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SEC action here as the number one team in the country, the Alabama Crimson Tide, will travel to Tennessee to take on the Volunteers. Last Saturday, Tua Tagovailoa left with a leg injury that looked scary at first, but he appears to be alright. Tennessee is coming off by far the biggest win of the Jeremy Pruitt era, a shocking upset over Auburn.
Tua Injured In Win
Alabama made easy work of Missouri, beating them 39-10, but the main story from the game was Tua’s injury. All indications are that Tua is fine, but the team may still opt to sit him this week as a precaution. He’s vital to the team’s national championship hopes, and they likely don’t need him to win this game.
If he sits, it’ll be Jalen Hurts under center for Alabama, who has plenty of starting experience. Hurts led the Crimson Tide to back to back national title game appearances, and would be more than capable of defeating this Vols team. Alabama has been a machine on both sides of the ball this year, dominating teams through the air and pairing their dynamic offense with a stifling defense.
Only 23 seconds into the game and Tua Tagovailoa is already doing Tua Tagovailoa things. pic.twitter.com/a15VxeYGcL
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) October 13, 2018
They’ve allowed more than 14 points just twice all season, and have won every game by at least 22 points. They impose their will in the trenches, and even Hurts should be able to dominate this Volunteers secondary. Tennessee will be riding high off their win over Auburn, and will likely come out a bit sleepy here. If this one gets away from them early, it could turn into a bloodbath.
Volunteers Get Season Defining Win
It’s been a rough calendar year for the Volunteers. They fired coach Butch Jones last year, and had a disastrous coaching search that included the botched hiring of Greg Schiano and several candidates removing themselves from the search. They finally settled on Pruitt, and his reign got off to a rough start.
The team was blown out by West Virginia, Florida, and Georgia, and before last week its only wins were over an FCS school and UTEP, one of the worst FBS schools in the nation. Nonetheless they’ve been playing hard, and the effort issues that plagued the team under Jones are gone.
Tennessee uses a fairly conservative offense, which avoids asking Sophomore quarterback Jarrett Guarantano to do too much. Guarantano finally came alive against Auburn, and Pruitt will need to open the offense up and allow him to sling it again if they want to have any chance of keeping up with Alabama.
Pruitt was the defensive coordinator at Alabama the previous two seasons, but that familiarity likely won’t help him much here. Tennessee should be dominated on both sides of the ball, and this one will likely be just about over by halftime.
- 1-5 ATS in their last 6 home games
- 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following a straight up win
- 7-21 ATS in their last 28 home games vs. a team with a winning road record
- 10-3-1 ATS last 14 in series.
- 7-1 ATS last 8 on the road in series.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I like Alabama a lot here, no matter who is starting at quarterback. It may matter in a college playoff game against a tougher opponent, but it won’t here. Hurts could easily lead a beatdown of Tennessee if called upon, and I think the Volunteers will be busy patting themselves on the back after last week’s win. I like Alabama to dominate from start to finish, and think they’ll easily cover this spread.
Full-Game Total Pick
Alabama, will put up a ton of points, that isn’t really in question. The only question is whether Tennessee can also put up some points here, which I think they can. Alabama’s defense looked shaky against Arkansas, and the Volunteers’ passing game is finally starting to come alive. Alabama could realistically put up 50+ points on any given Saturday, and I think this game has a very good chance of going over.
Half-Time Side Pick
Alabama almost always starts hot, and is crushing their opponent at halftime. Nick Saban likes to crush his opponents’ wills early on, and wants to dominate from the opening snap. Expect to see Alabama do everything in their power to beat down the Vols right from the first whistle, and I don’t see them being up less than three touchdowns at the break.
Prediction: Alabama -18.5
Half-Time Total Bet
I like the first half over a lot. Alabama’s offense always starts hot, and their defense has looked a bit shaky in recent weeks. 31.5 isn’t very much at all to clear in a game involving Alabama, and I wouldn’t be shocked if Alabama approaches this number on their own in the first half.
Prediction: Over 31.5