College Football Betting Preview: Tennessee Volunteers and Florida Gators Renew Rivalry in Gainesville

Tennessee Volunteers at Florida Gators
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, Florida
Saturday, September 17, 2011, 3:30 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Opening Line: Florida -8 1/2 (all odds courtesy of bookmaker)
Current Line: Florida -9 1/2
Opening Total: 49 1/2
Current Total: 51
Opening Money Line: Florida -350 / Tennessee +290
Current Money Line: Florida -350 / Tennessee +290

Florida Gators
Florida and Tennessee renew their SEC rivalry for the 41st time. Florida is a 9 1/2 point home favorite, and has won 6 straight in the series.

SEC rivals Tennessee and Florida meet for the 41st time Saturday. Florida leads the series 21-19, and has won 6 straight against the Volunteers, including a 31-17 win last year in Knoxville. Both teams are 2-0 this season with easy wins. Tennessee, coached by Derek Dooley, has wins over Montana 42-16 and Cincinnati 45-23. Florida under first year head coach Will Muschamp has wins over  Florida Atlantic 41-3 and UAB 39-0.

Cincinnati and Tennessee were tied at 14 at the end of the first quarter. Tennessee outscored them 31-9 for the rest of the game for the 45-23 win to cover the college football betting line. Tennessee had 531 total yards including 405 passing yards from quarterback Tyler Bray, who also had 4 touchdown passes with no interceptions. Bray also had a rushing touchdown. Tennessee had 34 first downs and was 10/13 on third down conversions. The Volunteers overcame two lost fumbles and 7 penalties in the win. Tennessee didn’t exactly shut down Cincinnati, as the Bearcats had 396 total yards including 230 passing yards.

Tennessee is averaging 485 yards a game and 43.5 points a game. The Volunteers are averaging 358 passing yards a game. They have allowed 3 sacks and have two turnovers. They are 20/30 on third down conversions this season. The Volunteers are allowing 371 total yards and 19.5 points a game this season. Tennessee is allowing 232.5 passing yards a game. Tennessee has forced 3 turnovers and 2 sacks this season. Volunteer opponents are 12/31 on third and fourth down conversions.

Quarterback Tyler Bray is 51/65 passing for 698 yards with 7 touchdowns and no interceptions. Running back Tauren Poole has 45 carries for 199 yards, and a touchdown, along with 3 catches for 30 yards. Marlin Lane has 18 carries for 51 yards and 2 touchdowns, and he also has 2 catches for 16 yards and a touchdown. Receiver Justin Hunter has 16 catches for 302 yards and 2 scores. Da’Rick Rogers has 15 catches, 200 yards and 3 touchdowns. Kicker Michael Palardy is 12/12 on extra points and 1/2 on field goals with a 37 yard kick.

Florida was completely dominant in their 39-0 thrashing of Alabama-Birmingham last week. Florida had 512 total yards including 300 yards rushing. Four different Gator rushers has rushing touchdowns in the rout. Runnign back Chris Rainey had 16 carries for 119 yards and a touchdown along with 3 catches for 43 yards. The Gators had 28 first downs against the Blazers. Florida had no turnovers but did have 9 penalties. Florida held UAB to 212 total yards including 71 rushing yards. UAB had only 11 first downs and the Blazers were 1/13 on third and fourth down conversions. The Gators forced one turnover and scored a safety as well in the shutout.

Florida is averaging 490 total yards a game and 40 points this season. Florida is averaging 248.5 rushing yards a game. Florida has allowed 3 sacks and has turned the ball over 3 times. Though the offense is rolling especially in the running game, the defense has been completely dominant. Florida is only allowing 174.5 total yards a game including 50.5 rushing yards. Teh gators have only allowed a single field goal in 2 games so far. Gator opponents have only 22 first downs and are 4/28 on third and fourth down conversions. Florida has only forced one turnover and 2 sacks.

Florida quarterback John Brantley hasn’t been spectacular this season but he is improving under new offensive coordinator Charlie Weis. Brantley is 33/49 passing with 424 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions. He also has 2 carries for 3 yards. The star of the offense has been senior running back Chris Rainey who is the leading receiver and rusher for the Gators. Rainey has 27 carries, 198 yards, and 2 scores, along with 9 catches for 110 yards and a touchdown. Jeff Demps has 14 carries for 115 yards, and 2 touchdowns, along with 4 catches for 31 yards. He is listed as probable against Tennessee with a shoulder injury. Besides Rainey and Dempsey, five other Gators have at least 3 catches. Receiver Robert Clark and tight end Jordan Reed are both questionable with hamstring injuries.  Kicker Caleb Sturgis is 14/14 on kicks this season including 5/5 on field goals with a long of 51 yards.

Florida is 2-0 against the spread and both games have gone under this season. Tennessee is 1-0-1 against the spread this season and both games have gone over the total. The Volunteers are 4-0 ATS in the last 4 conference games, 6-1-1 ATS in the last 8 overall, 5-1-1 ATS in the last 7 on grass, 5-1 ATS following a straight up win, and 4-1 in their last 5 road games. Tennessee is 4-17-2 ATS in the last 23 as an underdog of between 3.5 and 10 points, including 3-14-1 as a road underdog of those spreads. The Gators are 5-0 ATS in the last 5 September games, 4-0 ATS in the last 4 at home and as a home favorite, and 4-1 in the last 5 on grass. Florida is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 as a favorite of between 3.5 and 10 points, and 1-5 ATS in the last 6 versus teams with winning records.

Though both teams are undefeated they really haven’t played anyone yet. Both teams have been excellent on offense. Recent history says Florida should win this game rather easily, as Tennessee has lost 3 straight in Gainesville. Though Florida won’t completely shut down the high powered Tennessee passing attack like they did Florida Atlantic and UAB, the Gators will have enough to win handily.

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