Texas A&M vs. Tennessee Expert Pick and Prediction – October 14, 2023
TEXAS A&M VS. TENNESSEE EXPERT PICK AND PREDICTION – October 14, 2023 — Does Texas A&M still have the motivation to push toward a top-half finish in the SEC? The Aggies’ path to the SEC title game basically closed when they couldn’t get their offense going in the second half against Alabama, and with a loss to Miami on the ledger, it’s going to be very difficult for Texas A&M to get consideration for a New Year’s Six bowl.
However, eight or nine wins is still on the table for the Aggies, if they can beat a ranked team on the road. That’s the other concern with A&M; the Aggies haven’t yet proven they can play a game outside of the state of Texas. A&M’s 4-2 start included one true road game (a 15-point loss at Miami) and one neutral-site game in the Metroplex, which means this is just the Aggies’ second trip of the season outside of the Lone Star State.
That puts them in the same boat as Tennessee, which looked terrible in its one and only forage away from the Volunteer State. The Vols have bounced back with three wins, but the best win they have all season is a middling South Carolina. Otherwise, their only other Power 5 win is over a horrible Virginia squad.
The main matchup here is strength on strength. Tennessee gains almost as many yards per game on the ground as through the air, but A&M’s run defense leads the SEC.
(4-2 SU, 4-2 ATS)
(4-1 SU, 3-2 ATS)
When: Saturday, October 14th at 3:30 p.m. EDT
Where: Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, Tenn.
Public Bets: 79% on Texas A&M
Public Money: 92% on Texas A&M
Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of October 12th, 2023.
Texas A&M vs. Tennessee In-Season Trends
Texas A&M has been remarkably consistent in matching its spread result to its game result. The Aggies have either won and covered or lost and failed to cover in seven straight games and 14 of their past 17 overall. Tennessee has had no problem hitting its team total play in any of its four games in Tennessee this season, but it’s not yet clear if that’s because of home field or because the Volunteers have played such a weak slate.
Related: Georgia vs. Kentucky Recap
There’s virtually no data on this matchup: the teams have met just twice as SEC members and only once with anyone present. A&M has won both SEC meetings, but Tennessee has improved greatly since 2020.
Clouds will dominate the sky, but that’s about it as far as weather goes. Temperatures will sit at 74 degrees with winds at nine miles an hour, making for reasonable conditions.
Max Johnson has made a big jump over the past three games, in part because he’s getting more comfortable with receiver Ainias Smith. Smith is easily A&M’s most reliable receiver, although he hasn’t yet found the end zone in 2023. However, when the Aggies need a big play to set up a rushing score, Smith has been the main man, averaging 16.6 yards per catch.
Tennessee’s backfield package has run all over most of its opponents, with Jaylen Wright looking exceptionally strong against South Carolina last week. However, the Vols struggled against Florida in Gainesville, which begs the question as to whether the setting or the run defense was the bigger issue. Given that Florida is only middling against the run and Tennessee hasn’t faced a good run defense, it might well be the latter.
It’s difficult to trust either team, given that Texas A&M has played poorly away from home and Tennessee hasn’t beaten anyone decent all season. The Volunteers’ biggest strength of running could be blunted here, and Tennessee doesn’t really have a good Pan B.
Miami beat Texas A&M easily because the Hurricanes threw the ball all over the Aggies’ secondary. Tennessee hasn’t shown that it can do that to this point. Because of that, the points look intriguing.
Texas A&M +3