Tennessee @ Florida
Florida +5½ -107 over Tennessee


Posted at 10:30 AM EST. Odds subject to change.

Pinnacle +5½ -107 BET365 +5½-110 Sportsinteraction +5½ -110 888Sport +5½ -110 

Florida +5½ -107 over Tennessee

Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville

Streaming: ESPN

7:00 EST. Every media report heading into this clash suggests that the Florida Gators are ALL IN for this big SEC East battle in the swamp, and that's a good thing when you're getting this many points. Hype videos, player-only meetings, and a sense of importance that you only find in the SEC tradition - both Tennessee and Florida are billing this as a massive game for their seasons and legacies. Although one school certainly has more vengeful energy than the other.

Unbelievably, Florida has not lost to the Volunteers at home since 2003. They've also claimed 16 of the last 18 games in the series, but Tennessee bested a less-talented Florida team last year in Knoxville by a 5-point margin. Both programs lost majorly important starters to the NFL and beyond, including last year's Volunteer QB Hendon Hooker and Florida QB Anthony Richards, who are both suiting up in NFL uniforms now.

We're not going to get into recruiting or who has the more talented team - you can read program info elsewhere and most will tell you that the Volunteers are far more poised and positioned to succeed this season. That might be true, but we're talking about an isolated situation in South Florida with a group of young men that have not forgotten about last year's 8-game winning streak coming to a disappointing halt.

Florida's defense will benefit from a raucous home crowd and they'll need it against a Volunteer offense that likes to move at a lightning pace, although bettors often take for granted how difficult that can be in hostile environments.

What other betting articles won't discuss is how difficult it is for a team like Tennessee, who has no change in expectations from last season despite the star-talent that's left, to maintain a level of greatness in these tough spots. Florida coach Billy Napier and his staff know they're not going to the National Title game in 2023. Meanwhile, Tennessee has the same championship dreams of every top-15 program entering the season. Today's showdown might as well be the championship game for Florida.

The Gators named 11 captains heading into this battle, including steady hand transfer QB Graham Mertz, who local newspapers praise for his instant leadership ability, center Kingsley Eguakun, an important cog on their elite offensive front last season, and veteran defenders like linebacker Shemar James, PFF's highest rated linebacker in the SEC.

This game has a very dangerous feel for the Volunteers. Local reporters write about a "buzz" around Florida's campus all week, with pomp and circumstance via student gatherings and hype events at an all-time high in Gainesville. The Gators are approaching this game as if they're going to win it, while the Volunteers likely just want to survive with a win and get the hell out of dodge. With lots of newcomers in both programs and intangible elements at every corner that favors the home team, we anticipate an aggressive and determined dog tonight.


Our Pick

Florida +5½ -107 (Risking 2.14 units - To Win: 2.00)

Clemson +110 over Florida St
Cincinnati +14 -110 over Oklahoma
Oregon -21 -110 over Colorado
Appalachian St +125 over Wyoming
Ohio State -3 -110 over Notre Dame
Utah St +170 over James Madison
Nevada +17 -103 over Texas State