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Tennessee vs Alabama Predictions

Last Updated: Oct 16, 2023

This Saturday will be the third one in October, and you know what that means: the No. 17 Tennessee Volunteers are traveling down to Tuscaloosa to take on the No. 11 Alabama Crimson Tide for another intriguing installment of this classic Southern rivalry.

Tennessee famously took down the Tide last season in what was perhaps the game of the year, giving it its first victory in the series since a 2006 defensive battle. Last year’s edition was much more of a shootout, and that one took place in Tennessee, so we’ll see how things play out this time around in Alabama.

Will Tennessee secure its first series win streak since the early 2000s, or will Alabama get back on top? Find out with our free Tennessee Volunteers vs Alabama Crimson Tide college football picks and predictions for Saturday, Oct. 21, at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Tennessee vs Alabama Odds

Track our latest CFB odds for Volunteers vs Crimson Tide:

NCAAF lines used for Tennessee at Alabama were current as of Monday, Oct. 16, at 12:30 p.m. EST on DraftKings Sportsbook.

  • Moneyline: Alabama (-340) • Tennessee (+270)
  • Spread: Alabama -9 (-110) • Tennessee +9 (-110)
  • Total Points: Over 47.5 (-110) • Under 47.5 (-110)

Alabama is nearly a double-digit favorite even as Tennessee is only ranked six spots below it, while the total indicates a much lower-scoring game than last year’s absolute fireworks display of a contest.

Tennessee vs Alabama Prediction

SCORE PICK: Alabama 27, Tennessee 16

After a game that saw more than 100 total points between these two teams a year ago, we’ll see a much more traditional style of football played in Tuscaloosa this year. Gone are Bryce Young and Hendon Hooker, Heisman contenders who combined for 840 passing yards and seven touchdowns in that contest, and their successors have not filled their shoes particularly well.

For Tennessee, it’s Michigan transfer Joe Milton, whose inaccuracy is beginning to present an issue for the Volunteers offense, while Jalen Milroe has even been benched this season as he’s struggled at the helm of the Crimson Tide. With both sides sporting top-25 defenses by EPA per play, the offenses will struggle once more, and Alabama should be able to pull ahead this year with home-field advantage.

Tennessee vs Alabama Best Bets

Alabama -9 (-110)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit

A spread of -9 isn’t necessarily the friendliest number on the board, as it would be great to have this under a touchdown, but it still gives you a hit on the key margin of 10 for Alabama. Tennessee’s passing offense under Milton is barely top-100 in EPA, and it’ll be going up against a top-five Alabama secondary, as per PFF.

Tennessee runs the ball pretty well, but ground offense on its own is rarely a recipe for a Tuscaloosa upset, especially against a stout Alabama run defense.

Alabama’s offense shouldn’t be in for a banner day either, but Milroe has been able to find big plays at a high enough rate that Alabama should be able to pull away in a game that might largely be decided on the Margins. And if nothing else, Nick Saban against Josh Heupel is a coaching advantage that Crimson Tide fans should feel great about.

Under 47.5 (-110)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit

We’ve zeroed into some of the flaws with Tennessee’s offense and its matchup with the Alabama defense, but let’s take a look at the other side of the ball and talk about why this game is going to be low-scoring on both ends. It’s not just Milroe and his stable of receivers who have struggled at times; the rushing offense has been far from the dominant Alabama ground attack we’ve seen in years past.

The offensive line is much closer to average than elite, and Jase McClellan isn’t standing up to the standard of the Crimson Tide running backs before him. As far as EPA per play, Tennessee’s defense is top 25 against the pass and top 35 against the run, so it’s a balanced unit that is set up nicely to slow down this offense.

Alabama should win at home, but this is a team led by its defense rather than its offense, so expect a low-scoring contest.

Tennessee vs Alabama Same Game Parlay

Tennessee vs Alabama SGP (+210)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 0.50 Units

  • Tennessee 1H +5.5
  • Alabama (-340)

We’ll grab the moneyline in this same game parlay to mitigate a bit of the risk assumed by taking a large spread. As for the other leg, we’re actually going to count on Tennessee to start strong and make it to the half within a score.

Alabama has not been a dominant first-half team this year, as it was down early en route to the loss to Texas, and trailed Texas A&M at halftime, as well. This should be a cagey, tentative start to the game, and I expect Saban to manage things carefully in the first half before the playbook opens up and the Tide pull away later on.

Author

William Schwartz

As a former athlete and lifetime fan, sports have always been a huge part of my life. I've written about them for almost as long as I've been watching and playing them, from a blog I wrote with a friend in middle school, to journalism classes at the University of Michigan, to today. I hope to bring you entertaining coverage, strong analysis, and profitable betting picks on any and all sports, whether it's MLB baseball, college football, European soccer, or anything in between.

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