Florida vs Tennessee Odds, Prediction & Picks | Saturday SEC Betting Guide

Florida vs Tennessee Odds, Prediction & Picks | Saturday SEC Betting Guide article feature image

James Gilbert/Getty Images. Pictured: Florida running back Trevor Etienne (7).

Florida vs Tennessee Odds

Saturday, Sept. 16
7 p.m. ET
Florida Odds
-110o / -110u
Tennessee Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAF odds here.

Dating back to 1916, Florida leads Tennessee, 31-21, in a rivalry dubbed the Third Saturday in September.

The Volunteers haven't won in Gainesville since 2003 but scored a victory in Knoxville last year after surviving a fourth-quarter push by Anthony Richardson that resulted in a cover for the Gators.

Florida head coach Billy Napier was pleased with his team's Week 2 result — a thrashing of McNeese after a season-opening loss to Utah in Salt Lake City.

Florida entered the season with one of the toughest schedules in the nation and a win projection hovering below the six wins needed for a bowl berth. However, a victory over Tennessee might be the deciding win that puts Florida in the postseason.

Josh Heupel is coaching his third season at Tennessee after winning SEC Coach of the Year in 2022.

The Volunteers opened with a bang in a 36-point victory over Virginia, following up with a slow start against Austin Peay. Tennessee had one of the lowest numbers from an experience perspective entering the season, and now Heupel will look to correct the errors his team made in a flat effort against the Governors.

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Florida Gators

Florida hammered an FCS school in a bounce-back win after taking a loss at Utah to open the season.

Quarterback Graham Mertz played near-perfect ball against McNeese, going 14-of-17 with a touchdown.

The offensive line continued to be a bruising unit and now ranks fifth in Line Yards and 21st in Stuff Rate for the season. The Gators logged an astronomical 80% Success Rate in 51 rushing attempts against the Cowboys, having just four runs stuffed the entire day.

Montrell Johnson Jr. and Trevor Etienne have been the workhorses in the backfield, each averaging over six yards per rushing attempt while commanding five targets apiece.


— wow that was crazy (@CowardlyDoggo) September 4, 2022

The defense has been a mixed bag under coordinator Austin Armstrong, failing to generate a pass rush but ranking top-10 against the run.

The Gators are highly improved in fundamentals with ranks of 19th in tackling and seventh in third-down defense.

More importantly, Utah and McNeese State were unable to generate explosive plays, as Utah logged just a single 20-yard pass and a 20-yard run in the opening game.

Weakside linebacker Shemar James leads the team in tackles and assists while also pulling one of the highest coverage grades of any linebacker in FBS.

Tennessee Volunteers

The biggest question in the offseason surrounded the accuracy of Tennessee quarterback Joe Milton III. The sixth-year senior failed to log a single big-time throw in 33 passing attempts against Austin Peay.

The targets for the Volunteers did nothing to help, dropping four passes and providing an average depth of target of 5.2 yards. Milton has declining numbers in adjusted passing completion when throwing over 10 yards, currently at 46% compared to an average of 59% the previous two seasons.

No player with more than three targets has recorded a yards-per-route-run mark over 1.7, meaning the Vols' explosiveness from 2022 is absent.

I could watch this throw by Joe Milton a hundred times pic.twitter.com/lx5vf5tZkt

— Joey Rizzi (@Joeyrizzi7) September 4, 2023

Tennessee ranks 97th in Quality Drives, signaling that Milton hasn't been able to generate consistency for the offense.

The Vols' vanilla performance against Austin Peay included just three passes over 20 yards and a single methodical drive, which are areas to watch against Florida.

Heupel's team has better numbers on the defensive side of the ball in two games with a rank of 111th in strength of schedule.

Neither Austin Peay nor Virginia created explosives or generated enough success to move the chains. The Tennessee defense ranks top-35 in Defensive Quality Drives and Finishing Drives — both indicators that the defense is on the rise in coordinator Tim Banks' third season.

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Florida vs Tennessee

Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Tennessee and Florida match up statistically:

Tennessee Offense vs. Florida Defense
Rush Success69
Line Yards47
Pass Success6939
Finishing Drives3483
Quality Drives9737
Florida Offense vs. Tennessee Defense
Rush Success416
Line Yards551
Pass Success5316
Finishing Drives4024
Quality Drives8933
Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling4419
PFF Coverage1338
Special Teams SP+6884
Middle 8989
Seconds per Play19.1 (5)29.4 (105)
Rush Rate56.0% (35)51.8% (85)

Florida vs Tennessee

Betting Pick & Prediction

Tennessee's Week 2 victory over Austin Peay certainly came with question marks. Heupel was adamant in his weekly press conference that penalties, red-zone play and dropped balls all played a part in the score.

The Tennessee offense has been a shell of its previous version, as Milton has completed only two passes beyond 20 yards. Through two games, the Volunteers have posted five drops, nine contested targets and just two contested catches.

Tennessee biggest strength on the offensive side of the ball is its ground game, led by Jaylen Wright and his 5.44 yards after contact average. The running backs could be complemented with the return of center Cooper Mays.

Both Wright and Jabari Small are explosive options out of the backfield, but the spread wide formation has not produced big gains through the air. Tennessee enters Week 3 ranked 69th in Passing Success Rate and 118th in pass explosives.

Heupel indicated that Florida's offensive line is an area of concern. The Gators own a top-25 strength of schedule thanks to the Utah game, so their top-10 rankings in Line Yards and Rushing Success Rate are legitimate.

There may be reason to believe Mertz could have success throwing the ball, as Florida ranks 33rd in catchable ball rate.

Action Network projects this game at a field goal in favor of Tennessee.

The Volunteers have yet to show the stretch and deep passing attack that vaulted the team into national relevance last season. If the penalties, drops and inefficiencies displayed against Austin Peay continue, the Gators will make it 10 straight in Gainesville.

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