Tennessee Tech at Tennessee Odds, Expert Pick & TV Info

Posted by Michael Hunt on Thursday,November 3, 2016 8:34, EST in

The University of Tennessee honestly probably doesn’t much care about this Saturday’s non-conference game against little brother Tennessee Tech. The Vols were preseason SEC East favorites but have fallen apart with a three-game losing streak to fall out of the rankings. So perhaps Tech can keep it close despite being a huge underdog in college football betting.

Tennessee Tech at Tennessee Odds, Expert Pick & TV Info

When: Saturday, Nov. 5, 4 PM ET
Where: Neyland Stadium, Knoxville
TV: SEC Network
Stream: WatchESPN
RadioTennessee Tech / Tennessee
Opening NCAA Football Lines: Tennessee -42.5 (65)

Why Bet on Tennessee Tech?

The FCS Golden Eagles are off a 21-20 win over Southeast Missouri State with neither team scoring in the fourth quarter. Michael Birdsong threw for 170 yards and a touchdown to help lift Tennessee Tech. Dontez Byrd hauled in the 10-yard go-ahead touchdown throw from Birdsong with 3 minutes left in the opening half to put Tennessee Tech (3-5, 3-3 Ohio Valley Conference) up 21-17. Birdsong completed 14 of 23 passes and Byrd had 97 yards on eight catches to snap Tech’s two-game skid.

Tech defender Elliott Normand also grabbed a Jesse Hosket pass out of the air – only his second interception of the season in 230 passes – and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown. Trailing 10-0 after the first quarter, Tech traveled 75 yards on 12 plays, scoring as Yeedee Thaenrat scored on a two-yard run. Then, just 17 seconds later, Normand returned the Hosket pass for a pick-six, the Nick Madonia PAT giving Tech a 14-10 advantage.

Birdsong — a Marshall transfer — and wide receiver Byrd — a Louisville transfer — both are newcomers to the Golden Eagles this season, but have made a good connection. Of Birdsong’s 1,967 yards on 167 completions, 42 of those have been to Byrd.

This is the first game between Tech and Tennessee since Oct. 27, 1951, when the Volunteers were the top-ranked team in the Associated Press poll and went on to win the game 68-0 then later claim the consensus national championship with a 10-1 record. Tennessee has a 5-0 record against Tech, playing five straight years from 1947 to 1951. Tech is 0-30 all-time against FBS teams.

Why Bet on Tennessee?

The Vols (5-3) were upset 24-21 at South Carolina last week. All-American kick returner Evan Berry sparked some second-half momentum for Tennessee with a 100-yard kickoff return immediately following a field goal that had given the Gamecocks a 10-point lead at 17-7 late in the third quarter. It was Berry’s fourth career kickoff return touchdown, tying him with Willie Gault (1979-82) for the most in UT history.

But the Vols lost a fumble at midfield with less than 12 minutes to play in the fourth– Tennessee’s second turnover of the night– and South Carolina capitalized with a 35-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jake Bentley to K.C. Crosby that pushed the Gamecocks’ lead back to 10 points, 24-14.

Vols QB Josh Dobbs struggled as he was 12 of 26 passing for 161 yards and one touchdown. He rushed for only 27 yards. Jalen Hurd rushed for a one-yard touchdown in the first quarter and with 16 rushing yards in the first half, moved past Cedric Houston (2.634 from 2001-04) for sixth place on UT’s all-time rushing list with 2,638. UT furthered its streak to 23 consecutive games with a rushing TD, dating to 2014. The streak now stands as the second-longest active streak in FBS, trailing on Alabama (28).

Tennessee got some bad news this week when Hurd said he was going to transfer. Hurd, who is 6-foot- 4, wants to switch positions and will attempt to play wide receiver or tight end at a new school. He didn’t play in the second half at South Carolina. That leaves Tennessee with just one proven, healthy back, John Kelly, heading into Saturday’s game with Tennessee Tech.

A win on Saturday would make Tennessee bowl eligible for the third consecutive season under head coach Butch Jones. The last time the Vols reached three consecutive bowl games were the 2002-04 seasons under Phillip Fulmer.

Tennessee Tech at Tennessee Expert Pick: Tennessee

The Vols are 70-19- 3 all-time on Homecoming and have won six of their last seven homecoming games. They will win here, but I’d take the points in NCAA football betting.