Time: Noon EST, Saturday
Spread: SOCA -14
M/L: SOCA -525, TENN +425
Betting Odds from Bookmaker
The Tennessee Volunteers have done about what people expected thus far this season: beat the bat teams and lose to the ranked ones. The Vols, losers of their past three, have faced some tough opponents in recent weeks. Three weeks ago they lost to then No.5 Georgia, before dropping games to Miss State (then-No. 19) and Alabama (No. 1 overall).
This week won’t provide much respite. Facing a tough South Carolina Gamecocks squad, the Vols enter the game as 14 point underdogs according to college football oddsmakers.
Keeping the game close will require something the Vols haven’t had all season: defense. They’ve given up at least 41 points each of the last three weeks and rank near the bottom of the nation in points allowed, surrendering 33.3 per game. The offense has been solid, 34.4 points per game, but they can’t beat these ranked AP opponents without some help from the defense.
I wrote in my Tennessee team preview this year that Sal Sunseri is one of the more versatile defensive coordinators in the college ranks and has tried a number of schemes for the UT ‘D,’ all of which have failed. They ranked 9th in the SEC in scoring allowed last year, giving up 22.6 per game, but this year takes the struggle to an entire new level. They struggled against the run last year, and this year has been much of the same.
That won’t bode well against the 13th ranked South Carolina Gamecocks, though they are a defensively oriented team for the most part (a polar opposite of UT). Marcus Lattimore will be starting this Saturday after nursing an injury last week, and he’s going to give the Vols fits.
Lattimore’s rushed for 597 yards and 10 TDs on the year, and has three games with 100+ yards (@Vandy, @Kentucky and at home vs. Georgia). Lattimore should be able to get thing going on the ground against the weak DL of Tennessee, who have had trouble stopping the better running backs all season.
The Volunteers were predicted to finish 7-5 this season by Athlon magazine, and with a 3-4 record so far, they are going to have to get it cooking in SEC play, as they have yet to win a game against conference opponents (0-4).
TENNESSEE BETTING TRENDS:
Volunteers are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games following a double-digit loss at home. Vols are 2-5-1 ATS in their last 8 after allowing 40+ pts previous game, 3-8 ATS in their last 11 after allowing 450+ yards previous game, 2-9-1 ATS in their last 12 conference games. 1-8-1 ATS in their last 10 vs teams with winning records, 0-4 ATS in their last 4 following an SU loss of 20+
SOUTH CAROLINA BETTING TRENDS:
Gamecocks are 7-0 ATS in their last 7 following an ATS loss, 6-0 ATS in their last 6 at home, 5-0 ATS in their last 5 vs teams with losing records, 4-0 ATS in their last 4 after allowing less than 100 yards rushing previous game, 8-1 ATS in their last 9 on grass, 7-2 ATS in their last 9 following an SU loss.
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