Georgia favored by historically high number over Florida in annual rivalry

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Georgia head coach Kirby Smart has built the No. 1 defense in the nation through seven games in 2021, and his Bulldogs are a big favorite over Florida in this year's annual rivalry game. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Most expected No. 1-ranked Georgia to be favored over Florida this season, but the two-touchdown spread per VegasInsider.com (14.5) is the second-largest in the series history, per UGA sports historian Patrick Garbin.

The Bulldogs were favored by 21 in 1971.

The Bulldogs (7-0, 5-0 SEC) face the Gators (4-3, 2-3) at 3:30 p.m. next Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla., at TIAA Bank Field.

Georgia opened as a 2.5-point favorite last year, but Bulldogs’ quarterback Stetson Bennett was injured in the first quarter while delivering a touchdown pass that gave Georgia a 14-0 lead, and Florida came back to win 44-28.

Both teams are expected to play two quarterbacks in this season’s matchup.

The situations, however, are very different from one another.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart said last week former starter and preseason Heisman Trophy candidate JT Daniels is throwing pain-free, which would indicate he’ll be cleared to return to the lineup after missing the past three games with a strained lat muscle.

Smart, however, said last week he planned to continue to use Bennett under center after the former walk-on performed admirably in Daniels’ absence.

RELATED: Kirby Smart says gameplan could decide which Georgia QB under center

The Gators, meanwhile, played Emory Jones and Anthony Richardson in their 49-42 loss at LSU on Oct. 16. Each of those dual-threat quarterbacks threw two interceptions in the shocking defeat.

RELATED: Dan Mullen plans on two-quarterback plan, explains why

The last time the Gators were a double-digit underdog against Georgia was in 2017, before current coach Dan Mullen was hired to replace former Florida coach Jim McElwain. Georgia won that game, 42-7, en route to its most recent SEC Championship.

The Gators won as double-digit underdogs in 2014, when current Georgia special teams coach Will Muschamp was the Florida head coach, pulling off a 38-20 upset over a Bulldogs’ team then coached by Mark Richt.

Different oddsmakers lines can vary, but this season’s game represents only the third time of this millennium that Georgia has been a two-TD favorite, per OddsShark.com.

Here’s a look at the most previous lines for the Georgia-Florida games in past seasons, per Covers.com.

2020 Georgia-Florida

Georgia - 2.5

Result: Florida 44, Georgia 28

2019 Georgia-Florida

Georgia -6.5

Result: Georgia 24, Florida 17

2018 Georgia-Florida

Georgia -7

Georgia 36, Florida 17

2017 Georgia-Florida

Georgia -12.5

Georgia 42, Florida 7

2016 Georgia-Florida

Florida -7

Florida 24, Georgia 10

2015 Georgia-Florida

Florida -1.5

Florida 27, Georgia 3

2014 Georgia-Florida

Georgia -11.5

Florida 38, Georgia 20

2013 Georgia-Florida

Georgia -3.5

Georgia 23, Florida 20

2012 Georgia-Florida

Florida -6

Georgia 17, Florida 9

2011 Georgia-Florida

Georgia -3.5

Georgia 24, Florida 20

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