In head coach Josh Heupel’s first year at Tennessee, the Volunteers went 7-6 and finished third in the SEC East. Heupel brought his high-octane offense from UCF to Rocky Top, and the Vols were seventh in points per game and ninth in total offensive yards per game. Frankly, the offense had to be that potent as the defense let up 29.1 points per game (41st most) and 421.7 yards per game (33rd most).
While there’s certainly a positive buzz among Vols fans, how are oddsmakers looking at the team this year? Let’s check out the Tennessee Volunteers’ odds to win the SEC East in 2022.
Vols SEC East Odds
Here’s where the Volunteers stand among three of the top Tennessee sportsbooks.
|Sportsbook||Odds to win SEC East|
FanDuel offers the best odds if you want to place a wager on Tennessee to win the SEC East at +1400. A $50 wager would result in a potential payout of $700 on FanDuel compared to $550 on DraftKings and Caesars.
All three sportsbooks have Tennessee with the third-best odds and Georgia as the runaway favorites at odds between -550 and -500. Interestingly, Caesars and FanDuel have Kentucky with the second-best odds while DraftKings has Florida.
SEC East Odds at DraftKings:
- Georgia -550
- Florida +1000
- Tennessee +1100
- Kentucky +1200
- South Carolina +4000
- Missouri +8000
- Vanderbilt +400000
Vols Offensive Changes
Between the 2022 NFL Draft and the transfer portal, there are 16 former Volunteers on the offensive side of the ball who won’t be with the team this year. While that sounds like a hefty number, only Velus Jones Jr. and Cade Mays played significant roles. Tennessee will be returning key starters in Hendon Hooker, Jabari Small, Jaylen Wright, and Cedric Tillman.
The depth on the team takes a hit with losing a handful of four-star talents along with the injury to running back Len’Neth Whitehead, but Heupel and his staff did a solid job replacing what was lost. Notably, former five-star wide receiver Bru McCoy and four-star running back Lyn-J Dixon joined the program through the transfer portal.
Vols Defensive Changes
As noted, the offense wasn’t the problem for Tennessee last year. The Vols did land Andre Turrentine in the transfer portal — a former four-star defensive back prospect from Ohio State — which will hopefully soften the blow from losing Alontae Taylor to the NFL.
The portal also brought two three-star prospects to Rocky Top — safety Wesley Walker (Georgia Tech), and linebacker Jackson Hannah (Nebraska). The 2022 recruiting class also brought three four-star prospects on the defensive side of the ball.
The Volunteers’ 2021 schedule ended up as the 28th most difficult among D1 programs and their 2022 schedule doesn’t seem to provide an easier path. Looking at the 2021 records of their opponents, the Vols’ schedule ranks as the 24th most difficult for 2022.
Brutal SEC Stretch
The Vols’ SEC schedule kicks off Week 4 with a rivalry game against Florida. Following that, it’s a brutal stretch with matchups against LSU, Alabama, Kentucky, and Georgia in Week 9. There’s a reprieve in Week 7 with an intrastate game against UT-Martin, but the midseason stretch from Week 4-9 will no doubt be key in how the 2022 season plays out.
Another 7-5 regular season?
Looking at win totals for 2022, DraftKings and FanDuel have the line set at 7.5, although the over has been bet pretty heavy as it sits at -170. Tennessee ranks 25th in ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) and its projections have the Vols with 7.1 wins on the season.
Photo by Caleb Jones/Tennessee Athletics