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vs Oregon Ducks
Pick - Analysis
Oregon continues to surprise everyone with the way its offense has kept it rolling even without Chip Kelly. In fact, the Ducks may even look improved. They recorded their most total yards ever two week ago, then destroyed an ACC team on the road last weekend by 49 points. Will anyone be able to contain Oregon at all before they face the top Pac-12 schools? This week Oregon is a -27.5 point favorite at GTBets and the betting trends at sportsbook.com show us that 74% of the bets taken so far have come in on the Ducks. No surprise there. The public loves the Ducks!
The Volunteers know they have their hands full, especially on the road as 27-point underdogs, but after a solid start, their hopes are high. However, they could be feeling sick to their stomachs just by looking at their upcoming schedule. After Oregon, Tennessee has to face Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama in four of its next five games. That may be one of the toughest stretches for anyone in the nation.
The Ducks demolished their first two opponents on the ground, going for 850 yards as a team and 10 yards per carry. Throw in 13 touchdowns and those look like numbers for a lot of teams for half of the season. Quarterback Marcus Mariota has 235 yards on nine carries. De'Anthony Thomas doesn't look all that great compared to Mariota, who has 252 yards on 29 carries. Tennessee allowed 171 rushing yards to Western Kentucky last week, so you would have to think Oregon will get at least that many yards, if not double.
On the other side of the ball, the Volunteers are no slouch either. In fact, they have quite a running game as well, led by a duo of Rajion Neal and Marlin Lane, who have combined for 350 yards and seven TDs in the first two games. Quarterback Tyler Bray is gone, but new QB Justin Worley hasn't had much to do in the first two games. He will likely be asked to do more passing against the Ducks, which may not be a good thing.
Oregon hasn't faced a decent offense yet, mainly because once it gets out to a big lead, the opposition becomes very one dimensional. That is something the Volunteers can't do because Worley isn't exactly a guy you want throwing on every play. And Tennessee won't be able to count on five turnovers in six straight plays, which is what happened last week against the Hilltoppers. If Tennessee's defense can't stop the Ducks from opening with a touchdown or two in the first quarter, it wouldn't be a surprise for Oregon to cover those 27 points and more.
The Volunteers are a miserable 0-7-1 ATS in their last eight games following an ATS win and 4-9 ATS in their last 13 overall. The Ducks have every trend in their favor, including four straight covers and 4-1 ATS in their last five home games. That one loss came against Stanford at the end of last year. As both teams love to score, every single one of their trends points to the over.
We can't say we've learned much from either of these teams in their first games with 3 of the 4 opponents being cupcakes. If you look back to last year, you'll see that the Vols gave up buckets upon buckets of points. So much so that our score prediction model using last years stats predicts a 63-25 Oregon win. But you're not about to see us lay close to 4 touchdowns against an SEC that is still able to recruit great talent. Sure, Butch Jones has his work cut out for him and it may take some time, but at +28 or better we have to take a shot with the Vols here. Vols +28 or more
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