Alabama finally covered a big spread last week, but that wasn’t the big news over the weekend. Tennessee showed up for the first time in a long time, snapping its 11-Game SEC losing streak by beating a ranked Auburn team on the road. This team still has a long way to go, but that same kind of performance could at least lead to a couple more wins this season, though not in this matchup. The Crimson Tide were -29 point road favorites with an over/under of 56.5 as of Tuesday at YOUWAGER Sportsbook.
This matchup wasn’t a contest last year and that could easily happen again, though it may not be as bad. In a 45-7 win, Alabama outgained Tennessee 604 to 108, which is as bad as it gets. The Tide did whatever they wanted defensively and offensively and that could happen again even if the Vols are a better team than a year ago.
Stopping this Alabama offense still looks impossible and while Missouri put up a fight last weekend, it wasn’t enough to cover as its offense only put up 10 points. It could be a similar situation for this Game and while Tennessee has decent defensive numbers, that may not be enough to cover. Its goal will be to hold the Tide around 40 points, which is possible, as it’s already done that against West Virginia and Georgia.
Given Alabama’s early Schedule, this is probably the toughest defense it’s faced so there could be some regression to Tua Tagovailoa’s incredible numbers. He still hasn’t thrown an interception with 21 touchdowns, but also has a ridiculous 14.31 yards per attempt and 71.5% completion rate. The Vols will try and contain the running Game between Najee and Damien Harris and that could be a decent route because those guys aren’t running through everyone like usual. against Missouri, the Tide averaged just 4.1 yards per carry as a team and the Tigers don’t exactly have a good defense. If Tennessee can do the same, that’d at least be a starting point to keeping the Scorecloser than expected.
To cover, the Vols need more from their offense because they’ve scored just 17 total points in the last two meetings and they haven’t scored more than 20 against this defense since a shootout back in 2003. Tennessee’s offense may be better than recent versions, but it’s still hard to put faith in quarterback Jarrett Guarantano even after his big performance at Auburn. In fact, Guarantano is averaging almost two yards more per attempt than last year and he’s played legit defenses in the process. Sure, he didn’t do anything against Florida, but the flashes are there and that could be a starting point at home against this defense.
Unfortunately for the Vols, Guarantano is probably the only route to success for this offense since it’s hard to see the rushing attack doing much behind its 3.9 yards per carry. Ty Chandler has had some good showings, but he only has respectable numbers because he ran through UTEP. If the ground Game fails to surpass 50 yards again, that’s putting a big target on Guarantano’s back and that makes Tennessee a hard team to bet on even with former Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt as head coach.
The Crimson Tide are 2-5 ATS in their last seven road Games and the Volunteers are 1-5 ATS in their last six home Games. The over is 5-1 in the last six meetings between these schools and Alabama is 10-3-1 ATS in the last 14 meetings.
Our Pick – Tennessee +29