According to the early betting lines released by Golden Nugget on Friday, the Vols could be in store for some good, old fashioned beat downs in a handful of games this season.
Golden Nugget believes the Vols aren’t just underdogs in three of their four biggest games of 2017, but they have them listed as significant underdogs as well. They only have opening lines for four of Tennessee’s 12 regulars season games for this upcoming season, and the Vols are a combined 41.5-point underdog in three of them.
Tennessee is a 9.5-point underdog on the road against Florida, a 7.5-point underdog at home against LSU, and a whopping 24.5-point underdog on the road against Alabama. Golden Nugget does have the Vols listed as a one-point favorite over Georgia at home, which essentially means they believe that match-up to be a toss-up game.
The last time the Vols went on the road to Florida, the Gators won by just one point, 28-27 in 2015. Tennessee’s previous trip the Swamp in 2013 saw the Vols fall by 14 points, 31-17. Tennessee lost by 31 points to LSU the last time the two teams played in Neyland Stadium in 2011, and the Vols lost by just five points the last time they visited Alabama in 2015. Their previous visit to Tuscaloosa saw them lose to the Tide by 35 points in 2013.
No other lines are listed, but it’s safe to assume these will be the only three games the Vols will be underdogs in for the 2017 season. Tennessee should be favored against Georgia Tech to start the season, and the Georgia game should consistently be a toss-up for both teams. Every other non-conference and SEC game outside of Florida, Alabama, and LSU should see Tennessee as the favorite.
The last time the Vols lost to Florida, Alabama, and another SEC West opponent by more than a touchdown in each game was 2013 when Tennessee lost by 14 to Florida, by 35 to Alabama, and by 32 to Auburn. The Vols went 5-7 that season, but they were also considered underdogs in more than just those three games that season as well.
Tennessee did lose to Florida, Alabama, and a West opponent in 2007 and managed to still win the SEC East that year, however. The Vols were blown out by Florida and Alabama by a combined 63 points and lost to LSU by a touchdown. But those were Tennessee’s only losses, and they won the East via a tiebreaker over Georgia.
The Vols may be early heavy underdogs in three key games for 2017, but even if they live up to that and lose those games, their season is far from over. The 2007 Vols proved just that.