Tennessee opened as a 17-point underdog to Florida this week, and the line has since moved to 17.5. The GRT Statsy Preview Machine thinks that’s not high enough. Here’s why.
Scoring Offense and Scoring Defense for both teams
- Tennessee’s Scoring Offense this year: 20.1
- Florida’s Scoring Offense this year: 43.4
- Tennessee’s Scoring Defense this year: 31.3
- Florida’s Scoring Defense this year: 25.9
From the perspective of Tennessee
The Florida scoring defense of 25.9 is most similar to the following prior Tennessee opponent(s):
- Missouri 25
- Auburn 24.5
Tennessee scored 35 points against Missouri and 17 points against Auburn, which is 105% of what those teams usually give up. That makes the estimated points for Tennessee against Florida 27.2.
The Florida scoring offense of 43.4 is most similar to the following prior Tennessee opponent(s):
- Alabama 48.5
- Georgia 31.3
Tennessee allowed 48 points to Alabama and 44 points to Georgia. That’s 115% of what those teams usually get, which makes the estimated points for Florida against Tennessee 49.9.
Estimated score: Tennessee 27.2, Florida 49.9
From the perspective of Florida
The Tennessee scoring defense of 31.3 is most similar to the following prior Florida opponent(s):
- Arkansas 30.9
- Kentucky 27.3
Florida scored 63 points against Arkansas and 34 points against Kentucky, 167% of what those teams usually give up. That makes the estimated points for Florida against Tennessee 52.2.
The Tennessee scoring offense of 20.1 is most similar to the following prior Florida opponent(s):
- Kentucky 19.6
- South Carolina 24.1
Florida allowed Kentucky 10 points and South Carolina 24. That’s 78% of what those teams usually get, which makes the estimated points for Tennessee against Florida 15.7.
Estimated score: Florida 52.2, Tennessee 15.7
Combined Estimated Score
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SPM Final Estimates
Combining the results from both perspectives, here’s what we get:
SPM Final estimated score: Tennessee 21.5, Florida 51.1
SPM Final estimated spread: Florida -29.6
Difference between the SPM and the Vegas opening spread: 12.6
Bad news, Vols fans. That puts this game squarely in the Machine’s sweet spot and makes it a Category 3 contest in favor of the Gators.
Man, that feels high though, doesn’t it? But none of the actual numbers look suspect to me. If I run the Machine with every 2020 game as a comp, it gets only marginally better: Florida 46.5, Tennessee 19.8, a spread of -26.7.
I am so looking forward to the day I can bring you good news, but today, I’m going with the Machine, although I am taking the “all comps” result: Florida 47, Tennessee 20. Even with that, it’s waaaaaay above the line. Tennessee can win this game, but if it does, it’s going to have to be a different team Saturday than it’s been all season.
Other predictions from other systems
With the Vols a 17-point underdog and an over/under of 61.5, Vegas is predicting a score of something like Florida 39, Tennessee 22.
Bill Connelly’s SP+ likes Florida by 18.1 (Florida 38, Tennessee 20) and gives the Vols a 15% chance of winning. More bad news, Vols fans: SP+ agreeing elevates this game from Category 3 to Category 4, a subset of games for which the Machine is currently 11-1. Cue the so-you’re-saying-there’s-a-chance GIF.
I’m just going to repeat what I said for the Auburn preview:
The GRT Statsy Preview Machine doesn’t know it’s a Vols fan, so it has no emotion about being so confident of another disappointing Saturday for the good guys. I am a sentient being with mostly orange and smokey grey laundry, and so I am able to come to roughly the same conclusion and yet hope we are both wrong, wrong, wrong.
- Vegas: Florida 39, Tennessee 22 (Florida -17)
- SP+: Florida 38, Tennessee 20 (Florida covers at -18.1)
- GRT’s Statsy Preview Machine: Florida 51.1, Tennessee 21.5 (Florida covers at -29.6)
- Me: Florida 47, Tennessee 20 (Florida covers at -27)
Season results on Tennessee games
- Week 4: The SPM and I were both right (albeit overconfident) in saying the Vols would cover against South Carolina.
- Week 5: The SPM and I were both wrong in thinking the Vols would not cover and would win by only 6 points. They won by 23.
- Week 6: The SPM was right, but I was wrong. The SPM predicted Georgia to cover a 14.5-point spread with a score of Georgia 29, Tennessee 12, while my eyeball adjustment revised that to say the Bulldogs would not cover with a score of Georgia 24, Tennessee 20. Georgia covered with a score of Georgia 44, Tennessee 21.
- Week 7: Both the SPM and I were wrong in thinking the Vols would cover 6.5 points as a favorite over the Kentucky Wildcats. The Vols lost 34-7. Oof.
- Week 8: Both the SPM and I were right in predicting that Alabama would cover the 20-point spread, the machine calling it 47-22 and me calling it 47-24. Alabama won 48-17.
- Week 10: The SPM was right and I was wrong about the Arkansas game. The Machine predicted the Vols would not cover a 1-point spread against Arkansas, and I predicted a 1-point win. Arkansas won 24-13.
- Week 12: Both the SPM and I were right in predicting that Auburn would cover the 11.5-point spread. Auburn won by 13, 30-17.
What do y’all think?