Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Tennessee Volunteers – Week 9 NCAA Football Game Picks

No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide (7-0), -6.5, 41.5 O/U at Tennessee Volunteers (3-4), +6.5, 41.5 O/U
Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, T.N., 7:45PM Eastern, Saturday
By Jay Horne of

Alabama will have to go on the road in the SEC to Knoxville to try and keep their undefeated campaign alive. The number 2 ranked Crimson Tide captured a tough win last week against Ole Miss 24-20 and could be in another tight battle when they play the Volunteers. Tennessee has struggled at times this year and has completely had a down year considering a year ago they were playing for an SEC Championship at the end of the year. The Vols have struggled to score points this season and that has been major part to their 3-4 record. Last week Tennessee got some motivation knocking off Mississippi State 34-3 and hope that carries over to a big game against the Crimson Tide.

Tennessee is in a situation where they about have to get a big win to salvage their season. Nobody expected the Volunteers to lose 4 out of their first 7 games. Tennessee has been ugly on offense ranking in the bottom of the nation in most categories. The Vols are only averaging 19.7 points per game barely putting them in the top 100 teams in college football. The Volunteers have been held to only 170 yards per game passing while only running for 124 yards per game. Tennessee will need some things to change offensively to pull off an upset come Saturday night.

Alabama has been dominating this season at times and has also barely sneaked by teams at times this year. The Crimson Tide last two wins have been by a total of 7 points. The majority of the public remember their 31 points in the first half against Georgia and their demolishing of Clemson to start of the year. However, Alabama has had chances to have been beaten in the past few weeks. The Crimson Tide is averaging 32 points per game and they have showed the ability to put up big points in some big games this year. Offensively Alabama has been sound at rushing the ball averaging slightly over 200 yards per game ranking them in the top 20 in the nation. Alabama only averages around 161 yards per game through the air. Alabama hopes to establish the rushing game first and foremost in their attempt to knock off the Volunteers.

Books have the betting line posted favoring Alabama at a mark of -6.5. The over/under total has been posted at 41.5. Early action has nearly 90% of the public favoring Alabama ATS. However, the line has yet to shift possibly meaning the bookies are expecting a close game which Alabama has been accustomed to in recent weeks. Moneyline numbers have Alabama at -250 and Tennessee at +210.

Tennessee does have a bright spot despite their sluggish offense. The Vols defense has been very solid this season. The Vols defense is ranked eleventh in the nation holding teams to 267 total yards per game. The Tennessee defense has held teams to 16 points per game this season and despite their 4 losses they have been in some real close games this season. Tennessee defense gives the Vols a shot to win every game. The key will be if the Tennessee offense can contribute and help aid the cause in upsetting the undefeated Crimson Tide.

Another good defense unit will be on the field Saturday, when the Crimson Tide defense steps on the field. Alabama has held teams to 14 points per game and 276 total yards this season ranking in the top 20 in both categories. The Crimson Tide has a great rush defense ranking #4 in the nation holding teams to 66 yards per game. Alabama defense along with the strong rushing offense keeps the Crimson Tide in control in the pace of the game most of the time and that is a big key to their success.

Nick Stephens has taken over the QB position for Tennessee is recent weeks. While Stephens has not put up really big numbers he has not thrown any interceptions in the last 3 games. Stephens will keep the starting position from that simple fact that he has been able to hold onto the football. Tailback Arian Foster has led the ground attack carrying the football for 4.8 yards per carry. Foster has 381 yards per game this season on 79 carries. Despite nearly a 5 yard per carry average Foster has had limited carries so far early in the season. Foster could be a great asset in effort to get the Tennessee offense rolling.

Alabama QB Jonathon Parker Wilson has been solid this season completing 60% of his passes for 1072 yards. Parker has thrown for 8 touchdowns along with 3 picks. The running attack for the Crimson Tide is where the major success has been. Tailback Glen Coffee is averaging a strong 7.0 yards per carry. Coffee has racked up 760 yards this season averaging 108 yards per game. Running back Mark Ingram has also seen time in the backfield and has been getting an increasing work load in recent weeks. Ingram is averaging 4.9 yards per carry in his last two ball games and is becoming an additional threat in the Alabama rushing attack.

Tennessee is 2-4-1 ATS this season and 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games at home. Tennessee has gone on the under total in 5 of their last 5 games. Alabama is 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games on the road. Alabama is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 trips to Knoxville. Tennessee is 5-2 SU in their last 7 games at home against Alabama.

Jays Pick Against the Spread – Im thinking the Tide roll big in this one