Vols vs. Gators Odds & Pick 9/25/21
Tennessee Volunteers (2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS) vs. Florida Gators (2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS)
When: Saturday, September 25, 7 p.m.
Where: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, Fla.
Point Spread: TENN +19.5/FLA -19.5 (Intertops - Sign up, deposit $25 then enter bonus code ROOKIE200 and they’ll add an extra $50 to you account! That’s a 200% bonus!)
Total: O/U 63
There are two reasons that Tennessee football fans are so down about the state of their program as of late: Alabama and Florida. Tennessee measures itself against its two biggest rivals in the SEC every year, and lately, it hasn’t been much of a measurement at all. Over the past 16 years, the Volunteers have been a combined 2-30 against the Gators and the Crimson Tide. Tennessee hasn’t beaten Florida since 2016, and the Volunteers don’t have a win in the Swamp since 2003.
It might not get any better this time, as what has become the Fourth Saturday in September (it’s usually the Third) appears to heavily favor Florida after the Gators went punch for punch with top-ranked Alabama and darn near pulled off the upset. The Gators only fell short because a two-point conversion got stopped, leaving them confident that they can play with anyone in the nation.
But there’s a real question here about whether Florida might be too confident. It’s never easy to play against a lesser team after you’ve faced a top squad, even a rival like Tennessee. With the Volunteers appearing to be on their way to bumbling through another lost season in Knoxville after a loss to Pittsburgh, can Florida stay focused enough to avoid the dreaded letdown?
How the Public is Betting the Tennessee/Florida Game
The public expects a fair amount of points here, as the total has bumped from 60.5 to 63. The tickets are mostly split, with 54 percent on the Gators, but the line is moving in Tennessee’s favor. The spread has ticked down half a point from an opening line of 20.
Offensive lineman Cooper Mays (ankle), quarterback Joe Milton (lower body), running back Jabari Small (undisclosed), and defensive lineman Latrell Bumphus (knee) are questionable.
Offensive lineman Jean Delance (leg) and quarterback Anthony Richardson (hamstring) are questionable. Linebacker Ventrell Miller (bicep) and cornerback Jaydon Hill (knee) are out for the season.
When Tennessee Has the Ball
Hendon Hooker has done the job well so far since taking over for Joe Milton, but let’s see if he can get things done against an SEC defense. So far, he’s had no problems picking apart Pitt and Tennessee Tech, but Florida presents a much more difficult challenge for an offense that really prefers to nickel and dime its way down the field, as opposed to going for the shot play.
Tennessee has shown a willingness to commit to the ground game, as backs Tiyon Evans, Jabari Small, and Jaylen Wright have a combined 85 carries between them in three games. With Small a question mark, Tennessee might opt to give Evans and Wright a larger workload or give Marcus Pierce some extra reps. But the Vols will need someone other than Velus Jones to step up in the passing game, as Tennessee is likely going to have to throw a fair amount to hang with Florida.
When Florida Has the Ball
When Florida has the ability to commit to the ground game, it’s very dangerous on the attack. The problem last week was that the Gators fell behind 21-3 in 15 minutes against Alabama and had no choice but to take whatever they could get in their comeback against the Tide. It worked out well for them because Emory Jones is an excellent running quarterback, and Malik Davis made the most of the carries he did get, but Florida probably wins the game if it had kept the deficit manageable and been able to give Davis 20 carries instead of 10.
That shouldn’t be a problem against Tennessee. Yes, the Volunteers stopped Pittsburgh cold, but Pitt is a lousy running team, which is one reason why the Panthers got beat by Western Michigan. Florida can move the ball well on the ground and was able to top 200 yards against Alabama, so going through Tennessee’s questionable linebacking crew shouldn’t be too problematic for the Gators’ attack. As long as Florida can stay in control of the game, the Gators should be able to do exactly what they want on offense.
The struggles are well documented for Tennessee. The Volunteers have gone just 2-6 ATS in their past eight games in SEC play, and they’re just 1-5 ATS as an underdog. There’s also been a noticeable lack of points from the Volunteers in SEC play, as six of their past seven games have gone under the total.
Florida has also been a bad bet on the spread, as the Gators are a mere 2-6-1 ATS in their past nine. Unlike Tennessee, which fails to meet even modest expectations, Florida’s issues are because the Gators end up giving so many points that they just can’t cover the number. The Gators are 0-5-1 ATS in their past six games when favored, in large part because the defense hasn’t done their job. The over is 5-1 in Florida’s past six overall, but it hasn’t cashed in Tennessee’s past two visits to Gainesville, as both resulted in 46 points or less.
The hope is that an early shower will end up cooling things down in Gainesville in time for kickoff, as the temperature is expected to fall into the low 70s by the time things get started. Wind won’t be much of a factor, as it’ll blow at five miles per hour to the Southeast.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
Florida is likely to be in a letdown spot here, and while I don’t think the Gators will lose the game, it feels like it will be a 10-pointer or possibly a two-touchdown win for Florida not the 20-point spread we’ve got. I don’t trust Tennessee at all, but I think the Vols can keep this reasonable. Give me Tennessee here. Want more bonus cash? Deposit anywhere from $100 to $500 and they’ll match you dollar for dollar with a 100% real cash bonus at GTBets Sportsbook!