The Alabama Crimson Tide have won four straight games in increasingly emphatic fashion. Now, with inconsistent Tennessee set to hit town for a Week 8 SEC showdown on Saturday, the question begs to be asked. Can the Tide cover the NCAA Football spread as two-touchdown-plus home favorites when they host the Volunteers at Bryant-Denny Stadium? Let’s find out.
How To Bet the Crimson Tide @ Volunteers NCAA Football Odds, TV & Game Info
When: Saturday, October 24, 3:30 PM ET
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
NCAAF Odds: Alabama -15
— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) October 20, 2015
Alabama Crimson Tide (6-1 SU, 3-4 ATS)
The Tide rolled all over the Texas A&M Aggies in their commanding 41-23, Week 7 win to easily cash in as 5-point road faves as star running back Derrick Henry rushed for 236 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries. The stirring performance extended Henry’s school record by scoring in his 12th consecutive game. “He’s a workhorse; he’s tough,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said of Henry. “He does a great job of instinctively running the plays the way he’s supposed to. The guy had a great game.” Henry has rushed for 901 yards through seven games and is averaging a healthy 5.93 yards per carry this season.
“Alabama did a great job of making plays early on in the first half,” Texas A&M linebacker A.J. Hilliard said. “We did a poor job of pressing our gaps and playing our defense the way we need to play it. A lot of that is one me. They were hitting up the middle and we just weren’t pressing our gaps. Derek Henry was hitting his holes and making it hurt.”
Defensively, the Tide forced Aggies’ quarterback Kyle Allen into a three-interception outing and just three points in the first and final quarters. “We were feeding off the secondary,” Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen said. “They were the ones hyping everyone up in the locker room.” The Tide will take on a Tennessee team that is averaging 37.2 points per contest this season, 32nd in the FBS.
Tennessee Volunteers (3-3 SU, 3-3 ATS)
Tennessee snapped its two-game losing streak by upsetting Georgia 38-31 in Week 6, in a come-from-behind thriller no less. The Vols stormed back from a daunting 21-point deficit to get the win as quarterback Joshua Dobbs completed 25 of 42 passes for 312 yards with three touchdowns and one interception while adding 118 rushing yards and two additional scores. “It’s awesome, having that trust of my teammates. I trust these guys with everything on and off the field,” Dobbs said. “I love my teammates. I’ll do anything for them. I tell them that all the time. We did a great job of having each other’s back – offense, defense, and special teams.”
Dobbs is the first player in Tennessee school history to ever to throw for 300 yards and rush for 100 yards in the same game, prompting praise from head coach Butch Jones. “It was just a very, very gutty performance. He made plays when we had to. I thought our receivers stepped up, made some big plays,” Jones said. “We were able to catch in advance. We talked about playing complementary football in all three phases. We gave them 14 points in the first half, but then you go on and you outscore a good football team 35 to 7. It speaks volumes.”
The win marked just the third time the Volunteers have beaten a ranked team in their last 30 tries. The Volunteers are 87th in the FBS in total defense, allowing a whopping 419.0 yards per game this season and they’ll face an Alabama team that is averaging 430.1 total yards per game this season, 47th in the FBS.
My Expert Game Analysis and Pick
While ‘just’ 56 percent of the betting public likes Alabama to cover the spread in this SEC showdown, I am firmly entrenched in backing the Tide and you should be too. You see, Alabama’s defense is firing on all cylinders at the moment and has at least three likely first round draft picks on their roster, starting with incomparable linebacker Reggie Ragland. I fully expect Derrick Henry and Alabama’s defense to dominate again against an inconsistent Tennessee that has talent but is at least another year away from really competing.
Tennessee is just 2-7 ATS in their last nine games following an SU win and just 1-4 ATS in their last five conference games. Conversely, Alabama has gone 8-2-1 ATS in their last 11 meetings against the Vols and 3-1-1 ATS in their last five home dates against Tennessee. With the Over going 4-1 in the last five meetings, I agree with the 63 percent of the betting public that likes the Over.
My Pick: Alabama 38 Tennessee 21