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Florida vs. Tennessee

Betting Line: Gators -17

9/18/10

Last year's game between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Florida Gators was met with much speculation. Former Vols HC Lane Kiffin spouted off about Florida and the media along with bettors expected Urban Meyer's Tim Tebow led team to delivering a crushing blow to their rival. That never happened. The Gators won 23-13 as an overwhelming 30 point favorite. That was due in large part to Meyer playing conservatively on offense. This year the Gators will travel to Tennessee without Tebow. Florida opened as a 15 point favorite and was quickly bet up to -17. There are now a mix of 17's and 16.'s on the board. You can monitor the movement in real time using our Free Live Odds Feed.

The Vols were 7-6 ATS in 2009 which just so happened to be their straight up record. They finished 2-1 ATS as an underdog. The Gators were 2-2 ATS last year when playing on the road. Running the ball has been a weakness when playing the Gators. Last year they picked up 117 yards on the ground, but will much more in order to win or even cover.

HC Derek Dooley's team was crushed 48-13 at home by the Oregon Ducks last week. The Volunteers didn't have the personnel to keep up with the Ducks. Truth be told, they don't have the players to run with the Gators. The one thing that they do have is pride. This is a rivalry game and the players know that. They are going to try and defend their turf. This is especially true after they failed to do so last week.

Tennessee's offense has a strong running game. Tauren Poole carried the ball 23 times for 162 yards and a TD last week against the Ducks. The other backs were less than stellar. David Oku was ineffective. The Vols need production from both to be successful. Junior QB Matt Simms was 15/29 for 151 yards and an INT. The JC transfer had no big game experience and will certainly benefit from playing Oregon. With that said, his job gets even tougher this week. The Florida secondary will create problems for even the most seasoned passer. Relying on a ground attack will be central towards a Vols victory.

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The Florida defense is among the most formidable in the NCAA. The secondary is among the best in the nation thanks to SS Ahmad Black. The senior was second on the team in tackles last year with 70. The defensive line is full of top recruits and young players, but most still have to prove their worth. We have no reason to believe that this line won't be among the best with a little seasoning. The LBs are strong. The best of bunch is probably AJ Jones who has 29 career starts.

The best part of the Gators offense is not QB John Brantley, but RB Jeff Demps. The junior is the fastest player in the NCAA. The guy is grease lightning and a breakaway threat every time he touches the ball. Some analysts see him as a dark horse Heisman candidate. Brantley is still learning, but he has all the tools to be a top NCAA QB. The junior has one of the best offensive lines in the country protecting him. C Marcus Pouncey is a top prospect, but started the year off poorly with bad snaps. It seems he now has that under control.

We thought the Vols would hang with Oregon last week. We were wrong. We thought the Gators would bounce back after a sluggish first game in week one. We were partially correct on that one. The Florida Gators were tied with South Florida at half time last week. They got off to a slow start, but ending up crushing their rival 38-14. The outcome of this game is likely to be the same. The Vols will come out pumped up and ready to play big football, but will peter out in the second half. Look for Urban Meyer and company to take out some early season frustration on Tennessee.

The number on this one is too high for us to get involved with laying points here. We're also not confident enough in what the Vols bring to the table. We're going to make a weak call on the Vols here +17 but we're going to need to see a little more from both squads before we get involved. Tennessee +17
 

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