Looking ahead to the Battle At Bristol, most see the Tennessee Volunteers as favorites given their status as a likely top 12 team in preseason polls along with being the early favorite to win the SEC East while the Hokies are in their first year under Justin Fuente after going 7-6.
Today, the South Point Casino in Las Vegas released odds for some of the biggest games in each week of the 2016 season which included the Battle at Bristol.
Unsurprisingly, the Hokies aren’t favorites as they are opening as 11-point underdogs to the Volunteers. The margin is about 6 points smaller than the sizeable underdogs that the Hokies opened as before their showdown with the Ohio State Buckeyes at home. The Hokies are also the second-biggest underdogs of the six games that week with the only bigger one being Iowa State at 17.5-point underdogs on the road against Iowa.
As mentioned above, the fact that the Hokies are underdogs is not a surprise given the high regards of Tennessee in 2016 plus the new regime in Blacksburg. However, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the line come down to 9 or 10 points with the first week of games likely to change the line some if the Hokies either have an extremely good offensive day or if they disappoint on offense.
Overall, the line seems pretty fair given everything but there is no Hokie that should think that an upset isn’t possible given the magnitude of the spectacle and how the Hokies have pulled off some big upsets in the past including their win in 2014 at Ohio State.
There is no doubt that the Battle At Bristol spectacle is only growing with the game only nine weeks away.