Orange Bowl Betting Preview: Picks And Predictions For Florida vs. Virginia

Posted By Matt Perrault on December 24, 2019

The 2019 Capital One Orange Bowl features two teams that have had solid seasons looking to end the year with a big victory on a national stage. Florida, out of the SEC, is 10-2 and has one of the best defenses in the country. Virginia, out of the ACC, is 9-4 and won the Coastal Division before losing to Clemson in the ACC Championship game. The Gators are big favorites, but the Cavs are very excited about being in a major bowl game.

In this article I’m going to provide a betting overview on the moneyline, points spread, and the total using DraftKing Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook odds.

While we haven’t used many “leans” in our college football betting articles this season, I will use leans here when it’s appropriate. A lean is the direction I’m thinking the game will go but I’m not fully committed to backing it with a play. When I’m putting my own money down, that is what I call a “pick.”

<h2>Florida vs. Virginia moneyline</h2>

Dan Mullen has now taken the Gators to back-to-back trips to New Year’s Six Bowl games and heads into the 2020 season with a ton of momentum. A big bowl win in the Gators’ home state would just continue the progress this program is making in the SEC East. Even with the injuries at quarterback and other key positions this season, Florida won double-digit games thanks to a defense that gives up less than 15 points per game.

Things are ahead of schedule in Charlottesville as Virginia is playing in a New Year’s Six bowl game for the first time in school history. Bronco Mendenhall has done a tremendous job rebuilding the Cavaliers program and they look to be a contender in the ACC Coastal for years to come. The win over rival Virginia Tech late in the season to win the division was a big moment for this program and a sign of the progress it is making in the ACC.

Virginia is led by one of the best dual-threat QBs in the country in Byrce Perkins. Against Notre Dame, on the road, Perkins threw for 334 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately for UVa, he threw two interceptions and could not get anything going on the ground. The Cavaliers only had four yards rushing as a team against the Irish and they are going to be playing another feisty defense in this bowl game.

If you can stop Virginia from running the ball, you can make them one-dimensional and easier to stop. Florida has allowed just 107 yards on the ground per game, so Perkins will need to throw to win this game. That’s asking a lot given that the Gators hold opponents to under 200 yards passing per game.

Florida’s offense is led by running back Lamical Perine and QB Kyle Trask. While the Gators weren’t the most explosive unit on the offensive side of the ball, Perine does average 4.5 yards per carry and Trask has thrown 24 touchdowns to just six interceptions. The linebacking corps is the strength of Virginia’s defense and they will be tested in this game. There are several injuries in the secondary for Virginia that could be a big problem.

While this line is a bit heavy, I think the Gators are winning this game. Play Florida if you are comfortable laying the juice.

PICK: Florida -670 (DraftKings Sportsbook)

Florida vs. Virginia point spread

Florida was 8-3-1 ATS this year and ended the year covering the last three contests with large lines in games against Vandy and Florida State. The Gators were favored in all but three of their games this season, but they lost two of those three games outright. Florida beat Auburn as 2.5-point underdogs but lost to Georgia and LSU.

Virginia was more up and down ATS with a record of 6-6-1. The Cavs were 29-point underdogs against Clemson in the ACC Championship but they couldn’t keep up with the defending champs and lost by 45. The only other time Virginia was a double-digit underdog was at Notre Dame and the Irish covered the 10.5-point line by winning by 15.

The Gators faced multiple top 10 teams this season and their defense held their own in nearly every game. It’s hard to see how Virginia scores much in this game if Florida is fully locked in. With this game being in South Florida, there will a lot of Gator fans in the stands. This program wants to continue building towards an SEC East title next season and a dominating bowl victory will help to do that.

PICK: Florida -14.5 (DraftKings Sportsbook)

Florida vs. Virginia over/under (total)

The defense for Florida is one of the best units in the country when healthy and the under hit in seven of the 12 games this season. The total for this game is set at 54, which seems a little high to me. The last time the total was this high for the Gators was when Florida played LSU and 54.5-point total went over by 15.5 points. Virginia does not have the weapons that LSU possess.

For Virginia, the over has been a profitable play, hitting in eight of the Cavs’ 12 games. The majority of those games had totals in the 50s — much like this game. The last five games involving Virginia have gone over. The Cavs defense gives up 26. 5 points per game and that isn’t great for them against a Gator team that averages 33 points per contest.

I just don’t see how Virginia scores more than 17 points in this game. Perkins will have a few good drives but it’s so hard to move the ball consistently on Florida. I don’t think the Gators will have much trouble scoring themselves, and I see them getting into the 30s, but I don’t think they score enough for the over to hit.

LEAN: Under 54 (FanDuel Sportsbook)

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Matt Perrault

Matt Perrault is the sports gambling voice of SB Nation Radio, nationally hosting "Pushing The Odds”, weekdays from 1 to 4 p.m. ET, live from Las Vegas. His show features daily sports gambling, DFS, and gaming content. A lifelong sports gambler, Matt has been covering the sports gaming industry since moving to Vegas in 2015 and has made his mark with sports book operators around the sports gambling world.

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