The Florida Gators are 4-0 for the fourth-straight season, but getting to 5-0 means beating LSU.
Oddsmakers believe they have a real shot, given their recent improved play and the underwhelming performances turned in by the Tigers so far.
Florida sat as 2.5-point home underdogs as of Friday but were getting only about 44 per cent of the wagering consensus. The Gators won twice in 2012 as a dog already, but before this season, had lost eight in a row as a dog dating to 2007.
They host LSU Saturday afternoon at the Swamp in Gainesville (3:30 pm ET, CBS).
Florida, which returned 17 starters, including four along the offensive line and 10 on defense, from a team that went 7-6 last year, began this season with a lackluster 27-14 victory over Bowling Green.
The Gators then opened SEC play with a 20-17 win at new conference member Texas A&M, then won at Tennessee 37-20. And two weeks ago Florida shut-out Kentucky 38-0.
So the Gators are 3-0 in SEC play, and coming off a bye week. With its four victories Florida has moved up from No. 23 in the AP pre-season poll to No. 10 this week.
LSU, which got back 12 starters, including four along the O-line but only five on defense, started off this season with a 41-14 win over North Texas, then beat Washington 41-3 and Idaho 63-14.
Then the Tigers struggled to beat Auburn 12-10 in their SEC opener, and last week had a tougher-than-expected time with Towson of the FCS, trailing well into the second quarter before going on to win 38-22.
The Tigers actually got outrushed by Towson 188-158, and came nowhere close to covering the spread as 43-point favorites. Even though LSU has won its first five games it's fallen from No. 3 in the pre-season AP poll to No. 4 this week.
The Tigers are also down one of those returning offensive linemen, after T Chris Faulk suffered a season-ending knee injury three weeks ago.
LSU has won the last two games in this series. Last year the Tigers dominated the Gators 41-11, outrushing Florida 238-113 and covering the spread as 13-point favorites in Baton Rouge.
As for Saturday's game most online sportsbooks opened LSU as a three-point road favorite over the Gators. But as of Thursday afternoon the Tigers were listed at -2.5 at most outlets.
Free Pick: LSU hasn't looked too good the last couple of weeks, but we expect a better effort in this step up in competition Saturday. We go with the Tigers minus the points.
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