Tennessee vs. Alabama kicks off this Saturday at 3:30pm EST in Tuscaloosa Alabama as a home game for the Crimson Tide. Tennessee is currently a +9.5 underdog and +290 on the moneyline while the total is set at 49.5. Read on for more Tennessee vs. Alabama best bets and predictions as the Volunteers look to keep this closer than expected by covering the spread.
Tennessee Vs. Alabama Prediction & Best Bet
Even with both Tennessee and Alabama heading into this contest with one loss a piece, both teams have severely underwhelmed at this point of the season. Skating by with close wins and lowly metrics, this showdown between two powerhouse SEC squads will serve as an elimination game to whoever ends up with the loss. While who may win is still a mystery, advanced metrics at least indicate that this contest may be a lot closer than the spread implies.
That plays heavily towards Tennessee’s favor as they come into this one as a near double digit underdog. Projections immediately show value towards the Vols as reputable oddsmakers have them pegged as a +5.5 underdog, giving them value at any number higher than +7. Even with their offense mightily struggling per last year’s performance, the Vols are in a great position to cover the number as they look to shake up the SEC scene.
That all starts with their defense, a unit that has quietly put together a very impressive performance so far into the season. As a whole, the Vols defense ranks fourth in Def Success Rate, 17th in Points per Opportunity, and 21st in Havoc. They do struggle to contain Explosiveness, ranking 95th as a whole, yet that mainly pertains to the run as they rank 121st in Def Rush Explosiveness. While that may raise some eyebrows, Vols fans can rest assured that the Crimson Tide will struggle to take advantage as they rank 80th in Rush Explosiveness.
In fact, Alabama as a whole mightily struggles in nearly every facet of the offense. When they are not connecting on explosive plays through the air, Alabama’s offense has looked mediocre at best when trying to generate downfield success. They currently rank 69th in Success Rate, 44th in Points per Opportunity, and 83rd in Havoc Allowed. Those struggles can be pointed towards their lack of ground game, dipping those metrics to 65th in Rush PPA, 80th in Rush Explosiveness, and 65th in Rush Success Rate.
Numbers alone, it’s tough to see how Alabama generates enough offense to crack the Vols impressive defensive metrics. Especially with Tennessee capable of limiting the only good thing Alabama’s offense has going for them, ranking 38th in Def Pass Explosiveness. Factor in ability for Tennessee’s offense to find success on the ground off the back of Jaylen Wright and they will be in a great position to keep the score tight, if not win outright.
Tennessee Vs. Alabama Prediction & Best Bet: Tennessee +9.5
Tennessee Vs. Alabama Betting Odds
Even with Alabama’s advanced metrics being severely underwhelming per Alabama standards, this is still their game to lose as oddsmakers suggest by opening the Vols as a +9.5 underdog. Bettors believe that number was opened a tad too high, taking them down to as low as +8 in some shops as of writing.
As for the total, points are expected to be scored at a moderate pace as oddsmakers opened the total at 49.5. That is a sharp decrease from the lookahead line, originally sitting at 66.5 a few weeks ago. Bettors still believe the reopener was still too high, taking the under down to 48.5. Coupling the Vols heavy dose of the run with Alabama’s offensive struggles and an under may be in the cards should this bounce back up to 49.
Tennessee Vs. Alabama Key Matchups
Can Jaylen Wright run wild against the Tide’s defense?
Jaylen Wright Vs. Alabama Front Seven
As previously mentioned, the Vols offensive success will largely rely on their star running back Jaylen Wright’s production. He has been their main source of success while Joe Milton struggles to get the pass game going, leading the Vols offense to metrics of 22nd in Rush PPA, 29th in Rush Success Rate, and 50th in Rush Explosiveness.
Jaylen Wright: 8 Carries of 10+ Yards vs Texas A&M
Most by any Running Back in Week 7💨 pic.twitter.com/NpssSkNLXT
— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 17, 2023
This makes for an intriguing battle in the mid field as the Crimson Tide front seven ranks ninth in Def Rush Success Rate. Cutting the distance to gain in half will go a long way in helping the Vols offense generate downfield success. While gains may come at a minimum at times, Wright will have breakout potential as the Tide ranks 89th in Def Rush Explosiveness.