Free College Football Expert Picks - Alabama Crimson Tide vs Tennessee Vols

Alabama vs Tennessee

Willie Bee

Wednesday, October 12, 2016 12:45 PM UTC

Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016 12:45 PM UTC

Coming off a double overtime loss, life doesn't get any easier for Tennessee at home against an Alabama team favored by nearly two touchdowns on the NCAA football odds.


It is never easy being on top and everyone wanting to knock you down. Such is life for the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide who came through a second tough SEC road test last week and head back out on the highway this Saturday for a big matchup against the Tennessee Volunteers.

A jam-packed Neyland Stadium crowd will be on hand for the 3:30 PM (ET) to be carried nationally by CBS. Most of them will be pulling for their Vols to pull off an upset with Alabama favored by 13 against No. 9/11 Tennessee. That spread is up 2½ points at A+ Rated sportsbook, 5Dimes where the total has slipped a point from the opener to 57.

The spread would seem to make it unlikely the Volunteers stop a 9-game losing skid vs. the Crimson Tide who lead the all-time series 52-38, seven more games tied.  Not only has 'Bama won nine in a row, those folks betting the Tide have gone back to collect winnings eight of the last 11 while the 'over' has been the way to play the NCAA football odds in three of the past four meetings.

Tennessee did keep it close enough to collect last year in Tuscaloosa where Alabama posted a 19-14 decision as 14½ point chalk. It was the 2nd-straight season the Vols covered the spread, visiting teams 15-5-1 ATS the last 21 get-togethers.


Vols Home After Tough OT Loss At A&M
Alabama (6-0 straight up, 4-2 against the spread) stayed atop the polls with a 49-30 triumph this past Saturday at Arkansas, covering a 14½ point spread thanks to jumping out to a 35-10 lead in the first half. Freshman Jalen Hurts ran for two scores and threw for two more to pace the offense; Minkah Fitzpatrick picked off three Razorback passes and returned one the length of the field.

The Tide might be without a couple of key starters this week as starting right guard Alphonse Taylor and starting linebacker Reuben Foster are both questionable due to concussions.

Tennessee (5-1 SU, 3-3 ATS) was down in College Station last week to take on Texas A&M, and a comeback effort fell short as the Volunteers suffered their first loss with a 45-38 setback in double overtime. It looked like the Vols were going to pull off yet another rally after falling behind 28-7, but shot themselves in the foot with seven turnovers, five of them fumbles.

The injury big has bitten the Volunteers as well, starting with tailback Jalen Hurd who is questionable with a concussion. Linebacker Cortez McDowell plus center Dylan Wiesman and guard Jashon Robertson are also questionable.


Turf At Neyland Could Be Slippery
Tennessee almost overcame those turnovers thanks to a porous Aggie defense that allowed the Vols to roll up nearly 700 yards of offense, 400+ through the air. Turning it over that many times, not to mention giving up 350+ yards on the ground as they did to A&M, will not get the job done against a Nick Saban team.

There is some rain in the Knoxville forecast on Saturday morning, and it could linger a bit into the afternoon to make for a slick surface with temps in the mid-70s at kickoff. I'd love to see the Vols pull off the outright upset, but just don't see it happening and will instead make my free college football pick on the 'over.'

Season: 11-15-2 (-4.80)

Free College Football Pick: Over 57 
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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