No. 8 Alabama (6-1) has looked dominant in recent weeks, beating a pair of top 10 teams – Georgia and Texas A&M – by a combined 46 points. Tennessee (3-3), meanwhile, has had perhaps the most frustrating season of any team in America, losing three games in which it led by double digits.
Thus, you’d expect Alabama to beat Tennessee this Saturday. But if you’re a betting man (or woman), it might be wise to take the Vols. That’s because Bama is favored by 15.
Is that line a little too big for the Tide?
“I think this number is a little bit inflated,” sportsline.com analyst and Vegas insider Todd Fuhrman said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “This price would have been closer to 11.5 before Alabama found another gear to surge through the last couple weeks, beating Arkansas. But lost in that 41-23 final last Saturday was the fact that they had three pick-sixes. You take those off the scoreboard, you’re talking about a much closer football game. (That’s) creating a little bit of value in Tennessee. Alabama is playing their eighth game in eight weeks, Tennessee (is coming) off the bye a little bit more well-rested (and) maybe Alabama’s looking toward LSU. I think if Josh Dobbs can stretch the field a bit, connect on one or two passing plays over the top and open up some running lanes for the talented backs for the Vols, this game has all the potential – not to be an upset – but to stay inside the numbers. I think Tennessee (at) plus-15 is very attractive here.”
Alabama has won eight straight games in this storied series.
“Yeah, I’d be shocked if Tennessee goes in there and wins this game outright, especially given how well Alabama’s played,” Fuhrman said. “But for folks looking ahead to the game after the bye, Alabama is about a six-, seven-point favorite projection when they play LSU, assuming both teams hold serve this weekend.”
No. 5 LSU (6-0) hosts Western Kentucky (6-1) at 7 p.m. ET. Both LSU and Alabama have a bye before they square off on Saturday, Nov. 7.
The game is in Death Valley, but Fuhrman believes Alabama will win.
“When you go through some of the X’s and O’s, I think Alabama probably has an edge because they’re able to try and force LSU to the passing game,” he said. “It’ll be fascinating to watch Brandon Harris this weekend for the Tigers against Western Kentucky, where LSU is a 17-point home favorite against one of the more unheralded offenses in the entire country.”
Alabama and Tennessee kick off at 3:30 p.m. ET.