Florida vs. Utah Betting Preview Week 1

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Florida vs. Utah Betting Preview Week 1

It’s here. The 2023 college football season officially gets underway with the biggest matchup of Week 1 Thursday between the University of Florida Gators and the University of Utah Utes, who are ranked #14 in the entire country. The kick-off for this contest is scheduled for 8 PM ET at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah. This is expected to be a very entertaining game. Below, we’ll dive into the history between the two teams and preview the affair.

Quick Take

  • Florida and Utah meet on Thursday in Week 1 action
  • The Utes are the favorite here
  • Can they get it done? Continue reading for the preview

H2H History

Florida might be the underdog here, but they have the advantage, going 2-0 all-time against Utah. They beat the Utes 29-28 last September in what was actually the season opener as well for both programs, with Anthony Richardson scoring a last-minute touchdown. Their other win over Utah came way back in 1977.

Change For Florida

Florida lost Richardson to the NFL Draft, which means they now have a new starting quarterback — Graham Mertz. He brings no shortage of experience to the table too, having served as QB1 for the last three years at Wisconsin before transferring this offseason. For the Badgers in 2022, Mertz completed 57.3% of his passes for 2,136 yards, 19 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. Not fantastic, but he’s hoping to revamp his career in Gainesville.

Mertz will surely be hoping to help Florida improve a lot this year. They were just 6-7 in 22’ including a 3-5 record in SEC action. The Gators didn’t win more than two games in a row all season and ultimately fell in the Las Vegas Bowl to the Oregon Ducks by a score of 30-3. The strongest area for this team will be the running back room, which was relatively solid last year as well. Cajun Montrell Johnson, Cam Carroll, and Trevor Etienne are all expected to play a big part in the backfield. But despite Florida’s success against Utah, most NCAA betting sites have them as a touchdown underdog Thursday.

Will Rising Play?

The Utes are expected to be a force in 2023 and should make some noise. But, there is some concern for Week 1 when it comes to quarterback Cameron Rising. The signal-caller tore his ACL in the Rose Bowl and it’s still unknown if he’ll be able to play in the season opener. That leaves a lot of uncertainty, with either Bryson Barnes or Nate Johnson likely to get the call instead.

Rising had a big campaign in 22’, throwing for over 3,000 yards, 26 touchdowns, and just eight picks. He is a big reason the Utes ended with a 10-4 record and a 7-2 mark in the Pac-12. If he’s not able to go on Thursday, who knows what happens.  Despite his status being up in the air, Utah is the clear -260 favorite at Bodog. They have a very strong run game and a solid offensive line with lots of future NFL talent. Perhaps Barnes or Johnson could fill in just fine if Rising can’t go.