Florida Opens as Nearly Touchdown Favorite Over Vols

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    Photo By Austin Perryman/Tennessee Athletics

    Despite Tennessee and Florida having identical records and this year’s match-up being played in Knoxville, the Gators have opened up as nearly a touchdown favorite according to the opening betting lines.

    According to BetOnline.ag, the Gators have opened up as a six-point favorite over the Vols for their game on Saturday, September 22nd. The Vols are used to being underdogs in their annual rivalry with Florida, but the Gators being almost a touchdown favorite on the road when neither team has a quality win thus far this season is a bit surprising.

    The Vols (2-1) lost to West Virginia to start the season in blowout fashion, falling 40-14. They then routed ETSU 59-3 and shut out UTEP on Saturday, 24-0. Florida (2-1) started off the season with a 53-6 victory over Charleston Southern before losing 27-16 to Kentucky. That loss marked the Gators’ first loss to the Wildcats in 31 years. Florida followed up that loss with a 48-10 win over Colorado State on Saturday.

    Florida hasn’t beaten Tennessee by more than six points since they defeated the Vols in Gainesville 31-17 back in 2013. The last time the Gators beat the Vols by more than six points in Knoxville was in 2012 when they won 37-20.

    Last year, the Gators used a last-second touchdown pass to defeat Tennessee 26-20. In 2016, the last time the two teams played in Neyland Stadium, the Vols handed Florida a 38-28 defeat, marking the first time in 11 years that Tennessee beat the Gators. That 2016 meeting is the only game in the annual rivalry that has been decided by more than one score over the last four match-ups between the two teams. Florida won by one point in both the 2015 and 2014 games.

    Tennessee and Florida will officially kick off this year’s match-up at 7:00 PM Eastern in Knoxville. The game will be televised on ESPN.

    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.