College Football Week 4 Betting: Akron Zips at Tennessee VolunteersAkron vs. Tennessee
Time: 7:30 PM EST
Spread: TENN -33
Betting Odds from Bookmaker
From my Season preview about the Volunteers:
The Volunteers return one of the most experienced OLs in recent history, with 99 starts between them, which is quite an improvement from the three starts combined prior to 2010.
QB Tyler Bray is one of 18 returning starters and the 6’6″ QB has the size and strength to stay tough in the pocket until he settles on a receiver. He’s best in the pocket but has show decent scrambling abilities so far.
At TB, the Vols will use a combination of Rajion Neal, Marlin Lane, and Devrin Young. At FB, they will use Ben Bartholomew.
Tennessee is loaded at wide out. They have Justin Hunter returning from ACL injury, but will miss All SEC pick Da’Rick Rogers, who failed a drug test, was indefinitely suspended, then transferred to Tennessee Tech. However, they’ll be bringing aboard the #1 JUCO prospect in Cordarrelle Patterson. TE Michael Rivera will be back, as will Cameron Clear, who has the size to be make a difference as a sophomore.
At LT, they will use Antonio “Tiny” Richardson and Dallas Thomas will slide to left guard. Ja’Wuan James is going to start at RT and they have four veterans coppering for two spots at center and right guard.
Tennessee should be good keeping the ball in the air, but their running game must improve vastly. Athlon magazine predicts an improvement from last year, with a 7-5 projected record that includes 3-5 in the SEC (improvement comes slow sometimes). They have an easier schedule, too, which also makes an improvement on last year’s record likely.
Tennessee had rallied behind the strength of a strong passing game, bolstered by their awesome offensive line as I mentioned in the preview for the season, but last week they had all they could take against then No. 18 Florida. The loss took the Volunteers from being ranked No. 23 to out of the top 25 AP poll.
It wasn’t a strong showing from a Tennessee team facing its first challenge of the season, as the Volunteers suffered a breakdown, allowing the Florida Gators to reel off the game’s final 24 points to win the game in Knoxville.
Tyler Bray threw 22 of 44 passes for completion, amassing 257 yards, but he also threw his first two interceptions of the season.
Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said the Vols had “a great game” but just “let it slip away” and that they are “going to have to learn from it…make sure (we) don’t make those kinds of mistakes again.”
Against a much weaker Akron team this week, it may not matter if they do. The Volunteers are favored by an outstanding 33 points against a Zips team that went 1-11 last year and is predicted by Athlon magazine to go 2-10 this year. Improvement comes where it may.
Bray is a 6’6″ junior who has improved every year thus far. Last season, he threw for a 144.8 QB rating, but is up to a 157.1 this year, a figure inflated by his 90 percent completion ratio against Georgia State, a 51-13 Tennessee win in which Bray threw for 310 yards and four TDs. If he and the talented core of Vols receivers can keep ti rolling, Akron will lose by over four touchdowns, as college football oddsmakers predict.
The Zips have some passing skills of their own, though, and rank 5th in the nation in passing yardage with 378 per game. It’s mostly aided by big games against Morgan State (66-6 win) and Florida International (38-41 loss).
In the three point loss to the Florida Int’l Golden Panthers, they dropped it in OT as they blew a 20-7 early lead an allowed the Golden Panthers to clinch it on a 41 yard field goal by Jack Griffin in the extra time. Zips QB Dalton Williams led Akron with 313 passing yards and he threw three straight TDs prior to the half.
THE FINAL WORD:
Akron isn’t that good of a team, but if Williams plays to the best of his capabilities, they could cover the spread. Betting is going about even, with 52 percent of the bettors choosing the home team Volunteers to cover the spread. However, 82.4 percent of bettors on Bookmaker had chosen to go with the OVER the point total of 65 set by college football oddsmakers. This may be because the OVER is 9-2 in the last 11 Tennessee non-conf games, and the OVER is 18-7-1 in the last Tennessee 26 games in September. In addition to this, the OVER has gone 6-0 in the last 6 Akron games following an SU win. The OVER is also 19-8-1 in the last 28 Tennessee games after allowing more than 450 total yards in the previous game.
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