No. 20 LSU Tigers (7-3 SU, 5-4-1 ATS) vs. Tennessee Volunteers (4-6 SU, 3-7 ATS)
College Football Week 14
Date/Time: Saturday November 18th, 2017. 7:00PM (EST)
Where: Neyland Stadium Knoxville, T.N.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: LSU -15.5/TENN +15.5
Over/Under Total: 46
The Butch Jones era ended last week when the Tennessee Volunteers suffered a 50-17 blowout at the hands of Missouri. It was the 7th straight loss against SEC opponents for the Volunteers and it was ugly as the defense gave up nearly 700 yards of total offense. After weeks of lobbying from the Tennessee faithful, fans finally got their wish on Sunday when Jones was let go and Brady Hoke was moved into the interim Head Coaching position. Now the Volunteers will try to turn things around and salvage their bowl hopes when the host the no. 20 LSU Tigers inside Neyland Stadium this Saturday.
Personally, I have always thought that Jones was overrated. In fact, if it were not for a few miracles last year, he possibly would have been fired at the end of 2016. I dont understand why it took Tennessee so long to part ways with Jones. I know most people will argue that nothing is gained from firing a coach midseason. However, I would argue that the overall emotional state of the Tennessee program has grown worse with each passing week. I mean this is a team that just got completely throttled by one of the worst teams in the SEC by way of Missouri and it was not even close. If you are telling me that this team has not given up, then I do not believe you.
Now it is up to Hoke to get the psychological factor turned around in hopes Tennessee can be competitive. Unfortunately, the biggest challenges for Hoke outside of the psychological factor is that this team just does not have much to work with on the offensive side of the football. Its hard to win football games when you are struggling at the quarterback position and the Volunteers have had a whirlwind of problems behind center. Tennessee has had 3 different quarterbacks share time under center this season between Quinten Dormady, Jarrett Guarantano, and Will McBride. However, Tennessee quarterbacks have combined for just 8 passing touchdowns on the season compared to 9 interceptions while completing just 55% passing.
Running back John Kelly has been the only bright spot for this Tennessee offense but defenses also understand the Vols limitations throwing the football. Therefore, opponents have focused on stopping the run and have been victorious in doing so as Tennessee is averaging just 13.8 points per game over their last 7 games. If you matchup those challenges against LSUs stout defense, it appears those issues could be magnified when both schools tangle in Knoxville this weekend. The Tigers defense have held opponents to just 19 points per game in the last 5 games against some of the better offensive teams in the country. This defense is extremely talented in the secondary and along the defensive line which plays into the weaknesses of this Tennessee offense.
Another reason I believe this game does not bode well for Tennessee is because of the mismatch on the other side of the football. LSU houses a strong and physical power rushing attack led by Derrius Guice and Darrel Williams. The two backs have combined for more than 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground this season. Guice has especially come alive in recent weeks with big games against Ole Miss (276 rushing yards) and against last week in the win over Arkansas when he rushed for 147 yards with 3 scores. Compare that to a Tennessee defense that is the 3rd worst team in all of college football against the run yielding more than 250 yards per game and you have a recipe for disaster.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Not only is the matchup a complete disadvantage for this Tennessee team but I am still concerned about their overall effort. Another lackluster performance could let this game get away from them quick, but I imagine that will be the case either way. Take LSU -15.5. Bet this game for FREE by taking advantage of a FAT 100% bonus up to $1000 at MyBookie! (Use Promo Code: PRDCT14)