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Tennessee point spreads offer little clarity on Vols this season

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The latest odds out of the gambling community are clear when it comes to Tennessee. Things are unclear. Bookmakers think the Vols will be solid, but not spectacular and not quite championship worthy.

The Vols are 5.5-point favorites over North Carolina State in their neutral site game to be played in Charlotte on Sept. 7. The Wolfpack’s win total over/under is 8.5 games this season so that would be a respectable early season win for the Vols.

The Vols will be a huge favorite against Kent State the following week before being a 5-point underdog at Oklahoma. Opinions differ on the Sooners and how championship worthy they might be, much like Tennessee, so this should offer some delineation between the two. Still, being nearly a touchdown underdog is not a strong vote of confidence from oddsmakers.

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The Vols are actually a huge favorite over one of their biggest rivals in one of Tennessee most important games this season. The Vols are a whopping 11-point favorite over Florida on Oct. 12 in Neyland Stadium. That point spread probably says as much about Florida as it does about Tennessee. Florida’s over/under win total on some gambling sites is as low as 5.5 games.

The next week brings another rival, but a far different point spread, when the Vols host Alabama on Oct. 19. Tennessee is a 2-point underdog to the Crimson Tide in a season in which the Vols are starting a new era at quarterback and Bama is starting a whole new era entirely with former Washington coach Kalen DeBoer at the helm, replacing legendary head coach Nick Saban, who retired during the offseason. 

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In other words, this game has so many unknowns that a point spread that low would seem to indicate bookies are hedging their bets on both sides. Then, things get back to being a bit more predictable when the Vols play the No. 1 team in the nation, Georgia, on Nov. 16 in Athens. Georgia is a 17.5-point favorite against Tennessee. That number should get the Vols attention.

Tennessee’s record is one of the more difficult teams to predict in the country this season. The Vols have talent, but not much depth. What happens if injuries strike Tennessee’s football team as it did last year? What happens if the Vols stay healthy? There seems to be a huge variance among analysts when discussing the Vols’ potential. The latest point spreads prove as much.

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