Alabama’s defense could be a problem down the road, but it probably won’t matter against Tennessee, especially at home. The Crimson Tide were -34.5 point favorites with an over/under of 62 as of Tuesday.
Tennessee is coming off a win, yet there isn’t a ton to say about it. Mississippi State is having its own issues which is why Tennessee needed just 167 passing yards from 14 pass attempts in last week’s win.
A mediocre offense isn’t good enough for this matchup, but covering is more than possible, as seen in Bama’s 59-31 win against Ole Miss. The Rebels completed 10-of-30 passes, but ran for 279 yards to get the cover.
Of course, the Tide have won the last three meetings with the Volunteers all by at least 37 points. The Vols got a couple touchdowns via quarterback Keller Chryst last year, but ran for 31 yards and that’s probably not going to cut it this year.
Alabama is allowing points, but it’s still a level above Tennessee at almost every position. There isn’t one aspect of Tennessee’s offense that is easy to trust. Quarterback Jarrett Guarantano is likely to start again after coming off the bench last game.
He has the best numbers on the team, yet five of his eight touchdowns have come against Chattanooga and Georgia State. The Vols are unlikely to get much from the passing game and that’s why the running backs should see a heavy dosage, whether that’s Ty Chandler or Tim Jordan.
The problem is that they’re averaging 4.0 yards per carry as a team and those numbers are juiced from the weaker defenses played earlier in the season.
While the Vols could reach around 20 points, that may not matter because the Tide are a threat to drop close to 60 points again. They’ve been able to score whenever they want and that’s seen in Tua Tagovailoa’s numbers, completing 73.6% of his passes on 11 yards per attempt for 27 touchdowns and one interception which was thrown last week.
No one has stopped Tua and that’s not changing this week. DeVonta Smith and Jerry Jeudy have been the top targets combing for 15 of those touchdowns. Meanwhile the ground game is churning along with Najee Harris averaging a quiet 6.1 yards per carry.
Tennessee’s defensive numbers aren’t terrible, allowing less than 400 yards per contest, though against a similar opponent in Georgia, gave up 43 points at home. Alabama is a bit more potent with Tagovailoa at quarterback and 50 points should be attainable after scoring 58 last year.
Tennessee is 1-7 ATS in its last eight following a straight-up win, while Alabama has failed to cover in its last five against a team with a losing record. The over is 6-1 in the last seven meetings between these schools and the Crimson Tide are 11-3-1 ATS in the last 15 between them.
Our Pick – Tennessee +35