Tennessee vs. Alabama Expert Pick and Prediction – October 21, 2023
TENNESSEE VS. ALABAMA EXPERT PICK AND PREDICTION – October 21, 2023 — The true sign of Nick Saban’s kingdom falling would be a loss to Tennessee in Tuscaloosa. The Volunteers not only haven’t beaten Saban at Bryant-Denny Stadium, they usually haven’t even come close. Their average margin of defeat has been 23.6 points in Tuscaloosa, leading to some Tennessee fans thinking they needed a way out of the rivalry.
That talk has cooled since Tennessee finally broke through against Alabama in Knoxville for their first win of the series since 2006. But the Vols still haven’t done anything of note in Tuscaloosa, and they’ve already succumbed to their other road nightmare this year. Tennessee has taken no fewer than two losses in an odd year for 20 years now, because the Volunteers haven’t won in Gainesville, Fla., or Tuscaloosa since they did both that season.
That loss to Florida was Tennessee’s only road game of the year, and it’s put the pressure on the Vols. Already, Tennessee has to beat Missouri and Georgia in back-to-back weeks to win the SEC East, and another loss in Tuscaloosa would mean Georgia could win the division without beating Tennessee.
For Alabama, survival has been the key. The Crimson Tide keep escaping each week and maintaining a perfect record in the SEC West. Only Mississippi State was out of the game early; every other opponent has pushed the Tide into the fourth quarter. Can the Tide survive another one as they try to nail down the division?
(5-1 SU, 4-2 ATS)
(6-1 SU, 4-3 ATS)
When: Saturday, October 21st at 3:30 p.m. EDT
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Public Bets: 51% on Alabama
Public Money: 76% on Tennessee
Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of October 17th, 2023.
Tennessee vs. Alabama In-Season Trends
This game has usually led to lots of points for Alabama. Over the past decade, only the 2015 game saw the Tide score fewer than 34 points, and Alabama has hit 40 or more in six of its past seven matchups with the Vols. Despite the low scores this season, Alabama has actually been an over team, hitting the number in two of its past three games and pushing last week.
Related: Georgia vs. Vanderbilt Recap
Tennessee has covered three weeks in a row, but all of those games came in Neyland Stadium. Out of the Vols’ past four true road games (they played Virginia in Nashville), only one has seen Tennessee manage to win and cover, and that came against Vanderbilt.
These will be ideal conditions for football. Temperatures will sit at 76 degrees with wind at just seven miles per hour, so weather won’t affect anything.
The ground game has been critical for Tennessee this year, and Jaylen Wright came up big for the Volunteers last week. Wright didn’t have to do much against the Tide last year because of Hendon Hooker, but this year, he’ll likely need to carry more of the load.
Jalen Milroe has been hit or miss at quarterback for the Tide, and he’s been missing more often than not lately. In the win over Arkansas, Alabama managed just three points in the second half, and that’s not likely to get it done this time around.
Alabama keeps letting teams hang around, which means this spread seems a little high. The Tide really shouldn’t be favored over any good teams by more than a touchdown at the moment, and Tennessee really should give a better showing than its previous road game.
I don’t think the Vols win this game, but I think they’re in it to the end. I’d take Alabama as part of a teaser, but with the spread this high, I want the points.