No. 23 Tennessee Volunteers (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS) vs. No. 24 Florida Gators (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS)
College Football Week 3
Date/Time: Saturday September 16th, 2017. 3:30PM (EST)
Where: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium Gainesville, F.L.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: TENN +5.5/FLA -5.5
Over/Under Total: TBA
The 24th ranked Florida Gators will attempt to shake off their disappointing opening loss to Michigan as they return to action this Saturday against the no. 23 Tennessee Volunteers in an SEC East showdown. I believe most of the nation would agree that the Gators looked pretty bad in their opening 33-17 loss to Michigan. The quarterback situation between Feleipe Franks and Malik Zaire was mediocre at best while Floridas traditional strong rushing attack was held to just 11 yards on the ground in an embarrassing performance. Despite the disappointments in week 1, Florida is still one of the frontrunners in the SEC East as they look to make their 3rd straight SEC Championship appearance.
For the Gators to keep SEC Championship hopes alive, they have to bounce back this week against the Volunteers. Lets face the facts, a 0-2 start would be detrimental to not only the season but could be the final straw in the Jim McElwain era in Gainesville. Therefore, this game has some added pressure outside of being a typical rivalry setting against a division nemesis. Luckily for Gators fans, Tennessee did not look outstanding in their opener. Granted the Volunteers pulled out a victory over Georgia Tech 42-41 and then backed it up with a 42-7 win over Indiana State in a cake walk last week. However, the Volunteers were beaten in the Georgia Tech game and got a few fortunate breaks that kept them alive. Also, Tennessees struggles to stop the run, even an unorthodox triple option, raised red flags. The Volunteers defense showed fatigue and were on their heels as the Yellow Jackets rushed for 535 yards in a single outing.
The fatigue and lack of depth among the Tennessee defense was evident in the opener. I thought those observations were very concerning considering the amount of focus most SEC teams put towards running the football. Therefore, I want to see some improvement out of this Tennessee defense this week in Gainesville. Additionally, I also was not sold on the Tennessees offense. Quarterback Quinten Dormady has shown some accuracy issues despite putting together a really solid 2nd half performance against the Yellow Jackets. Still to the naked eye, he does not look like a poised quarterback and if that is true then it will be problematic against Floridas defense. I believe Tennessee Coach Butch Jones needs to ride running back John Kelly to get him involved in every way possible. Kelly is an excellent back and he caught 5 passes out of the backfield for 60 yards in last weeks win over Indiana State. I think Tennessee has to continue to put focus on getting Kelly the ball as he is clearly the Volunteers most dangerous playmaker.
If the ball stays in Kellys hands, Tennessee will have a better chance for a victory. If they get into a situation where they need Dormady to move the football, I dont think it will happen against Floridas defense. Despite the opening blunders, the Gators have a stout defense. They simply have to get help from the offense to get off the field. Quarterback Feleipe Franks is still listed as the starter but we know Malik Zaire will be close by. While the quarterback situation is likely to be a topic for most of the year, Florida has to get some production out of the running game to win this football game. Tailbacks Mark Johnson and Lamical Perine combined for 12 touches for 21 yards in the loss to Michigan which is simply unacceptable. The Gators have the size and talent to run the ball effectively. They simply have to play better.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I hate betting scenarios where I am not confident in either team. However, I think Florida bounces back in this game and finds enough offense to get the job done. I imagine scoring will be few and far between. The under will probably be the best play but I would also take a stab with the Gators -5.5! -Bet your pick for this game using your credit card at an online bookie where it WILL work for deposits and where you’ll receive a generous 100% signup bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $250! (Example: Deposit $250 and they’ll give you an extra $250 FREE!) Find this great offer at Bovada Sportsbook.