This Saturday the No. 8 Alabama Crimson Tide (6-1) will host the Tennessee Volunteers (3-3) inside SEC play. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 EST at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa and will be televised nationally on CBS. Our Week 8 NCAAF betting lines show Alabama listed as a 15.5-point favorite with the total set at 56 points.
Alabama enters this contest off an impressive 41-23 win on the road against Texas A&M as a 5-point favorite, giving them 4 straight wins by at least 13-point since their 37-43 upset loss at home to Ole Miss. The Crimson Tide will be taking on a Tennessee team that will be returning from their bye looking to build on a 38-31 win at home against Georgia as a 2-point underdog.
The series has been dominated by the Crimson Tide of late, as Alabama has won 5 straight by an average of a 19 points/game. Last year the Volunteers fell behind 27-0 early in the 2nd quarter, but only ended up losing 20-34 as a 20-point underdog. Tennessee hasn’t won in Tuscaloosa since a 51-43 victory back in 2003.
Early Lean on Tennessee +15.5
Alabama has reclaimed it’s status as one of the top teams in the SEC West and after last week’s blowout win on the road against Texas A&M in a game many thought the Tide would lose outright, the betting public is sure to be on the Crimson Tide at home against the Volunteers. I think it’s resulted in an inflated line here that has to make you like Tennessee catching over 2 touchdowns.
The Volunteers may be just 3-3 on the season, but could very easily be 6-0 and ranked right there alongside Alabama in the Top 10. Tennessee blew a 14-point lead at home to Oklahoma in a 24-31 overtime loss in Week 2, they then managed to blow a 13-point lead with just over 4 minutes to play in a 27-28 loss at Florida. Keeping the trend going, they jumped out to a 14-0 lead at home against Arkansas, only to lose 20-24. The Volunteers finally got the money off their back in close games, erasing a 21-point deficit in a 38-31 win at home against Georgia.
You could make a strong argument that the Volunteers are the most talented team in the SEC East and that’s where you really start to see the value here, as Alabama was a 1.5-point dog at Georgia, which means they would have been only a 2.5 to 3 point home favorite against the Bulldogs. Tennessee isn’t just capable of keeping it close enough to cover, but the Volunteers could actually pull off the upset.
Alabama is 0-4 ATS this season at home, including a recent 13-point win over Arkansas as an identical 15.5-point favorite to what we see here and just 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games after covering their last contest.
One of the things you have to like about Tennessee is the scheduling advantage that they have going into this game. The Volunteers are coming off a bye and you can be assured that they have used every bit of the extra week of preparation to prepare for this game. Alabama on the other hand is coming off a huge game on the road against Texas A&M and have an even bigger game on deck next week against undefeated and No. 5 ranked LSU. A game that could potentially propel the Crimson Tide into a 1st place tie in the SEC West if they were to beat both the Volunteers and Tigers.
Something else to keep in mind with the Crimson Tide’s big win against Texas A&M, is Alabama only outgained the Aggies by 80 yards and had just 1 more first down (17-16). Texas A&M beat themselves with 4 turnovers, three of which were interceptions that the Crimson Tide returned for a touchdown. The Alabama offense only accounted for 2 touchdowns and 2 field goals.
We also find a strong system in play favoring a fade of the Crimson Tide. Home favorites of 10.5 to 21 points that are giving up 2.75 or less yards/carry against the run are just 24-53 (31%) ATS after allowing 40 or less rushing yards in their last game since 1992. Alabama is 0-4 ATS this season at home, including a recent 13-point win over Arkansas as an identical 15.5-point favorite to what we see here and just 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games after covering their last contest.