College Football Week 1 Predictions: Utah State Aggies vs. Tennessee Volunteers

Utah State Aggies vs. Tennessee Volunteers
Sunday, 8/31/14, 7:00 PM EST
Opening Point Spread:  Tennessee -6
Current Betting Line:  Tennessee -6
Opening Total:  N/A
Current Total:  N/A
Odds Courtesy of 5Dimes

Utah State QB Chuckie Keeton may sit in the pocket more in 2014 due to last year's season-ending injury
Utah State QB Chuckie Keeton may sit in the pocket more in 2014 due to last year’s season-ending injury

Utah State has dropped 16 consecutive road openers, but the last four have each been decided by seven or fewer points, which can’t be ignored when looking over the college football betting lines in Week 1.  The Aggies have gone to a school record three straight bowl games, but face an uphill climb in continuing that streak due to the return of just eight overall starters.  Senior quarterback Chuckie Keeton is part of that equation, but he’s coming off a major injury.  Utah State is 7-2 ATS as road underdogs since the 2011 campaign.

The Aggies due have four All-Mountain West Conference players returning defensively—a unit that ranked among the top 15 nationally in four categories, including seventh in scoring defense and 12th in total yards allowed.  Utah State linebacker Zach Vigil will lead the group after amassing 124 tackles as a junior, while also collecting two sacks and recovering two fumbles.  On the offensive end, the squad may struggle even with Keeton in the fold, as he figures to be less mobile and that could prove troublesome behind a youthful group up front.

Tennessee needs to regain the enthusiasm of one of the more loyal fan bases in the country, considering it hasn’t drawn more than 100,000 to a home opener at Neyland Stadium since 2007.  The Volunteers have won 19 consecutive home openers, which is important to consider when making your college football predictions.  Second-year head coach Butch Jones welcomes back 10 total starters, including senior quarterback Justin Worley, but Joshua Dobbs is another player to keep a watchful eye on at that position.  Tennessee is 22-31-1 ATS as a home favorite over the last 10 seasons.

The Volunteers have some playmakers on the perimeter for their signal-callers to target, with three returners averaging over 14.5 yards per catch a year ago.  On the other side of the football, Tennessee will rely heavily on a secondary that returns six of its eight top players in facing Keeton, with free safety Brian Randolph being one of the best at his position in the Southeastern Conference.

Sports bettors will likely back play the total, as the OVER is 13-4 in the Volunteers last 17 non-conference games.

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