KNOXVILLE – It’s approximately three months from the start of college football season, but that hasn’t stopped some in Las Vegas from putting out early odds.
The Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas did just that on Friday, printing odds for nearly 250 of the biggest games in 2013, including several UT games.
There are some chances to make a profit if you like the Vols’ chances as an underdog in coach Butch Jones’ first season. A word of caution, though: Tennessee hasn’t won a game where it was a consensus underdog since routing Georgia 45-19 in Knoxville in 2009.
Tennessee opens as a 25-point underdog at Oregon (Sept. 14, 3:30 p.m. ET). The Vols are a 12-point underdog at Florida (Sept. 21), an 11-point underdog against Georgia (Oct. 5) and face their longest odds at Alabama, where they open as a 27-point underdog to the two-time defending champs.
Alabama is favored in every game next year with an average advantage of nearly 21 points against SEC foes.
UT is listed as a one-point favorite against Vanderbilt (a team that defeated the Vols 41-18 in 2012), an eight-point favorite against Auburn (Nov. 9) and a 7.5-point favorite over Kentucky (Nov. 30).
Games against Austin Peay (Aug. 31), Western Kentucky (Sept. 7), South Alabama (Sept. 28) and South Carolina (Oct. 19) weren’t listed on this round of odds. The Vols are expected to be favored in all of those contests with the exception of South Carolina.
It’s a very early look and lines are certain to move between now and the season with the news of injuries, suspensions and reports from fall camp. Early indications, for now at least, appear to label UT as a 6-6 team with little margin for error as a favorite and a tall hill to climb when playing the underdog role.
Daniel Lewis covers Tennessee football for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanielNooga