2013 Sugar Bowl Predictions & Picks: Louisville vs. Florida 1/2/13

Last Updated: January 1st, 2013 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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Bowl Betting

2013 Sugar Bowl picks are going to be entertaining to make this year, as we have two teams that are going to be going at it against each other in what could be an unpredictable game in the Florida Gators and the Louisville Cardinals. Join us for our Sugar Bowl keys to the game and our Louisville vs. Florida predictions.

2013 Sugar Bowl: Florida Gators vs. Louisville Cardinals
2013 Sugar Bowl Location: Mercedes Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
2013 Sugar Bowl Date/Time: Wednesday, January 1st, 8:30 p.m. (ET)
2013 Sugar Bowl On TV: ESPN

Click Here For The Rest Of The 2012-13 Bowl Game Schedule And Other Bowl Game Previews

Key #1: Florida’s offense needs to get something out of someone aside from Mike Gillislee
We give all of the credit in the world to what RB Mike Gillislee has been able to do this year. He has had a good offensive line in front of him, which really has helped quite a bit, and he put up 1,104 yards and a total of 11 TDs on the year. The most remarkable part about the whole thing is that he did all of this without any semblance of a passing game. Florida’s offense just stunk it up with QB Jeff Driskel out there, as he threw for just 1,465 yards and 11 TDs and rushed for 404 yards. Granted, when Driskel was at his best, Florida was in fine shape. The good news is that he was at his best in the team’s most recent game against the Florida State Seminoles. In that game, he threw for 147 yards and a score and proved to be the MVP of the game. When he was effective, the rest of the ground game was able to really get going, and the team ended up with 244 yards on 47 carries for the game. That’s the type of production that it is going to take to ultimately win the Sugar Bowl this year, but if Driskel has one of these games where he goes 10-of-28 for 90 yards with no scores, Florida is going to be in a heck of a lot of trouble.

Sugar Bowl Odds at BetGuardian Sportsbook
Florida Gators -14
Louisville Cardinals +14
Over/Under 47
Click Here to Bet Your Sugar Bowl Picks!

Key #2: Louisville’s defense has to step up against the run
For most of the season, Head Coach Charlie Strong had his boys from the ‘Ville playing great ball on the defensive side of things. Down the stretch though, the team slipped just a bit. The Syracuse Orange ran for 278 yards against this unit, and the Connecticut Huskies picked up 149 yards on the ground as well. The team rebounded against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and held a team that really can move the rock on the ground to just 54 yards, and that’s a large chunk of the reason why Louisville was even able to make it to the BCS this year. Take out that game against Syracuse though, and what’s left is a unit that allowed right around 140 yards per game rushing this year. If the Cardinals can hold the Gators to that type of a number, the blue and orange are going to have an awfully tough time figuring out how to cover the spread in this one, and potentially win the game outright as well. If Driskel is forced to put the ball in the air, the Gators are going to be in some trouble.

BetGuardian

Key #3: The Cards cannot get beaten by Florida’s special teams
We have seen the Gators do too much work on special teams over the course of the last few months to know that it could be problematic again in this one. The team has tried fake punts, fake field goals, gimmick plays, has blocked punts, blocked kicks, returned kicks and punts for scores… You name it on special teams, Head Coach Will Muschamp has dialed it up. Most of it has worked, but not all of it has. If not for the blocked punt returned for a touchdown against the Louisiana Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether the Gators would have been playing here or in the Outback Bowl (or worse). Here’s the other facet to Florida’s game that we haven’t discussed yet: The kicking game. K Caleb Sturgis has a huge leg and can boot it from 55 yards if given the chance. He was one of the better kickers in America this year, while P Kyle Christy averaged a whopping 46.1 yards per punt attempt. Special teams are where Florida really has killed a ton of foes this year, and Louisville has to avoid being the next team in a long line of clubs that succumbed to the UF special teams unit to have a chance at the upset.

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Posted in College Football - Last Updated on Tuesday, January 1st, 2013 @ 1:00 am (EST)
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