LSU vs. Florida: SEC betting odds, preview and pick

Chris Graythen - Getty Images

Florida is on the rebound and they are no longer underdog patsies. They spot LSU 2.5 points at home Saturday, but bettors are siding with the Tigers.

The Florida Gators are 4-0 for the fourth-straight season, but getting to 5-0 means beating LSU.

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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.

Check the national college football scoreboard right here, and look through SB Nation's many excellent college football blogs to find your team's community.

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