Once again, Alabama look like one of the best teams in the country, while its opponent this week, Tennessee, has only disappointed so far this season. Because of that, the spread has jumped a couple points and as of Tuesday at betonline Sportsbook, the Crimson Tide are a -15.5 point home favorite.
The loss to Ole Miss seems forever ago for this Alabama team, who has run through its last Four opponents (although they had some trouble with Arkansas). In their last two road Games, the Tide stomped on Georgia 38-10 and Texas A&M 41-23. The issue here is that they haven’t covered in Four straight home Games, which means they may not be the team to bet on here. For some reason, Alabama hasn’t played as well at home this year, outside of the home opener.
As for Tennessee, it doesn’t matter where they play, as they love to lose heartbreakers. The Volunteers did get a nice win against Georgia before their week off, but still have three losses on the year and a slight chance at the SEC East if they can somehow win here. No matter, in their losses, they still have been competitive.
Tennessee will have its hands full against this ‘Bama defense, though. The group has really stuck to it after giving up 43 points to Ole Miss. The Tide have held Georgia, Arkansas and Texas A&M basically in check. That will be an issue here, especially if the Vols can’t get the ground Game going.
Considering Alabama has one of the best run defenses in the country, that could be a problem. Dobbs has been good passing the ball, but a lot of that has to do with Jalen Hurd (572 rushing yards) or Dobbs finding room with his legs. That room may not be there against this defense. Through the air, Dobbs isn’t all that trustworthy, completing 58% of his passes, so that could be a problem. Betting Tennessee would mean having faith in Dobbs.
As for the Vols’ defense, they could also have some trouble considering they haven’t really stopped anyone yet this season. OUtside of a slow start against Arkansas, the Tide have been rolling, led by a dominant run Game behind Derrick Henry (901 yards, 12 TDs), who went off for 236 yards and two touchdowns against the Aggies last week. If the Vols can find a little resistance to that ground Game, there could be hope.
Quarterback Jake Coker won’t consistently beat any defense by himself, but he’ll always have that ground Game to fall back on, something Dobbs doesn’t have. Coker is completing 61.9% of his passes for 11 TDs and six interceptions. Last week, he barely had to do anything, throwing for 138 yards without a touchdown.
Looking back to last year, it was a similar situation with Tennessee as a 20-point dog. The Vols played tough in a 34-20 loss and Dobbs did just enough to get the cover, albeit in a home Game. Even though Amari Cooper went for 224 yards in that Game, it was a somewhat positive result for Tennessee. Could that be the case again or will it be similar to previous years?
The Crimson Tide have covered in Four of the last five meetings, with that non-cover being last year. And over the last 11, the Tide are 8-2-1 ATS. The over is also 8-2-1 in the Volunteeers’ last 11 Games on grass, while the Tide are just 1-7 ATS in their last eight following an ATS win.
Our Pick – Rarely will we make a play on a dog to “stay within a number”. In otherwords, generally, when we back a dog, we are predicting the dog to win outright.
But in this spot, several of Our numbers point towards a Bama win by by 11 or less. With that in mind, we’ll take a shot with the Vols to hang around here and make this a Game. Tennessee +15.5