Tennessee Volunteers at #8 Alabama Crimson Tide
Bryant-Denny Stadium – Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Saturday, October 24, 3:30 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Opening Line: Alabama -14
Current Line: Alabama -15 1/2
Opening Total: 56
Current Total: 50 1/2
Opening Money Line: Alabama -650 / Tennessee +500
Current Money Line: Alabama -700 / Tennessee +550
The 6-1 Alabama Crimson Tide host the 3-3 Tennessee Volunteers Saturday. Alabama is 3-1 in the SEC West in second behind 4-0 LSU. Tennessee is 1-2 in the SEC East and in fourth place.
This game is known as the “Third Saturday in October Game” but is actually being played on the fourth Saturday in October this year. These two teams have been playing each other since 1901, and have met annually since 1928 with the exception of 1943. Alabama leads the series 51-38-7, and the Crimson Tide have won eight straight games in the series. Alabama won 34-20 last year in Knoxville. Seven of the eight games in the winning streak have been by double digits. Tennessee has not won against Alabama since 2006.
Tennessee is coached by Butch Jones. The Volunteers have home wins over Bowling Green 59-30, Western Carolina 55-10 and Georgia 38-31 two weeks ago. Tennessee has a road loss at Florida 28-27, plus home losses to Oklahoma 31-24 in double overtime and Arkansas 24-20. In each of the losses Tennessee had at least a 13 point lead. The Volunteers were off last week.
Tennessee was a 2.5 point underdog against Georgia and the total was 59.5. Georgia jumped out to a 24-3 lead early including a 96 yard fumble return for a touchdown and a 70 yard punt return for a touchdown. Tennessee scored two touchdowns in the last minute of the first half to make it 24-17 at halftime. The Volunteers scored two touchdowns in the third quarter to take a 31-24 lead. The Bulldogs tied it up at 31 early in the fourth. Tennessee regained the lead with 5:48 left in the fourth on a touchdown run from quarterback Joshua Dobbs. Georgia had two more chances to score, but were unable to tie the game. Tennessee had 519 total yards to 444 for Georgia. The Volunteers had two turnovers and the Bulldogs had one. Tennessee is 3-3 ATS and the total is 4-2 this season.
Alabama is coached by Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide have a home loss to Ole Miss 43-37. Alabama has a win over Wisconsin 35-17 in Arlington, Texas, road wins at Georgia 38-10 and last week at Texas A&M 41-23, plus home wins over Middle Tennessee 37-10, UL-Monroe 34-0, and Arkansas 27-14.
The Crimson Tide were 5 point favorites against Texas A&M and the total was 54.5. Alabama took a 28-13 lead at halftime. The first half featured two pick sixes by Alabama and a punt return for a touchdown by Texas A&M. The Crimson Tide took a 31-20 lead into the fourth quarter. The two teams exchanged field goals in the fourth before Alabama scored on their third pick six of the game. The Crimson Tide forced 4 Aggie turnovers. Alabama is 3-4 ATS and the total is 3-4 as well this season.
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Tennessee is outscoring teams 37-26 this season. The Volunteers are #22 in scoring nationally. Tennessee averages 435 total yards per game, including 213 passing and 222 rushing. The Volunteers are #19 in rushing, #80 in passing and #45 in total offense out of 128 teams. On defense, Tennessee is allowing 421 total yards per game including 249 passing and 173 rushing yards. The Volunteers are #77 or worse in all three categories. Tennessee has forced 8 turnovers and has 5 of their own. The Vols average 36 penalty yards per game and opponents average 56. Tennessee is 47/105 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 38/117. The Volunteers have forced 9 sacks and allowed 11 this season. Tennessee is 28/32 scoring in the red zone with 20 touchdowns and opponents are 17/22 with 11 touchdowns. The Volunteers have 2 kick returns and a punt return all for touchdowns, and have allowed two defensive/special teams touchdowns.
Quarterback Joshua Dobbs has thrown for 1,101 yards with 8 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, along with 73 carries for 368 yards and 3 touchdowns. Back-up Quinten Dormady has thrown for 93 yards and a touchdown.
Running back Jalen Hurd has 126 carries for 572 yards and 7 touchdowns, along with 9 catches for 85 yards and a touchdown. He is probable with an illness. Alvin Kamara has 45 carries for 255 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 15 catches for 108 yards and 2 touchdowns. John Kelly will also get a few carries. Running back Ralph Abernathy IV is questionable with an ankle injury.
Receiver Ethan Wolf has 15 catches for 213 yards and 2 touchdowns. Preston Williams has 7 catches for 158 yards and 2 touchdowns. Josh Malone has 17 catches for 169 yards and a touchdown. Josh Smith has 11 catches for 144 yards and a touchdown. Juaun Jennings has 10 catches for 100 yards, and also has a touchdown pass. Seven defensive players, three offensive linemen, and three wide receivers are on the injury report.
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Alabama is outscoring teams 36-17 this season. Alabama is #15 in points allowed and #32 in scoring. The Crimson Tide average 430 yards per game on offense including 231 passing and 199 rushing yards. Alabama is #46 or better in total and rushing offense. On defense, Alabama is allowing 272 yards per game including 201 passing and 71 rushing yards. Alabama is #6 in total defense and #3 in rush defense. The Crimson Tide have forced 16 turnovers and have 13 of their own. Alabama averages 60 penalty yards per game and opponents average 56. Alabama is 39/115 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 37/127. The Crimson Tide have forced 22 sacks and allowed 8 this season. Alabama is 26/30 scoring in the red zone with 19 touchdowns and opponents are 13/15 with 7 touchdowns. The Crimson Tide have four pick sixes and a punt return for a touchdown this season.
Quarterback Jake Coker has thrown for 1,376 yards with 11 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, along with 103 rushing yards on 34 carries and 2 touchdowns. Cooper Bateman has thrown for 244 yards with a touchdown and 2 interceptions.
Running back Derrick Henry has 152 carries for 901 yards and 12 touchdowns, plus 8 catches for 69 yards. He has a rushing touchdown in 12 straight games dating back to last season. Kenyan Drake has 55 carries for 255 yards and a touchdown, along with 15 catches for 178 yards and a touchdown. He is probable with a leg injury. Damien Harris has 31 carries for 105 yards.
Receiver Calvin Ridley has 38 catches for 437 yards and 3 touchdowns. ArDarius Stewart has 26 catches for 243 yards and 2 touchdowns. O.J. Howard has 19 catches for 235 yards. Richard Mullaney has 23 catches for 217 yards and 3 touchdowns. Robert Foster has 10 catches for 116 yards and 2 touchdowns, but is out for the season with a shoulder injury.
Tennessee is 10-22-1 ATS against teams with winning records, 2-5 against teams with winning home records, 7-20-1 after a cover, 2-7 after a straight up win, 1-4 in SEC games, and after rushing for 200 yards or more, and 3-12-1 and after passing for more than 280 yards. The over is 4-1 in this series recently. The road team is 14-5-1 ATS in this series recently.
Alabama is 4-1 ATS after passing for less than 170 yards, 14-5 in October, 5-11-1 after allowing less than 100 rushing yards, 1-5 after allowing less than 280 passing yards, 1-7 after a cover, 0-4 at home and after rushing for 200 yards or more. The favorite is 4-1 ATS in this series recently. The Crimson Tide are 8-2-1 ATS against the Volunteers recently including 3-1-1 in Tuscaloosa.
Alabama has dominated the series against Tennessee recently, and this game should be no different. I like Alabama to win comfortably and two touchdowns seems like a bargain.