Florida vs Utah Football Prediction & Picks: Should the Utes be on upset alert?

Eddie Griffin

Written by: Eddie Griffin

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Cam Rising Florida vs Utah college football odds prediction picks 8/31/23 cover


Last year, Florida and Utah engaged in a season-opening thriller in Gainesville, which culminated with Utes quarterback Cam Rising being picked off in the end zone in the waning moments to seal the Gators’ 29-26 win.

Will Utah be able to avenge that loss in Thursday’s rematch in Salt Lake City (8:00 pm ET, ESPN)? They are favored to do so, but with questions about the availability of Rising, the spread is not what it would be otherwise.

Florida vs Utah Odds

Odds are via Bovada.


  • Florida +4.5 (-115)
  • Utah -4.5 (-105)


  • Over 44 (-115)
  • Under 44 (-105)


  • Florida +170
  • Utah -200

Will Rising Get His Revenge on the Gators?

Cam Rising Utah vs Florida 2022

After his gut-wrenching interception in Gainesville, Rising threw only seven more picks the rest of the college football season. He finished with 3,034 yards and 26 touchdowns through the air and 465 yards and six touchdowns on the ground.

He was a key reason why the Utes won the Pac-12 title for a second straight year, and the senior signal caller enters his third season as a starter with a chance to break the school’s career records for passing yards and touchdowns.

Unfortunately, disappointment bookended his campaign. In the Rose Bowl against Penn State, Rising tore his ACL early in the second half. With Rising out, Penn State took control and went on to win 35-21.

In the leadup to the rematch with Florida, Rising has been limited in practice. But he is listed as the starter, with junior Bryson Barnes second on the depth chart.

However, there still seems to be some uncertainty about whether or not Rising will actually play against the Gators.

If he isn’t, Barnes will draw his second collegiate start. His first came last year at Washington State with Rising sidelined due to a knee injury, and he did his part in the 21-17 win, going 17 of 27 for 175 yards and a touchdown and adding 51 rushing yards on eight attempts.

Run Game Key for Both Utes and Gators

Ja'Quinden Jackson Utah running back

Even if Rising starts, the run game will be critical for Utah. Last season, the Utes were 11th in the FBS in rushing yards per game (217.6) and yards per attempt (5.4).

Leading rusher Tavion Thomas departed, but Ja’Quinden Jackson, Micah Bernard, and Jaylon Glover–a native of Florida–combined for 1,424 yards at 5.4 yards a pop last season.

Stopping the run was a problem area for Florida, both in the matchup with Utah and throughout the season. The Gators ranked 100th in the FBS in rushing yards allowed per game (175.2) and 97th in yards allowed per attempt (4.5).

On the other side of the ball, the Gators have the goods for a productive rushing attack as well. Montrell Johnson Jr. and Trevor Etienne combined for 1,560 yards at 5.7 yards a pop in 2022 and will be a formidable duo this season.

But it’s the aerial attack that will determine how much of a chance they have to upset the Utes. Anthony Richardson is on the cusp of making his first career NFL start with the Indianapolis Colts, and Wisconsin transfer Graham Mertz will now be taking the snaps.

Mertz comes with a lot of experience, which is a positive. However, he threw double-digit interceptions each of his last two seasons in Madison and has completed only 59.5% of his 773 career passes.

Florida vs Utah Prediction and Picks

Gators vs Utes Picks: Utah -4.5 (-105 at Bovada) & Florida/Utah over 44 (-115 at Bovada)

With Utah having high ambitions for this season, Rising’s long-term health is more important than being available for the opener. But even if he can’t play, the Utes absolutely can and should still win with Barnes.

Florida has a couple of talented running backs in Johnson and Etienne, but it’s hard to be overly optimistic about their potential to pull the upset even if they get to go up against a backup quarterback.

It’s entirely possible that Mertz will shine in his debut and the defense steps up, but there are too many ifs at play to expect anything other than a Utah win, with or without Rising.

Where to Bet on Florida vs Utah & College Football in 2023

Most top online sportsbooks offer a wide variety of college football odds throughout the season.

In addition to being able to make weekly college football picks all the way from Week Zero to the College Football Playoff National Championship, you can also bet on Heisman Trophy odds, conference championship odds, win totals, and much more.

Along with Bovada, where the odds in this article are from, there are plenty of sports betting sites you can choose from that are good for college football betting.

Below are some of the other books that we highly recommend:

If you don’t have an account at a book on this list, check out our reviews to help you determine if it is worth your interest and your betting funds.

Eddie Griffin
Eddie Griffin

Eddie Griffin has been writing about and betting on sports for over a decade and has been with Betting News since 2021. For more of his thoughts on sports and sports betting, you can follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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