Saturday afternoon’s primetime matchup is a monstrous SEC battle between #20 Florida and #11 Tennessee.
With this game, you’re getting:
- An elite quarterback battle between Anthony Richardson and Hendon Hooker.
- Two teams that are projected to finish just behind Georgia in the SEC East.
- Two experienced rosters.
- Two young head coaches who are ready to get over the hump.
Which team has the edge? Can one cover a double-digit spread?
Let’s break it down. Read on for our Florida Gators vs Tennessee Volunteers odds, picks, and predictions.
Florida Gators vs Tennessee Volunteers
The look-ahead line for this game was just Tennessee -4.5. But then two things happened.
First, Florida lost a shocking game to Kentucky.
Second, Tennessee’s offense is even better than expected.
But is this an overreaction line? Is there now some value on Florida at the inflated number?
Florida Gators vs Tennessee Volunteers Prediction & PickWe’re going to get a shootout.
Let’s start with Tennessee. The Vols already ran at the fastest pace in the country last season and brought in Josh Heupel to fine-tune it. It’s nice that he has one of the best quarterbacks in the nation to run it.
Stat that blows my mind….
Since becoming the starter for @Vol_Football:
— Peter Burns (@PeterBurnsESPN) September 19, 2022
But Tennessee can also run the ball. Hooker ran for 800 yards himself last season while Jabari Small backed it up with another 800 yards. Tennessee was one of the most efficient offenses in the country last year on the ground and currently is rolling through Standard Downs (ninth in EPA/play, 11th in Success Rate).
The question is: Can Florida keep up? Especially when the Florida front seven is allowing 5.2 yards per carry and is 113th in Rush Success Rate allowed so far this season.
The Gators have their own dual-threat quarterback in Anthony Richardson, who is averaging almost six yards per carry this season. However, unlike Hooker, he’s struggled to throw the ball.
The Gators back him up with two elite running backs and an offensive line that ranks top-20 nationally in Line Yards. So, you could argue there is more around him than around Hooker.
In my opinion, this is too volatile a matchup to bet. I’d make this line closer to Florida +7 than +10 or worse, but there are too many things that can go wrong for the Florida offense – and the Gators need to be perfect to keep up.
I lean towards Florida and the over, but this game is likely a pass.
Leans: Florida +10.5 (-105 at DraftKings Sportsbook) | Over 62 (-110 at DraftKings Sportsbook)
Florida Gators vs Tennessee Volunteers Key Matchups
Key Matchup: Florida’s Front Seven vs Tennessee’s Offensive Line
Tennessee’s rushing attack has been supported by Hooker’s dual-threat ability and Jabari Small. So far this season, Tennessee ranks 84th in Offensive Line Yards, meaning this rather experienced group hasn’t been overwhelmingly impressive.
Florida has been horrendous in the front seven. But three of the top five tacklers return and they have a very experienced secondary. I would hope that Florida can limit open-field yards, but if Tennessee’s offensive line gets a push into the second level, it’s going to be a long day for Anthony Richardson and the offense as they try to keep up.