Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Tennessee Volunteers Betting Picks

October 22, 2020

Date:Saturday, October 24th
Time:3:30 PM ET
Network:CBS
Venue:Neyland Stadium
Spread:Alabama -21
O/U:62.5

The 4-0 Alabama Crimson Tide will go on the road Saturday to face off with the 2-2 Tennessee Volunteers at 3:30 PM ET in Neyland Stadium. The Crimson Tide come in as 21-point away favorites and we’re expecting plenty of points with a 62.5 over/under. The Tide are once again the class of the SEC and a team that looks close to unbeatable by anyone but Clemson and maybe Ohio State. Tennessee has shown flashes, but the consistency just isn’t there. Let’s dive into who will win this game and cover the spread in the process. 

When The Alabama Crimson Tide Have The Ball

After getting a tough test against a relatively weak Ole Miss team, Alabama showed up in a big way against Georgia and beat the Bulldogs 41-24. The Crimson Tide are averaging nearly 50 points per game, sitting right next to the Clemson Tigers as the best team in College Football and it’s by a wide margin from number three. 

QB Mac Jones inched closer to Trevor Lawrence and sits at +460 in the Heisman Trophy odds after beating up on the Georgia Bulldogs. He’s completed 78% of his passes for 1,518 yards, 12 TD’s, and two interceptions. He’s looked close to flawless in the pocket and has some of the best weapons in College Football to play with. 

Let’s start in the backfield with Najee Harris, who might be the best running back we’ve seen come out of Alabama since Mark Ingram. Sorry Trent Richardson, but Harris looks a bit faster and he can certainly catch the ball better. Harris has rushed for 499 yards and 11 touchdowns on top of eight catches for another 86 yards. Harris is the focal point of this offense and he’ll see 20+ carries in this matchup. 

You know the names Jaylen Waddle and Devonta Smith. Waddle is possibly the fastest receiver in College Football and Smith might be the most all-around talent. It’s impossible to keep large enough tabs on both of these guys for four quarters. John Metchie III is an excellent third receiver and he forces defenses to pay anytime they over-commit to the stars. He’s done the least damage of the bunch and has still scored three times on top of 348 times.  Waddle has caught the ball 25 times for 557 yards and four touchdowns while Smith has reeled in 35 balls for 483 yards and four scores of his own. Jones spreads it out to these three guys effectively and it’s fair to expect another 300-400 receiving yards out of the bunch.

When The Tennessee Volunteers Have The Ball

The Tennessee Volunteers looked phenomenal in the first two games of the season, beating SEC-foes Missouri and South Carolina with ease. That’s when they went into Georgia to face off with the third-ranked Bulldogs. The Volunteers actually led at halftime before Georgia locked in and obliterated the Vols in the second. They didn’t recover, letting the Kentucky Wildcats follow them up with a 34-7 beating a week ago. The Vols have now lost two straight and are looking to avoid a three-game skid. It won’t be easy and quite frankly, they’re going to lose three straight. 

The offense is led by Senior QB Jarrett Guarantano. He’s not going to single-handedly win you any game, but he also won’t be the reason you lose and he calls a very clean game under center. He’s thrown for 752 yards with just four touchdowns and three interceptions. They need a lot more out of the veteran in the Red Zone. He’s rushed for another three scores and does use his size well around the goal line. 

This is a team that wants to set everything up with the running game. Eric Gray and Ty Chandler equally share the backfield and bring much different challenges to the plate for opposing defenses. Both picking up over 50 carries, Gray has rushed for 298 yards while Chandler is at 238. They’ve both scored twice. They’re also both effective in the passing game, combining for 20 catches, 166 yards, and a score. Gray is slightly better, but they can both catch it and take it to the house.

When Guarantano drops back to pass, he’s typically looking for either Josh Palmer or Brandon Johnson. Outside of Eric Gray, they’re the only pass-catchers with double-digit receptions and 100+ yards. Palmer has caught three of the Vols four passing touchdowns and is one of the premier receiving talents in the country. Against Bama, he’ll likely see 10+ targets and none of them will come easy. 

Spread Prediction

The Pick: Alabama -21

The Volunteers have seemed to lose all signs of life after they left the locker room against Georgia two weeks ago. They need an easy win to get back on track and a matchup with the Alabama Crimson Tide is certainly not what the doctor ordered. The Tide aren’t going to give them an inch and I expect Tennessee to just give up after ‘Bama takes an early lead. They’re going to run all over the place with Najee Harris and then throw it deep once the Vols are forced to step up. 

The Crimson Tide offense is high-powered and there’s no evidence of Tennessee slowing worse offenses down. Their own offense isn’t built to keep up and Guarantano will have to have a career-performance if this is going to stay close. It won’t happen and the Crimson Tide are going to lay the hammer down in this game. This is one of my three favorite bets of the weekend and I project Alabama wins by 30+ points. Tennessee has all but given up and this is only going to make it ugly. 

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Total Prediction

I don’t like trusting Tennessee to score very many points in this game. While the Crimson Tide defense didn’t look very good against Ole Miss, they tightened up and seemed to figure some things out against Georgia. The firepower just isn’t there on the Vols side. Alabama will put up around 40 points here against a decent SEC defense and I’m not willing to bet Tennessee gets over 20. Give me the under here, though I still prefer laying money with ‘Bama and the spread. 

The Pick: Under 62.5. Final Score Prediction: Alabama 45, Tennessee 13
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