The Tennessee Volunteers had a dismal season in 2020, finishing just 3-7 in their all-SEC schedule. That record was only good enough to place them above 2-8 South Carolina and 0-9 Vanderbilt in the SEC East. Volunteers fans who can’t wait to get the taste of last year’s season out of their mouth won’t have to wait much longer. And, at worst, if the Volunteers can’t improve on last year’s mark, you’ll be able to bet on the Vols (or against them) every step of the way. Here is a quick overview of how the Vols are expected to fare this season, some key season matchups that you can bet on right now, and some futures props to keep things interesting all season long.
2021 Season Outlook: Offense
The Vols offense was one of the worst in the SEC, if not all Power 5 conferences. They averaged only 346 yards per game, which was good enough for just 11th overall in the SEC. They were extremely inefficient on 3rd downs as well, leading to very long afternoons for the Vols defense and demoralizing sequences in which the offense was unable to answer opposing scores with anything more than a 3 and out. Offenses that put up only 22 points per game may have been serviceable 20 years ago, but in today’s college football, those numbers just aren’t going to cut it.
There is some room for optimism in 2021. If Vols fans feel like they’ve heard that one before, only to be disappointed, we don’t blame them. Here it goes anyway: this year could be different. The main thing to watch this year will be the change in the Vols offensive style. In an effort to electrify the offense, Head Coach Josh Heupel wants to push the pace and get the ball down the field to attack defenses vertically. We’ve seen this type of offense work all across college football, but we’ve also seen it fail spectacularly. Without the right personnel, uptempo offenses tend to turn the ball over quickly and fail to control the clock.
The Vols may have the talent to run this type of offense, but they lost several players to the transfer portal, including multiple QBs and RBs who saw significant playing time last year. They are, however, anchored by solid offensive linemen which could help protect whoever ends up under center in 2021.
2021 Season Outlook: Defense
Sometimes, not even a great defense can overcome a struggling offense. This was the case for the Vols in 2020, as a talented group was constantly playing from behind, defending short fields, and doing so on little rest after the offense was unable to control the tempo of the game.
Much like the offensive unit, the defense was gutted by the transfer portal. They lost their 1st and 3rd leading tacklers to Alabama and Michigan State. The Vols also hope that their 2021 unit can create some turnovers and short fields for the offense. Throughout the entire 2020 campaign, the defense managed only 5 interceptions. If they can’t create some havoc upfront or force opposing offenses off the field, it looks to be more of the same results in 2021 for the Vols.
Key 2021 Matchups
Head on over to the FanDuel Tennessee or Draftkings app to bet these games right now! The line you see when you place your bet is the one you’ll keep regardless of what happens between then and gameday.
- September 2, 2021 – Volunteers -33 (-110) vs Bowling Green +33 (-110)
- September 25, 2021 – Florida Gators -15 (-110) & ML -650 vs Tennessee Volunteeers +15 (-110) & ML: +460
2021 Season Futures
- To win the SEC East +1800
- To win the SEC Title Game +6000
- To win the National Championship +15000
- Regular Season Win Total Under 6.5 (-140) / Over 6.5 (+120)
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