The Tennessee Volunteers – National Champions? You can place a bet on that. Butch Jones has the perception of the Vol football program on the rise and oddsmakers have noticed.
And one of our followers even spotted the Vols with 45/1 odds.
— Nolan Carpenter (@NRCarpenter) May 30, 2015
When splitting the difference and looking at Bovada’s odds, the Vols come in with the 21st best odds to win it all. The Vols have the second best championship odds among SEC East teams – behind only Georgia at 25/1. Tennessee also has the eighth best odds in the SEC – behind Alabama (7/1), Auburn (12/1), Georgia (25/1), LSU (25/1), Texas A&M (33/1), Arkansas (40/1) and Ole Miss (40/1).
Tennessee is just ahead of Florida (66/1) and well ahead of Missouri (100/1) and South Carolina (100/1). Vanderbilt and Kentucky weren’t given odds to win the championship by Bovada.
A look at Tennessee’s odds to win it all before the last few seasons provides some needed context.
Before last season, Bovada had Tennessee at 150/1. That put the Vols tied with Mississippi State for 10th in the SEC and had the Vols at 5th in the East. While odds aren’t used to predict league finishes in the traditional sense, the championship odds for the Vols last season proved to serve as fairly accurate predictors for Tennessee’s season.
The Vols ended the season ranked 4th in the East, tied for the ninth best record in conference play and with the 10th best overall record in the SEC.
In Butch Jones’ first season at the helm, Bovada had the Vols at 300/1 to win the championship – 12th in the SEC and 5th in the East.
Dooley’s last season, in which the Vols climbed into the top-25 headed into a big matchup, and meltdown, against Florida, saw the Vols open with with 100/1 odds to win it all. That put them once again at 5th in the SEC East and 10th in the conference.
Going back to the 2010 season, the Vols have never had better than the fourth best odds in the SEC East to win a championship.
The overriding perception nationally is that Vol football is clearly on its way back and is at its healthiest point in recent history. A second place finish in the SEC East would mark clear improvement for a program that hasn’t even been viewed as a contender for a division crown in what seems like ages.
Competing for the division must come before playing for a championship.
And Vol fans aren’t the only ones thinking that the men in orange are at least headed in that direction.