Florida at Tennessee: Pick, prediction, spread, odds, football game time, watch live stream, TV channel

By OnlyGators.com Staff
September 24, 2022
Florida at Tennessee: Pick, prediction, spread, odds, football game time, watch live stream, TV channel

Image Credit: Graphic by Michael Nash

One of the SEC’s top annual rivalries reignites Saturday afternoon as the No. 20 Florida Gators hit the road for the first time under head coach Billy Napier to face the No. 11 Tennessee Volunteers in Neyland Stadium. Napier will look to become the sixth straight Gators coach to beat the Vols in his first try, while Florida looks to win its sixth straight game in the series.

Those goals may be tough to reach given Tennessee seems to be soaring in Year 2 under head coach Josh Heupel. The Vols have scored 45+ points in six of their last eight games, while the Gators have only scored 24+ points in four of their last nine. Given Tennessee’s up-tempo offense, homefield advantage and system experience, there’s a lot of advantages going the way of the hosts.

Still, Florida has been far more successful in the series over the last two decades. This despite the program’s numerous coaching changes and quarterback transfers over the last decade-plus. While this is a huge game for the Gators, though, it is a monumental opportunity for the Vols to prove they are “back” after not being truly relevant in the national conversation since 2007.

UF sophomore quarterback Anthony Richardson will look to get himself right in this game. Perhaps it is to his benefit that it comes against UT, which has allowed 37.4 points per game to its last seven Power Five opponents dating back to last season. Richardson stepping up his play and redshirt senior linebacker Ventrell Miller potentially returning to lead the defense may be enough for Florida to turn the tide.

What will go down Saturday when the Gators visit the Volunteers? Let’s find out.

Tale of the tape

No. 20 Florida GatorsNo. 11 Tennessee Volunteers
Head coachBilly NapierJosh Heupel

Injuries and absences

Probable (1): CB Jaydon Hill (knee)
Questionable (1): LB Ventrell Miller (lower body)
Out (5): RT Michael Tarquin (lower body), QB Jack Miller III (thumb), TE Arlis Boardingham (shoulder), OL David Conner (thumb), LS Marco Ortiz (upper body)

Viewing information

Date: Saturday, Sept. 24 | Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Neyland Stadium — Knoxville, Tennessee [101,915]

TV: CBS (Brad Nessler, Gary Danielson, Jenny Dell)
Live stream: CBSSports.com | SiriusXM: 138/191 | Radio: WRUF, TuneIn
Live updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

Game notes

» Florida is 31-20 all-time against Tennessee with five straight victories and wins in 16 of the last 17 meetings since 2005. The Gators have also won seven of the last eight showdowns in Knoxville with the lone loss coming in 2016.
» This marks the 25th time UF and UT are meeting as top 25 programs. Florida is 16-8 in such games, 5-1 since 2005.
» Napier will face the SEC East-rival Tennessee for the first time. Each of the last five Gators head coaches have defeated the Vols in their first meeting; the last not to do so was Steve Spurrier in 1990.
» Tennessee has not scored more than 21 points in the series since 2016.
» Florida has scored 24+ points in only four of its last nine games.
» The Gators are 7-11 against ranked opponents (2-4 vs. top five teams, 5-7 vs. top 10 teams) and 28-8 against unranked opponents since 2018.
» UF was the only team in the nation to play ranked opponents in its first two games this season. UT is the third top-25 team it is playing through four weeks.
» Florida is one of two FBS teams nationally (Alabama) that has not yet lost to an opponent that finished the season with a losing record since 2004.
» The Gators have scored in 426 consecutive games, an NCAA record.

Prediction and analysis

Spread: Florida +10.5 | O/U: 63.5

Though the Gators have been underdogs to the Vols before, they have never been double-digit ‘dogs entering a game in series history. That makes this line particularly interesting though not necessarily objectionable given UF’s play of late. If your belief entering this game is that Florida will play just as poorly as it did the last two weeks and that Tennessee will run up and down the field like it did against Akron and Ball State, see if the spread dips to -10 or -9.5 before kickoff prior to making a pick. However, despite this being the Gators’ first road game this season, the likelihood of both cases being true seems suspect.

What’s more likely is that Tennessee plays as it did against Pittsburgh in Week 2 where it needed overtime in a 31-24 road victory. The Vols allowed 27 second-quarter points to the Panthers, committed three turnovers and had significant disadvantages on the stat sheet. That’s not to say UT is going to fall apart and lose to UF; rather, the Gators present a far tougher test (at least defensively) than the Vols have seen to this point in 2022. If Miller is active and Florida can clean up its issues defensively in the run game, Richardson may be able to manage the visitors to a victory, let alone a cover. The total is difficult to project here, but given both programs have shown lapses this season, it’s more comfortable to go under.

2022 records: ATS picks 0-3 | O/U picks 2-1

Odds and ends

» Uniforms: Florida will wear white jerseys, blue pants and orange helmets for its first road game of the season.

» ESPN College GameDay: The premier Saturday morning show will be in Knoxville for the Florida-Tennessee game. The Gators are 26-15 all-time when being featured on the program with a 6-2 mark against the Volunteers in such contests (4-1 in Knoxville).

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