It took a couple of garbage-time touchdowns, but Tennessee covered the spread last week for the first time since Oct. 3.
The Vols hit the backdoor cover as 18-point underdogs against Florida when J.T. Shrout connected with Velus Jones Jr. on a 22-yard touchdown with 0:27 left in the game. They will be looking to cover the number as 16-point favorites when they travel to Vanderbilt on Saturday afternoon.
“We opened Tennessee at -16 with the total at 50,” Westgate SuperBook risk manager Edgar Federico said. “The moneyline is -750 with +525 on the other side.”
Another sportsbook in Las Vegas, Circa Sports, opened Tennessee as a 14-point favorite on Sunday. The early betting action moved the line two points, which is when most other books released lines.
Not surprisingly, there has been limited interest in this game from a betting perspective. In fact, the SuperBook had yet to take a wager on the side, total or moneyline as of Thursday afternoon.
“We have no bets on the Tennessee game. Zero,” Federico said. “There is no action on the game…I guess it’s such a good line that everyone is scared.”
Vanderbilt fired head coach Derek Mason and named Todd Fitch the interim head coach. The Commodores were embarrassed in a 41-0 final against Missouri their last time out, despite only being 14-point underdogs.
“It’s interesting because I felt like there might be some Tennessee action based on Vanderbilt’s situation with players opting out and the coach getting fired,” Federico said. “This is for in-state bragging rights.”
The loss to Missouri snapped a three-game winning streak against-the-spread for Vanderbilt, as they had covered against Mississippi State, Kentucky and Florida as 17-plus point underdogs. They have also been blown out by Ole Miss, South Carolina and LSU this season, failing to cover in any of those losses.
Vanderbilt has covered the spread in its last four games against Tennessee, winning three of those contests outright. The Vols picked up a 28-10 win as 23.5-point favorites last season.
With both teams really struggling on offense, the games have been low-scoring on both sides. Tennessee has gone ‘under’ the betting total in each of its last five games, while Vanderbilt has gone ‘under’ in 12 of its last 17 contests. The total has gone ‘under’ in 10 of the last 14 meetings between these in-state foes.