM (Florida)Opening College Football Week 1 Lines: Michigan -4.5 (44.5)
- Mostly Cloudy: 32°C/89°F
- Humidity: 41%
- Precipitation: 0%
- Wind: 4 mph NNE
- Cloud Cover: 68%
- Type of Stadium: Retractable
Why Bet On Florida?The Gators will be short-handed as they are without 10 suspended players. Most of those guys weren’t expected to big contributors but one was star receiver Antonio Callaway and one was starting running back Jordan Scarlett. Scarlett, a junior, led the team with 889 yards rushing and six touchdowns last season. Scarlett also was suspended for the 2016 Citrus Bowl game against Michigan following a marijuana possession charge. Callaway, a junior and the team’s top playmaker, has 89 catches for 1,399 yards and 11 touchdowns in two seasons. He’s been in trouble plenty.Sophomore Lamical Perine likely gets the start at running back, and it also means true freshman Malik Davis – who had a strong preseason camp – will some carries, too. He and senior Mark Thompson were listed as the co-third teamers on the depth chart.As a matter of fact, Florida owns the nation’s longest season-opening winning streak: For 27 years in a row, the Gators have chalked up a “W” in Week 1. All 27 games were played in the Swamp; the Michigan opener is Florida’s first out-of-state non-conference regular-season game since a loss at Syracuse in 1991.
Who Will Be the Quarterback for Florida?Until Wednesday, Jim McElwain hadn’t named his starting QB. Michigan’s defense is planning as if it will face all three: redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks, redshirt junior Luke Del Rio and graduate transfer Malik Zaire. But it will be Franks who starts.The 6-foot-6, 219-pound Franks made a compelling case with his arm strength and size. Franks will be the 10th starting quarterback for the Gators since Tim Tebow’s final season, in 2009. Franks ended spring practices the front-runner for the starting job, ahead of fellow redshirt freshman Kyle Trask. When Zaire arrived in June as a graduate transfer from Notre Dame, most presumed it was his job to lose. Franks is a former four-star prospect out of Crawfordville, Fla. He threw for 2,766 yards and 35 touchdowns during his senior season at Wakulla High School in Florida, and led them to the state championship game.
Why Bet On Michigan?The Wolverines return six total starters from 2016 (players who made six or more starts). U-M has one returning starter on defense, linebacker Mike McCray who started all 13 games during the 2016 season.Although they don’t have any key players suspended so that’s nice. The Wolverines are keeping not just their starting QB under wraps but their whole depth chart. Jim Harbaugh loves to do that. Going into his third year with the Wolverines, Harbaugh has shunned innocuous practices, like regularly releasing a depth chart, and has pushed the boundaries of the NCAA’s limitations so far that there’s now a rule unofficially known as “The Jim Harbaugh Rule” – a ban on off-campus practices during school vacation periods.
Who Will Be the Quarterback for Michigan?The QB likely will be Wilton Speight, who was last year’s starter. He threw for 2,538 yards, 18 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions. Speight continued to play hurt after sustaining a shoulder injury late in the fourth quarter of a 14-13 loss at Iowa on Nov. 12. He returned after missing a game — John O’Korn quarterbacked Michigan’s 20-10 win against Indiana on a snowy afternoon in Ann Arbor. O’Korn was unremarkable, finishing 7 for 16 passing for 59 yards. A more confident John O’Korn made his case earlier in the month in camp, though.Whomever is the QB will have inexperienced receivers. Michigan lost 1,908 yards, 138 receptions and 13 touchdowns the second Jake Butt, Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson ran out of eligibility at the end of 2016. The total combined 2016 stats of every returning receiver/tight end on the roster: 35 catches, 408 yards and 3 touchdowns. Grant Perry, who was suspended all off-season, is the only returning receiver/tight end with double-digit catches (13). At running back, leading rusher De’Veon Smith is gone, but talented sophomore Chris Evans is back. As is junior Karan Higdon and fifth-year senior Ty Isaac. U-M has compiled a 24-8-1 all-time record against the Southeastern Conference. The Wolverines are 8-5 against the SEC in bowl games and have compiled a 16-3- 1 record in regular season games against the league. Michigan has a 112-22- 3 record in season openers.
Series HistoryThis will be the first-ever regular season match-up between Michigan and Florida and the fourth overall meeting the two schools. The Wolverines hold a 3-0 lead in the all-time series with the Gators, winning the 2003 Outback Bowl and the 2008 and 2016 Florida Citrus Bowl games.
- Total Meetings: 3
- First Meeting: January 1st, 2003. Tampa, Florida. Outback Bowl.
- Last Meeting: January 1st, 2016. Orlando, Florida. Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl.
- All-Time Series: Michigan 3 (2003-2016)
- Largest Margin of Victory: Michigan 41- (2016)
- Longest Win Streak: Michigan 3 (2003-2016)
- Current Win Streak: Michigan 3 (2003-2016)
College Football Week 1 Betting Trends
- Gators are 1-7 ATS in the last 8 non-conference games
- Florida is 9-4 SU in the last 13 games
- The total went UNDER in 6 of Florida’s last 7 games
- Wolverines are 4-1 ATS in the last 5 games in September
- Michigan is 20-5 SU in the last 25 games
- The total went OVER in 17 of Michigan’s last 21 games