This article is part of our College Football Picks series.
College Football Picks: Tennessee vs. Florida Best Bets
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Tennessee and Florida face off in their yearly rivalry; this year's edition will bring us some new quarterbacks under center. For Tennessee fans, it's a familiar face in Joe Milton, who transferred in from Michigan prior to the 2021 season and has spent the majority of his time with Tennessee backing up Hendon Hooker. Florida brought in Graham Mertz this past offseason to fill the void left by first-round pick Anthony Richardson. Along with the departure of Hooker, the Vols also lost top wide receiver Jalin Hyatt to the NFL. While Hyatt leaves a bit of a void in the wide receiver room, there is tons of talent still there to pick up the slack in the second-leading receiver from a year ago, Bru McCoy, along with Ramel Keyton and Squirrel White, who both had solid seasons in 2022. The rest of the offense for Florida is much of the same as the explosive Trevor Etienne headman's the backfield, and much of the receiving corps remains intact.
Tennessee vs Florida Betting Odds for Week 3
Spread: Tennessee -6 (Caesars Sportsbook); Florida +6.5 (FanDuel Sportsbook)
Moneyline: Tennessee -235 (FanDuel Sportsbook); Florida +205 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Total: Over 58.5 (FanDuel Sportsbook); Under 58.5 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
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Tennessee vs Florida Betting Picks for Week 3
At +205, there is seemingly good value in Florida here if you trust some of the advanced analytics, such as Football Power Index. However, this early in the season, these tend to be a bit flawed with a lack of data. I don't see many scenarios where Florida wins this game. I think some of the things that have Florida looking a bit better than they truly are is the defense did a good job against McNeese State, not an offensive or football powerhouse by any means, and the Florida defense had a pretty solid game against Utah who was playing with a backup quarterback. Will they be able to stop a high-powered offense like Tennessee's is a different animal? The only way I can see Florida winning this game is if the Tennessee offense turns the ball over and has some procedural issues due to the road environment forcing them to get behind the chains. Florida will also likely need to establish the run to shorten the game and get a few easy scores due to major breakdowns from the Tennessee defense.
Tennessee vs Florida Expert Pick: Tennessee -6 (Caesars Sportsbook)
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Tennessee vs Florida Predictions for Week 3
I'm very low on Florida as a whole this year. I'm not sold on Mertz, who struggled at Wisconsin against every conference opponent except Northwestern and Purdue last season. The Florida offense doesn't have much talent outside of Etienne at running back. The Florida defense wasn't good last year, finishing 12th in the SEC in points per game, ahead of only Auburn and Vanderbilt, and I don't see many places where they improved this year. On the other hand, Milton has seemed to step into the Tennessee offense without missing a beat. After Hooker tore his ACL in the second to last regular season game against South Carolina, Milton lit up Clemson in the bowl game, completing 67.9 percent of his passes for 259 yards and three touchdowns. Against inferior opponents this season, Milton has picked up right where he left off, completing 66.7 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and no interceptions on the year. In last season's matchup, Tennessee took down the Gators at home 38-33, in a game where first-round quarterback Richardson had the best game of his college career, throwing for 453 yards with a touchdown and running for 62 more yards with two more touchdowns. I don't think Mertz is capable of keeping this Florida team in the game like Richardson was able to last year. Unless a lot of bounces go the way of Florida, I can see this game getting out of hand in a big way and Tennessee rolling to victory by double-digits.