Vols Open As Very Early Underdogs to West Virginia

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    (Photo By Kyle Zedaker/Tennessee Athletics)

    The start of the 2018 football season is still over seven months away. But it’s never too early to speculate, and some early betting lines on the opening weekend of college football are out. And the Vols are already early underdogs.

    According to 5Dimes, an online betting service, West Virginia opens up as a 7.5-point favorite over the Vols. Neither team had a brilliant 2017 season, but the Mountaineers are expected to be dark horse contenders for the College Football Playoff thanks to the return of rising senior quarterback Will Grier and other talented players.

    West Virginia went just 7-6 in 2017 despite Grier throwing for 34 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, and 3,490 yards. He was, however, hurt for the Mountaineers’ final three games (including the bowl game), and West Virginia lost all three games. They also return David Sills V who led the team with 18 receiving touchdowns last season.

    In fact, the Mountaineers are tied for the 15th-best odds to win the national title this upcoming season according to the Las Vegas Super Book.

    Tennessee, meanwhile, is coming off the worst season in program history. For the first time ever, the Vols lost eight games in a season and went winless in SEC play. The Vols do return a number of talented players, but they’ll have another quarterback battle to go through and will be transitioning into a 3-4 scheme on defense.

    The Vols will take on West Virginia on September 1st in Charlotte, North Carolina to begin the 2018 season. Tennessee then faces ETSU and UTEP before hosting Florida.

    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.