In what's probably the biggest game in Knoxville in several seasons, the Tennessee Volunteers, off to a 2-0 start, host the 2-0 Florida Gators Saturday night at Neyland Stadium (6 p.m. Eastern, ESPN).
Earlier this week Tennessee opened as a 2.5-point favorite for this game, with a total of 47. As of Friday afternoon, the Vols had been bumped to -3, and the total to 48, according to OddsShark.com.
Florida has won the last seven games in the series with Tennessee, but the point spread is a mixed bag 3-2-2 (with the past two games both pushes, landing precisely on the spread).
But before you run out and bet the Gators, realize they are just 3-14 SU in 17 recent games as an underdog. And they are just 1-7 ATS in the past eight games in this role. The Vols meanwhile are 17-1 SU as chalk, and a profitable 13-4 ATS in that position, according to the OddsShark.com's Twitter feed.
Tennessee, with 18 starters back this season—nine on each side of the ball from a team that went 5-7 last year—opened this season with a solid 35-21 victory over North Carolina State at the Georgia Dome.
Then last week, the Vols took care of Georgia State (FCS) 51-13.
Tennessee outrushed the Wolf Pack 191-119 and covered the spread as three-point favorites. But the Vols couldn't quite cover as 46-point chalk against GSU.
Through two games, Tennessee QB Tyler Bray has completed 45 of 61 passes for 643 yards and six touchdowns with zero interceptions.
With its two victories, Tennessee has jumped from the ranks of the unranked to No. 23 in this week's AP Top 25 poll.
Florida, which has 17 starters back this season, including 10 on defense, from a team that went 7-6 last year, opened its season with a ho-hum 27-14 victory over Bowling Green. Then last week the Gators welcomed Texas A&M to the SEC with a 20-17 come-from-behind win.
Florida sophomore QB Jeff Driskel, making his first start last week, completed 13-of-16 passes for 162 yards vs. the Aggies but got sacked eight times, as he held the ball a bit long on several occasions.
With its two wins, Florida has moved up from No. 23 in the AP's pre-season poll to No. 18 this week.
On the injury front, the Gators will be down two defensive regulars this week, as LB Jelani Jenkins and CB Cody Riggs deal with injuries.
Last year the Gators ground out a 16-0 lead, bumped that to 30-7 in the third quarter and held on from there. Florida rushed for 134 yards that day and held the Vols to -9 yards on the ground (27 without the sacks).
Free Pick: In games that match two ranked teams, the higher-ranked outfits usually win and cover the spread. This season, in the three such games matching ranked teams, the higher-ranked squads are 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS.
So we'll take Florida plus the field goal for Saturday (courtesy of PickShark.com).