Appalachian State at Tennessee
Thursday, 4:30 pm PT - SEC Network
CRIS Opener: Tennessee -22.5 O/U 56
CRIS Current: Tennessee -21 O/U 59
This will mark the third year in a row the Tennessee Volunteers play a strong mid-major to open the season and thus far, Butch Jones has made sure the Vols passed each test. In 2014, UT beat a 10-win Utah State team 38-7 and last season, cruised past high-powered Bowling Green, 59-30. Last year’s Sun Belt runners-up return 15 starters are a co-betting favorites with Arkansas State to win the conference title. Many think this will be a breakout year for Tennessee as the Vols are currently priced at -125 chalk to win the SEC East and the third betting choice (+420) to win the SEC championship.
Jones’ offense features two incredible playmakers in senior quarterback Joshua Dobbs and junior running back Jalen Hurd. Add to it a strong offensive line as well as talented depth at the skill positions and we have reason to believe the Vols will be able to move the ball with ease. And while Appalachian State will have edges on both sides of the football in nearly all of its games, this isn’t one where we can expect them to hang for a full 60 minutes. Over the past two seasons, the Mountaineers have played two power conference foes; Michigan and Clemson. The Wolverines rolled up 560 totals yards at over 10 yards per clip in a 52-14 win back in 2014. And last season, Clemson jumped out to a 31-0 halftime lead before taking its foot off the pedal in large part because of a short week conference game on deck. The Tigers ended up winning 41-10.
Tennessee lost four games by a total of 17 points last year. The three games they played against inferior opponents they won easily by a combined score of 138-40. Off last year’s 11-2 record and their well known win in the Big House way back in 2007, Tennessee won’t take the Mountaineers lightly despite next week’s game against Virginia Tech. Too much firepower not to lay the reasonable points.