Tennessee Volunteers (3-3 SU, 1-5 ATS) vs. No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (7-0 SU, 3-4 ATS)
College Football Week 8
Date/Time: Saturday October 21st, 2017. 3:30PM (EST)
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium Tuscaloosa, A.L.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: TENN +34.5/ALA -34.5
Over/Under Total: TBA
With Clemsons lost last week to Syracuse, there is no longer a debate about the best team in college football at least from a rankings perspective. Now the undisputed top ranked Alabama Crimson Tide will host the Tennessee Volunteers as huge home favorites when both teams meet inside Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Crimson Tide will actually be around 34.5 point favorites when this game kicks off on Saturday marking the 6th straight game that Alabama has been favored by more than 20 points. With the increasing expectations from odds makers, Alabama has failed to cover the spread in 4 of their last 6 games and they will have another lofty challenge to cover the 34.5 point mark this weekend at home against the Volunteers.
I understand the trouble that odds makers must have putting a number on this Crimson Tide team. They are completely dominant on both sides of the football. The defense has given up just 31 points in the last 4 games combined against all SEC opponents. Meanwhile, the offense has bullied their way towards 193 points during that same time period mainly behind a power rushing attack that is averaging over 300 yards per game on the ground. The offensive line has been outstanding along with running backs Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough who have combined for just less than 1,000 yards with 13 scores. Quarterback Jalen Hurts has not been needed often but he has been efficient throwing the football with 8 touchdowns and just 1 pick. Hurts has also contributed to Alabamas running game with 558 yards and 6 scores on the season. When you combine the ability to move the football without resistance, keep your offense on the field, then have the backbone of a dynamic defense, you have a Nick Saban recipe for success.
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Now I am not ready to crown the Crimson Tide champions. I still believe the offense has some vulnerability especially if they ever get into a situation where they need to rely on Hurts throwing capabilities. I am just not sure who in the SEC can put them into a compromising position based on what I have seen in the last few weeks. Maybe Georgia can challenge the Crimson Tide, perhaps Auburn, but certainly not Tennessee. The Volunteers dropped another home loss last week against South Carolina 15-9 to move to 3-3 SU on the season and 0-3 in conference play. It has just been ugly. The offense cannot move the football and the defense is just trying to hang on. I mean this Tennessee teams only win in the last month was a 17-13 nail biter against UMASS.
The sad thing surrounding Tennessees uneasy start is the fact that the Volunteers have talent. It was apparent last week against South Carolina, it was apparent in the loss to Florida, and it was definitely apparent in the 2nd half rally to Georgia Tech. The problem is that the talent is not producing. Whether the reason is play calling, coaching, motivation, or whatever else, then I am not sure. However, I can see why the fan base has lost total support for Butch Jones. This team simply looks lost and I honestly believed that Jones would be fired following the loss to South Carolina. As of Monday at the time that I am writing this preview, Jones still has a job.
For Tennessee to turn things around, they need to find some energy. The team that took the field last week against South Carolina did not have any energy and it was apparent in the 2nd half when a bad Gamecocks offensive line dominated Tennessees defensive front. The Gamecocks actually outrushed Tennessee by over 150 yards in the 2nd half alone. Now that same team will go on the road to Tuscaloosa against the best power rushing team/offensive line in the country? I know the spread is high for this game but I just do not have any faith in this Tennessee team to do anything right.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Something is going to happen to cause Butch Jones to get fired. Perhaps another blowout loss will be the final straw. Take Alabama -34.5. – Bet this game for FREE by taking advantage of a 50% bonus up to $250 at one of the web’s oldest and most trusted betting sites: BOVADA