This Saturday the No. 4 Alabama Crimson Tide (6-1, 2-4-1 ATS) will travel to Knoxville to take on the Tennessee Volunteers (3-4, 3-4 ATS). Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 EST at Neyland Stadium and will be televised on ESPN2. Oddsmakers currently have Alabama listed as a 17.5-point road favorite over the Volunteers.
Not all that surprising to see the Crimson Tide heavily favored in this matchup after how these two teams performed this past Saturday. Alabama made a huge statement with a 59-0 blowout win over Texas A&M as a 11.5-point favorite, while Tennessee lost 3-34 at Ole Miss as a 15-point dog. Alabama has won 7 straight in the series, including a 45-10 home win last year.
Early Lean on Tennessee +17.5
As good as Alabama looked last week against the Aggies, I think there’s some value here with the Volunteers catching 17-points at home. The Crimson Tide haven’t exactly looked all that great away from Tuscaloosa this season. They only beat West Virginia by 10-points on a neutral field, lost outright at Ole Miss 17-23 and barely escaped with a 14-13 win at Arkansas. Most importantly, they failed to cover the spread in all three.
This is also a difficult spot for Alabama. The Crimson Tide have grown a hatred for Texas A&M over the last few years and they clearly were up for that game. With the way they have dominated Tennessee in the series and a bye on deck before their huge game at LSU, I could definitely see Alabama not giving the Volunteers the respect they deserve. Tennessee on the other hand is going to be up for this one. Not only because of last week’s ugly loss to Ole Miss, but because it’s Alabama. Even though the Rebels are ranked higher in the polls, I still think the Volunteers were looking ahead to this matchup.
Favorites of 10.5 to 21 points at least 7 games into the season who are allowing 16 or fewer ppg against an opponent that’s giving up 21 to 28 ppg after allowing 17 points or less in back-to-back games are just 23-56 (29%) ATS since 1992.
Tennessee isn’t as bad as what we saw last week in their loss to Ole Miss. The Volunteers only trailed 14-3 late in the 3rd quarter, before things spiraled out of control. What killed Tennessee is 4 turnovers. As good as Alabama has been defensively, they aren’t creating a ton of turnovers. The Crimson Tide have forced 1 or fewer turnovers in 5 of their 7 games this season. Keep in mind that this is a team that nearly upset Georgia on the road and gave a quality Oklahoma team all they could handle.
Alabama managed just 227 yards of total offense in their last road game against Arkansas, which has me thinking the Volunteers and their underrated stop unit can keep the Crimson Tide from turning this into blowout. Tennessee comes in ranked 19th in the country in total defense, allowing just 325.9 ypg. The Volunteers have also played a lot better on defense at home, where they are allowing just 3.3 yards/carry and a mere 4.4 yards/completion.
There’s a strong system in play suggesting a fade of Alabama. Favorites of 10.5 to 21 points at least 7 games into the season who are allowing 16 or fewer ppg against an opponent that’s giving up 21 to 28 ppg after allowing 17 points or less in back-to-back games are just 23-56 (29%) ATS since 1992.