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Gators Have Struggled To Cover As Home Favorites

Florida (2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS) has won 15 of its last 16 games against Tennessee (2-1, 1-2) and eight straight meetings in Gainesville. Oddsmakers expect the Gators to improve on those stats this weekend, opening Florida as 16.5-point chalk.

Tennessee Volunteers vs Florida Gators
  • Date/Time: September 25, 7 p.m. ET
  • Stadium: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
  • TV Coverage: ESPN
  • Opening Odds: Florida -16.5 | O/U 60.5 (Line History)
  • Tennessee vs Florida Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

Coming off their impressive effort against Alabama, the Gators had been bet up to 20-point favorites by Sunday night. Florida hasn’t been favored by more than 18 points against Tennessee since 2009.

Tennessee News & Notes

The Volunteers hope to have quarterback Joe Milton III back in the lineup after the redshirt junior missed last week’s 56-0 win over Tennessee Tech with a leg injury. If they don’t, however, Hendon Hooker doesn’t look like a bad Plan B. The senior threw for 199 yards and three touchdowns against the Golden Eagles, also finishing as the team’s top rusher with 64 yards on the ground.

Tennessee has yet to give up a point in the first quarter this season, outscoring opponents 38-0 in the opening 15 minutes, and another strong start would be critical for a squad that hasn’t fared very well lately against quality opposition. Tennessee has covered just one of its last 10 games against teams with winning SU records, and the Vols are 1-5 ATS in their last six as an underdog.

Florida News & Notes

The Gators could be vulnerable for an emotional letdown after giving Alabama all it could handle as two-touchdown home underdogs, only to fall short on a failed two-point conversion with three minutes left. Florida has struggled recently in the home favorite role, covering just two of its last nine when laying points at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Of course, the Gators could also draw a lot of confidence from last week’s performance, especially their defense. After getting gashed for 21 points in the opening quarter, Florida held Alabama’s powerful attack to just 10 points the rest of the way and held Chase Young to 233 passing yards. The Florida ground game also established itself as a legitimate force, generating 258 rushing yards against the Tide.

Florida’s offense could be even more dynamic this week if quarterback Anthony Richardson returns to the lineup after sitting out last week with a strained right hamstring. The redshirt freshman has generated more than 21 yards per play in a dual quarterback system with starter Emory Jones, who was just 17 of 27 for 181 yards and an interception against the Tide.

Staff Betting Pick: Tennessee +20

Florida laid it all on the line last week against Alabama and could be emotionally flat early, making this three-touchdown spread look like a mountain.

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Shark Bites
  • Tennessee is 1-9 ATS in its last 10 vs above-.500 teams.
  • Florida is 8-3-2 ATS in its last 13 home games.
  • Florida is 15-1 SU in its last 16 vs Tennessee (avg margin: 12.8).