A lot of people believe No. 9 Tennessee is finally ready to return to the SEC Championship Game this season with a loaded roster back — it’s probably win the SEC East Division or be fired coach Butch Jones. The Vols open the season against a very underrated Appalachian State team on Thursday night as big favorites on college football lines.
How To Bet Appalachian State at Tennessee NCAA Football Odds & TV Info
Why Bet on Appalachian State?
Last year, just the program’s second in the FBS, the Mountaineers finished 11-2. The Mountaineers were eligible to win the Sun Belt Conference last season, but a 40-27 home loss to Arkansas State led to a runner-up finish and trip to the Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, Ala., where they defeated Ohio 31-29.
They have as much momentum as anybody in the Sun Belt and should win their first FBS conference title this fall. Key returners are QB Taylor Lamb and all-purpose back Marcus Cox on offense. Defensively, nine starters return. Appalachian State’s defining moment came in 2007, when the Mountaineers became the first FCS team to beat a ranked Power 5 school, topping Big Ten favorite Michigan by a 34-32 count.
Appalachian State has won six consecutive games away from home at road venues and neutral sites, a streak that ranks tied for fourth-best at the FBS level. App, which returns 17-of- 22 starters from last season, is the preseason favorite in the Sun Belt in 2016. The Mountaineers and defending league champion, Arkansas State, tied with five first-place votes, but App had a 114-110 edge in total points in July’s preseason poll.
App State’s history against the SEC is short. The Mountaineers are 0-4 in the modern era against SEC opponents (0-2 LSU, 0-1 Florida, 0-1 Georgia). App State did play Auburn in 1930 and will open the 2017 season in Athens, Ga. against Georgia
Why Bet on Tennessee?
Tennessee returns 17 starters on offense (9) and defense (8), including the Vols’ four team captains — Joshua Dobbs, Alvin Kamara, Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Cameron Sutton.
This is the third consecutive season Jones has opened against an opponent from a Group of Five conference. In 2014 the Vols thoroughly dispatched (38-7) a Utah State team that finished 10-4. Last year, it took a half to get a grip (59-30) on Bowling Green, the eventual MAC champion.
UT offensive coordinator Mike DeBord said that the Vols expect to see a dynamic Appalachian State defense that can attack from a variety of directions. In 2015, the Mountaineers’ defense ranked 11th in the nation in total yards allowed (314.5 yards per game) and 14th in points per game allowed (19.1).
Tennessee has won its last seven season openers, outscoring its opposition by an average of 35.9 points in that span. UT has also won 21 consecutive season openers played in the state of Tennessee. UT will be playing its first Thursday home opener in 120 years. The Vols are 25-20- 7 all-time on Thursdays. UT’s last regular-season Thursday game was a 41-3 win over Ole Miss on Oct. 3, 1996 in Memphis. The Vols were ranked No. 9 in that game as well Tennessee is 8-0 all-time against current members of the Sun Belt Conference. Jones is 6-3 in his career in season openers with an average margin of victory of 15.3 points per game. Jones is also 5-0 when opening the season at home.
My Expert Pick
Mountaineers are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 non-conference games.
Mountaineers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
Volunteers are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
Volunteers are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 non-conference games.
I’m taking the points here on NCAA football lines. Go over.