Florida vs. Vanderbilt: Pick, prediction, spread, odds, football game time, watch live stream, TV channel

By Adam Silverstein
October 9, 2021
Florida vs. Vanderbilt: Pick, prediction, spread, odds, football game time, watch live stream, TV channel

Image Credit: Michael Nash

With two SEC losses in the last three weeks and most of its goals now kaput just five games into the season, the No. 20 Florida Gators try to regroup Saturday for a homecoming showdown with the Vanderbilt Commodores where the most notable storyline may well be the helmets and uniforms that UF dons for the game. (Much more on that below.)

Other than those threads, this is projected to be a cake walk for the Gators, which enter as more than six-touchdown favorites against a team that lost 62-0 to No. 2 Georgia just a couple weeks ago. Perhaps more than anything, Florida may be playing itself in this game.

Will we see movement at quarterback? Redshirt junior Emory Jones has improved massively over the last three weeks, but the lack of downfield passing threat for the Gators is clearly an issue. Redshirt freshman Anthony Richardson returned last week and looked healthy but barely saw the field. Perhaps he gets extended run in this game, particularly if Florida gets out to a significant lead early.

Head coach Dan Mullen also refused to get into great detail about UF’s injury report entering this game. Whether that means he plans to rest a multitude of players before Florida hits the road to face LSU next week remains to be seen, but fans should definitely expect to see the Gators without a few normal starters on the field.

As for what will happen in the game, scroll down for our prediction and picks. Anything other than a relative walk in the park would likely be a disappointment for a program that needs a get-right game after an inexceusable road loss last week..

What will go down Saturday when Florida hosts Vanderbilt on homecoming? Let’s find out.

Tale of the tape

No. 20 Florida GatorsVanderbilt Commodores
Head coachDan MullenClark Lea
Record3-2 (1-2)2-3 (0-1)

Injuries and absences

Mullen did not provide a full injury report this week. It is expected that there could be a number of players who do not see the field as they recover from injuries ahead of next week’s game at LSU. Among those appear to be RB Malik Davis and LB Ventrell Miller.

Out (1): CB Kaiir Elam (knee)
Out for season (3): LB Ventrell Miller (torn biceps) CB Jaydon Hill (knee), DB Kamar Wilcoxson (knee)
Notable inactives (?): To be announced before kickoff

Viewing information

Date: Saturday, Oct. 9 | Time: 12 p.m. ET
Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium — Gainesville, Florida [88,548]

TV: SEC Network (Dave Neal, Matt Stinchcomb, Taylor Davis)
Live stream: WatchESPN | SiriusXM: 106 / 235 / 969 (app) | Radio: WRUF, TuneIn
Live updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

Game notes

» Florida is 42-10-2 all-time against Vanderbilt with wins in 29 of the last 30 meetings since 1989 and seven straight since 2014. UF is also 22-2-1 against VU in Gainesville.
» Under Mullen, Florida is 23-4 when scoring first, 26-3 when leading at halftime, 28-2 when leading after the third quarter, 22-1 when allowing 20 points or fewer and 24-2 when outrushing their opponents. The negative marks in those last two statistics have come this season to Kentucky (both) and Alabama, respectively.
» UF is 7-8 when being outrushed by an opponent and 6-6 in games decided by 10 points or less.
» Florida is 6-9 against ranked opponents (2-3 vs. top five teams, 4-6 vs. top 10 teams) and 24-4 against unranked teams under Mullen. It is also 12-1 against nonconference opponents.
» The Gators have scored 24+ points in 30 of their last 34 games.
» Florida had posted 400+ yards of total offense in 14 consecutive games, the longest such streak since at least 1981. That mark ended against Kentucky (382 yards). Its 666 yards against South Florida in Week 2 were the most in any game under Mullen.
» The Gators’ 509 total yards per game are 10th in the FBS, and the team’s 2,545 total yards are the most through five games since 1991.
» UF’s 400 yards rushing in Week 1 vs. FAU were the most under Mullen and the most for any FBS team this season. The Gators is third nationally with 292.2 yards rushing per game, and their 1,461 yards rushing through five games are the most for the program in that span since 1975.
» Florida is one of two FBS teams nationally (Alabama) that has not lost to an opponent that finished the season with a losing record since 2004.
» UF has scored in 415 consecutive games, an NCAA record.

Prediction and analysis

Spread: Florida -39 | O/U: 59.5

Before we get started here, as I always say with a spread this large: Do not pick this game. OK, with that out of the way, let’s talk trends. The Gators are 22-0 overall when favored by 35 or more points since 1995, though they are just 11-10-1 ATS in that span. Since the departure of Steve Spurrier, Florida is 7-2-1 ATS in such situations with a 2-0-1 ATS record under Mullen. However, how many of those games have come against SEC opponents? The answer is just two, both against Vanderbilt in 2001 and 1995.

So how do we go about breaking down this game? Let’s start by saying it’s unlikely Florida puts the same hurting on Vanderbilt that Georgia did two weeks ago (62-0). The Bulldogs defense is simply outstanding, and while the Gators have been playing much better defensively, they are not turning over teams at the same pace, the result of which are usually extra possessions and more point-scoring opportunities.

Florida should be able to score at will against Vanderbilt, but it is also in a position where it should play from the most vanilla sections of its playbook given a road game against LSU is next week followed by the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party in three weeks. Furthermore, UF will likely rest ailing players, particularly in the second half, which could open up some late scoring opportunities for the visitors. We saw the way the Gators game planned against FAU and South Florida. While I expect this to be a more dominant performance, I don’t think the goal here is for Florida to blow the doors off Vandy.

The Gators have only covered this spread against the Commodores once since 1993 — two years ago in 2019. I’m going to stay conservative and assume Florida fails to cover with the game falling under the total, but again, two reminders. (1) Do not pick this game. (2) It may be best to fade me this season given how unpredictable UF has been through five weeks.

2021 records: ATS picks 1-4 | O/U picks 2-2-1

Odds and ends

» Florida will wear throwback orange helmets with an interlocking UF logo from the 1970s along with 1960s throwback blue jerseys and white pants for homecoming. It is the third straight year that the Gators are wearing their recently reintroduced throwback uniforms.

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Buy in BLUE | Buy in ORANGE | Buy in WHITE
Buy in BLUE (Women) | Buy in BLUE (Youth)

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