New Miami Hurricanes head coach Manny Diaz has a daunting first test against the No. 7-ranked Florida Gators, and made a bold decision Monday to name redshirt freshman Jarren Williams as his starting quarterback 12 days before the season opener.
The Hurricanes are seven-point underdogs by BetAmerica, FanDuel and PointsBet, with all three sportsbooks offering a +210 moneyline on Miami (a $100 bet returns $210). BetAmerica and FanDuel list the over/under at 50 total points.
Miami will begin the season unranked, not receiving a single vote in the preseason AP Top 25 poll after going 7-6 in 2018 and seeing former coach Mark Richt surprisingly retire. Diaz, previously the defensive coordinator, took the reins after first accepting the Temple job.
FanDuel is not offering odds on the Hurricanes to win the ACC title, but Miami is +200 to win the Coastal Division, with an over/under season win total set at 8.5.
Diaz opened the quarterback battle over the offseason, with returnee N’Kosi Perry and Ohio State Buckeyes transfer Tate Martell battling with Williams through Sunday’s scrimmage.
“All three guys showed tremendous improvement and development, which is a credit to their hard work and the work of Dan Enos and his offensive staff,” Diaz said. “We believe we can win with all three guys, however, we feel like Jarren has the greatest upside due to his passing ability, his instincts and his determination.”
Williams played in one game last season, completing one pass for 17 yards and running for a 1-yard touchdown against Savannah State on Sept. 8. He was a consensus four-star recruit in the class of 2018 out of Lawrenceville, Ga.
The Hurricanes will play the Gators on Aug. 24 in Orlando. Florida enters the season No. 7 while coming off a 10-3 campaign in 2018.
FanDuel is offering the Gators at +310 to win the SEC East. They are +4000 to win the national title, and +920 to reach the CFP playoffs. Their over/under win total is set at 9.0.