No. 6 Florida vs. Tennessee

No. 6 Florida vs. Tennessee | 2020 NCAAF Expert Analysis

Written by on December 3, 2020

Sixth-ranked Florida will clinch a spot in the SEC Championship Game – almost surely opposite No. 1 Alabama – with a win at rival Tennessee on Saturday. The Gators are solid NCAAF favorites in a series they have dominated of late.

How to Bet Florida at Tennessee NCAA Football Odds & TV Info

  • When: Saturday, 3:30 PM ET
  • Where: Neyland Stadium
  • TV: CBS
  • Stream: CBS Sports app
  • Radio:com
  • Opening NCAAF Lines: Florida -17.5 (total 62.5)

Last Meeting/Series

Florida was a 34-3 winner over the Vols in 2019. Gators QB Kyle Trask, making his first-ever NCAA start, threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns. Trask completed 20 of 28 passes, with TDs to Kyle Pitts and Freddie Swain. Florida defensive end Jon Greenard was the best player on the field. He finished with four tackles, including two for losses, and had three pass breakups and a forced fumble. Tennessee, using two quarterbacks with both struggling, had just 239 yards.

Florida has won three straight in the series and 14 of 15. The Gators lead the all-time series, 29-20, and own a 13-12 record in Knoxville. The Gators and Vols met as ranked teams 18 consecutive times from 1990-2007. Since the creation of divisions and the SEC Championship game in 1992, the winner of the Florida-Tennessee game has gone on to win the SEC East 13 of a possible 27 times.

Why Bet on Florida? | 2020 NCAAF Expert Analysis

The Gators (7-1) took care of Kentucky 34-10 last week. UF led just 14-10 at the half and Kentucky the Wildcats played very well to that point on offense with both teams having exactly 175 total yards. That effort proved to be for naught immediately after Florida received the second-half kickoff; it gained 75 yards on five plays — 34 more yards than Kentucky managed in the entire second half — to pad its lead, and would add three more scores before the game ended.

Gators QB Kyle Trask welcomed back star tight end Kyle Pitts by throwing him a trio of touchdown passes, but it was Kadarius Toney’s 50-yard punt return just before halftime that turned momentum and awakened the Gators for a run of 27 consecutive points.

Trask, a Heisman Trophy front-runner, completed 21 of 27 attempts for 256 yards, no interceptions, and scoring tosses to Pitts of 56, 2 and 7 yards. Pitts, out the last two weeks after suffering a concussion and facial wound in the Nov. 7 win against Georgia, caught five passes for 99 yards. The UF defense, after a shaky first half, forced three second-half turnovers and limited the Wildcats to just 46 total yards over the final two periods.

Trask has a national-best 34 TD passes. That’s tied with San Diego State’s Dennis Shaw (1969) and Houston’s David Klingler (1990) for the third-most passing touchdowns through the first eight games of a season in FBS history. Trask is the first quarterback in school history to throw three-plus passing touchdowns in eight straight games, breaking Danny Wuerffel’s school record of seven in a row (Sept. 21-Nov. 9, 1996). Trask has not thrown an interception in his last 119 attempts, which is the sixth-longest streak in school history.

Trask is in the mix for the FBS record for touchdown passes through nine games. The top five consists of: Houston’s Andre Ware (40 in 1989), Hawaii’s Colt Brennan (39 in 2006), Texas Tech’s B.J. Symons (37 in 2003), San Diego State’s Shaw (37 in 1969), and Houston’s Klingler (36 in 1990). Trask ranks second nationally in passing yards per game (351.3) and fifth in passer rating (196.79).

The Gators have beaten four SEC opponents by 20-plus points in the same season for the first time since 2008, when they beat seven SEC foes by at least 20. Florida’s 347 points this season mark its fifth-highest total through eight games in school history.

Why Bet on Tennessee? | 2020 NCAAF Expert Analysis

The Vols (2-5) didn’t play last week as their game at Vanderbilt was postponed. The Vols did not play a home game the entire month of November, a first since 1891.  Tennessee is are attempting to snap a five-game losing streak that dates back to Oct. 10.

Sophomore running back RB Eric Gray has gone over 100 yards rushing four times this season, including back-to-back games for the first time in his career. He is tied for second in the SEC in that category. Gray ranks fifth in the SEC in total rushing yardage (651), fourth in yards per game (93.0) and 10th in rushing touchdowns (4). During the month of November, Gray averaged 148.0 yards per game on the ground, which led the SEC and ranked sixth in the FBS. In his last nine games dating back to last year’s Vanderbilt game, Gray is averaging 109.2 yards per game on the ground.

Since last taking the field, junior linebacker Kivon Bennett has been dismissed from the football program. Pruitt mentioned that Bennett was involved in a traffic stop and that led to him being kicked off the team. Bennett had played a fair amount in 2020, earning himself 4.5 sacks.

Embattled coach Jeremy Pruitt has said that touted freshman QB Harrison Bailey “will definitely play” in Saturday’s game. Bailey getting another opportunity to show what he can do after playing well in the Volunteers’ Nov. 21 loss at Auburn is not a shock. In spite of his struggles Jarrett Guarantano has managed to hang onto the starting job all season but has been replaced in two games, including vs. Auburn.

Guarantano owns 6,112 yards of total offense, which ranks seventh in UT history. He became the seventh player in UT history to surpass 6,000 yards of total offense in a career in his last game at Auburn. Guarantano has accounted for 43 touchdowns in his career – 38 passing and five rushing. However, he turns the ball over a lot.

UF is UT’s third top-five ranked opponent (at the time of the meeting) of the season. The Vols will face a fourth top-five ranked team when they host No. 5 Texas A&M in December. Five of UT’s 10 opponents are ranked in the first edition of the College Football Playoff Rankings. Those teams are a combined 32-7.

Game Trends

  • Gators are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 conference games.
  • Gators are 5-2-1 ATS vs. a team with a losing record.
  • Gators are 31-14 ATS in their last 45 games as a road favorite.
  • Volunteers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following a straight up loss.
  • Volunteers are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 conference games.
  • Road team is 8-3-1 ATS in their last 12 meetings.

Expert Prediction

  • Florida 40, Tennessee 23
 
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