SEC Releases New Schedule Ahead Of Legal Sportsbook Launch In Tennessee

Posted on August 20, 2020 - Last Updated on August 24, 2020

If Tennessee and Vanderbilt do play their scheduled football games on Saturday, Nov. 7, that could represent the first opportunity for Tennesseans to legally wager on such contests.

The new SEC football schedule has both teams in action that day, potentially less than a week after legal Tennessee sports betting apps will launch in the Volunteer State.

Even amid the hype of a new schedule, however, a reason for caution remains. The last few days haven’t been encouraging for the prospect of fall college football.

The new SEC football schedule for Tennessee, Vanderbilt

Earlier this month, the SEC announced it would only play intraconference football games, if at all, this fall. That shift to a 10-game season affords two potential benefits.

For starters, it ensures that all teams are operating under the same set of COVID-19 protocols. Additionally, it gives programs extra flexibility if the need to postpone games arises.

All 14 SEC teams plan to begin their seasons on Saturday, Sept. 26. The new schedules for Tennessee and Vanderbilt are as follows:

DateTennessee opponentVanderbilt opponent
Sept. 26at South Carolinaat Texas A&M
Oct. 3MissouriLSU
Oct. 10at GeorgiaSouth Carolina
Oct. 17Kentuckyat Missouri
Oct. 24AlabamaOpen
Oct. 31OpenMississippi
Nov. 7at Arkansasat Mississippi State
Nov. 14Texas A&Mat Kentucky
Nov. 21at AuburnFlorida
Nov. 28at VanderbiltTennessee
Dec. 5Floridaat Georgia

Although legal sportsbooks aren’t up and running in the state yet, the Tennessee Lottery aims to have four online sportsbooks available for bettors by Nov. 1 at the latest.

So far, it’s unclear exactly which four brands that will be.

BetMGM was the first to publicly state interest in Tennessee, followed shortly by DraftKings. It’s unclear whether those two are included in the four books the lottery wants to see taking bets soon.

What’s clear right now, however, is that betting on the games from afar might be the best bet. Tennessee currently plans to allow no more than 25% of capacity at Neyland Stadium.

So far, Vanderbilt hasn’t made its plans for spectators public.

It’s also unclear just how much action sportsbooks like BetMGM and DraftKings will offer on college football games, should they actually take place. It’s hard to blame them for being cautious.

ACC institutions moving further away from playing fall sports

Just this week, there has been bad news for fans who want to see college football this fall at two ACC institutions. That could affect the SEC if the trend continues.

North Carolina has suspended its fall sports activities after an upswell of positive tests on campus.

Additionally, Notre Dame has moved its classes to an all-remote model for the same reason.

Although SEC institutions have yet to take any similar actions, the ACC’s fate could determine that of the Big 12 and SEC as well.

If the ACC ultimately follows the Big Ten and Pac-12 in postponing to the spring, that would seriously compromise the ability to hold a College Football Playoff.

For that reason, sportsbooks are taking a reserved approach to offering markets for college football. BetMGM, for example, isn’t currently offering any bets on college football online in New Jersey.

DraftKings has a limited number of odds available for the first week of SEC games and a couple of ACC tilts in October right now. It also has team futures for the conference championship games in the ACC, Big 12 and SEC.

Tennessee sits at +10000 there while Vanderbilt is +25000. Naturally, that game will actually have to take place for the sportsbook to settle those bets.

Nov. 1 will eventually come, and hopefully, Tennessee sports betting with it. Those sportsbooks would prefer the new SEC schedule to be in progress at that time.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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