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Here's our CFB expert's pick for Monday's Orange Bowl game

In the Capital One Orange Bowl, No. 9 Florida will take on No. 24 Virginia on ESPN at 8 p.m.

No. 9 Florida vs No. 24 Virginia (+14.5), ESPN, 8 PM ET:

  • This matchup in the Capital One Orange Bowl, will feature No. 9 Florida and No. 24 Virginia. Florida has covered the spread in eight of its last nine games.
  • The Gators are 9-3 against the spread this season. They are also 6-1 against the spread in their last seven games.
  • Since 2017, Florida has a 16-7 against the spread record as favorites (Stats courtesy of Statschecker).

For the first time since the 2001 college football season, the Florida Gators will be in the Orange Bowl while Virginia will be playing in its first-ever Orange Bowl.

Both teams enter this showdown finishing the regular season on a hot streak. The Gators won their last three games by a combined 119-23 margin, and Virginia finished with a 4-0 record in the month of November.

Florida junior quarterback Kyle Trask finished with 2,636 passing yards, 24 touchdowns and six interceptions with a 67.6 completion percentage. Wide receiver Kyle Pitts came away with 51 receptions for 610 yards and five touchdowns, and Van Jefferson finished with a team-high six touchdown catches to go along with 43 catches for 528 yards.

Superstar linebacker Jonathan Greenard anchored the Gators’ defense. He finished with 8.5 sacks for Florida this season.

Virginia, on the other hand, has been one of the better scoring teams in all of college football. The Cavaliers had 421 total points and scored an average of 32.4 points.

Bryce Perkins was only one of two quarterbacks in the entire nation - the other being Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts - to throw for 3,000 yards and rush for 700 yards on the ground. He had 3,215 passing yards, 18 passing scores, with 745 rushing yards and another 11 touchdown runs.

This Orange Bowl will undoubtedly come down to the play of Trask and Perkins.

The difference maker? Florida’s defense. The Gators are fifth in the nation and first in the SEC with 46 sacks, and they are top 10 in the country at fewer than 300 yards per game allowed.

Florida minus 14.5 points is the pick here. Take the Gators.

Pick: Florida (-14.5) @ -107

By Dan Canova

Article Author

Expert handicapper known for his deep knowledge of all things NBA and his ability to pick winners.


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