No. 6 Florida (10-2) and ACC runner-up Virginia (9-4) meet at the Orange Bowl on December 30. Game schedule is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. The game will be televised nationwide by ESPN.
Florida enters this game with only two losses in his name, which added to 24 points combined against the top 10 opponents LSU and Georgia. The Gators finished the regular season with a winning streak of 3-0, beating opponents 119-23 to secure the Orange Bowl bet as the best ranked team between SEC, Big Ten and Notre Dame (who was not yet tied in the Rose or sugar bowl).
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Virginia won her Orange Bowl nomination as the seventh different champion of the ACC Coastal Division in seven years; The conference champion, Clemson, who beat the Cavaliers 62-10 in the ACC title game, will go to the Playoffs, allowing the Cavaliers to move to the Orange Bowl.
With that, Sporting News offers an early preview for the Orange Bowl between the Gators and the Cavaliers:
Florida vs. Virginia odds for Orange Bowl 2019
- Spread: Florida -14.5
- Total points: 54.5
- Money Line: Florida -650, Virginia +475
Florida is a 14.5 point favorite according to Sports Insider, a point higher than the 13.5 point open in favor of the Gators.
Florida vs. All-Time Series Virginia
Florida and Virginia have only met once, a 55-10 beating by the Gators in Gainesville in 1959. Florida is 3-0 in the Orange Bowl; Virginia has never played in the Orange Bowl.
Three trends to know
– The Gators are 6-3 this season against the spread when they are favored, winning by an average margin of 25.9 points. The Cavaliers are 1-3 like the ones below.
– Florida is 1-0 against the spread in bowl games under Dan Mullen, but 1-3 in the neutral site games. Virginia is 1-1 and 2-1 against the spread in those circumstances, respectively, since Bronco Mendenhall took over in 2016.
– Virginia has only one season of 10 victories in the history of the school, with a 10-3 mark in 1989 after losing the Citrus Bowl.
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Three things to look at
Florida fast pass
Florida has 46 catches this season, ranking first in the SEC and fifth in FBS. That attack is led by Jonathan Greenard, who has 15 tackles to lose and 9.5 sacks. The Cavaliers have yielded 38 this season (2.9 per game), bad enough for the eleventh position in college football. They will have to hinder that fast pass if they want to have any chance of winning.
The hurried skill of Bryce Perkins
One way the Cavs can compensate for Florida's rush of passage is with Perkins' rush ability. It has 745 yards and 11 touchdowns this season, which Virginia can use to take advantage of an aggressive bombing scheme. Florida might want a man to spy on Perkins to prevent him from breaking long runs.
Virginia's trio of linebackers Charles Snowden, Zane Zandler and Jordan Mack have combined for 231 tackles, 29 tackles for loss and 16.5 catches. If it makes life difficult for Florida's trio of runners, Lamical Perine, Dameon Pierce and Emory Jones (1,034 combined yards and 12 touchdowns), it could be quarterback Kyle Trask who leads the Gators offensive attack.
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Statistics that matter
Trask has completed 213 of 315 passes for 2,636 yards and 24 scores at six interceptions. He will face a Virginia high school that has allowed an average of 228 aerial yards per game, while leaving 22 touchdowns. The Cavs will need to force some turnovers to limit the scoring opportunities of the Gators, particularly in the air game.
Florida vs. Prediction Virginia
Virginia will score a touchdown in the first offensive series of the Cavs, which includes at least one great Perkins race. Florida will be installed after that, allowing the Cavs to enter the midfield in each of their next two units without scoring. Trask will put Florida on the board at the end of the first quarter, and the Gators will take a touchdown lead at halftime. They will be all Gators thereafter, since the defense is activated in Perkins and Trask leads multiple scoring units.
Florida 31, Virginia 17