This Saturday the Tennessee Volunteers (2-1) will host the Florida Gators (2-1). Kickoff for this SEC East rivalry is set for 7:00 EST at Neyland Stadium and will be televised on ESPN.
Oddsmakers opened this one at Florida -5.5. However, that number has been dropping and right now the Gators are a 4.5-point road favorite. The total for this matchup is currently at 48 points. Click here for a full look at the Week 4 betting odds and for more links to our game previews.
Florida vs Tennessee Vegas Odds & Betting Preview
The Gators bounced back in a big way from their shocking loss at home to Kentucky in Week 2 with a 48-10 blowout win at home over Colorado State, easily covering as a 21.5-point favorite. Florida jumped out to a 27-3 lead at the half, but were only up 27-10 going into the 4th quarter before scoring 21 unanswered to end the game.
The Volunteers also come in off a win, but failed to cover the number for the second time in their first three games. Tennessee defeated UTEP 24-0, but went off as a 33.5-point favorite. While the game never really felt in doubt given how bad the Miners’ offense was playing, the Vols only had a 17-0 lead going into the 4th quarter.
While these two programs have been down of late, the games have been highly competitive the past 4 years. All 4 have been decided by 10-points or less, with 3 of the 4 decided by fewer than a touchdown. Last year the Gators won 26-20 as a 6.5-point home favorite and marked the 3rd straight year in which the home team has come out on top.
Free College Football Pick & Prediction: Florida -4.5
Typically when I see a series that’s been closely contested, I would lean towards taking the points with the home team, but I just don’t trust trust this Tennessee team at all right now. I would have to lean towards laying the points with Florida.
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I know the Gators couldn’t have looked much worse in that loss to Kentucky at home and the offense wasn’t all that great in the blowout win over Colorado State, but I still think there’s a massive gap in talent between these two programs. Keep in mind Florida had 19 returning starters back from last year and came in as one of the most experienced teams in the country (No. 4). Tennessee on the other hand only brought back 12 starters from a team that went just 4-8 and were one of the least experienced teams (No. 84).
Both schools did undergo coaching changes, but no one really knows how good a coach Tennessee’s Jeremy Pruitt will turn out to be. As for Florida head coach Dan Mullen, we know he’s one of the best in the game. I expect this Gators team to only keep improving as the season progresses and it won’t be long before Mullen has them back in contention in the SEC East.
As bad as Florida’s offense has been, I think they can have some success here against this Tennessee defense. Don’t be fooled by the Vols allowing just 3 points in their last two games. They came against East Tennessee State and UTEP (arguably worst FBS team in the country). This is still the same defense that gave up nearly 550 total yards to West Virginia in the season opener.
As for the Gators offensive struggles, Kentucky is a much better defensive team than a lot of people realize. They brought 8 starters from last year’s unit and had 3 guys who could be playing on Sunday stick around instead of declaring for the draft. I know Colorado State’s defense was atrocious early on, but they seemed to figure something out in the 2nd half against Arkansas, as they turned a 27-9 deficit into a 34-27 win.
I would be much more concerned about a Tennessee offense that only managed to score 24 points against UTEP. The Miners gave up 52 the previous week at UNLV and 20 in their opener to Northern Arizona.
It’s also worth noting that the Volunteers are just 2-8 ATS in their last 10 home games, 5-15-1 in their last 21 off a win by more than 20 points and 1-6 ATS in their last 7 conference games. Give me Florida -4.5.