Tennessee vs. Alabama Prediction, Odds, Trends, and Key Players for College Football Week 8

Can Alabama continue its pursuit of the College Football Playoff by beating a ranked foe at home?

Oct 14, 2023; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Milroe (4) rolls out
Oct 14, 2023; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Milroe (4) rolls out / John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
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Alabama continues to suffocate opponents en route to getting back into the College Football Playoff picture.

The Crimson Tide have seen improved play from Jalen Milroe under center, hitting explosive plays in order to outpace SEC competition with its stout defense. The team welcomes Tennessee to Tuscaloosa on Saturday in hopes of scoring a win over a ranked foe.

The Vols beat Texas A&M last week out of its BYE week, but the offense continues to struggle with Joe Milton at quarterback. It'll only get harder on Saturday against one of the best defenses in the SEC.

Here's how I'm eyeing this SEC showdown on Saturday afternoon, but for more coverage on the biggest games of Week 8, check out my deep dive on Penn State vs. Ohio State:

Tennessee vs. Alabama Odds, Spread and Total

Alabama vs. Tennessee Betting Trends

  • Tennessee is 3-2 against the spread (ATS) this season
  • Alabama is 4-3 ATS this season
  • Tennessee didn't cover in its lone road game this season
  • Tennessee has gone UNDER in four of six games this season

Tennessee vs. Alabama How to Watch

  • Date: Saturday, September 21st
  • Game Time: 3:30 PM EST
  • Venue: Bryant-Denny Stadium
  • How to Watch (TV): CBS
  • Tennessee Record: 5-1
  • Alabama Record: 6-1

Tennessee vs. Alabama Key Players to Watch

Tennessee

Joe Milton: Milton has been underwhelming for Josh Heupel's vaunted offense as the Vols are 96th in Pro Football Focus' passing grade as a unit. Milton is particularly struggling at generating vertical passes down the field, completing only 22% of his passes 20 yards or further.

Alabama

Jalen Milroe: Milroe is starting to round into form. While the Crimson Tide offense is still not operating at a high-level down-to-down, bottom half of the country in success rate, the team is starting to hit deep passes much more consistently. Milroe is completing 61% of his deep passes for an average depth of target of 36 yards with no turnover-worthy plays according to PFF.

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Tennessee vs. Alabama Prediction and Pick

To me, this game boils down to which offense can flip the field and garner more scoring opportunities. To me, that's clearly Alabama. Both defenses have been fantastic at stopping the opponent's rushing attack and each offense will likely struggle to sustain drives, but, as mentioned above, Milroe has been far more consistent in throwing the ball down the field.

Milroe has made 14 big-time throws to zero turnover-worthy plays on deep passes this season, per PFF. The Crimson Tide offensive line is still a concern against a Tennessee rush defense that is 12th in success rate, but I believe Milroe has the ability to take the top off of the Vols' secondary enough to points on the board.

Meanwhile, we don't have a firm grasp on this Tennessee offense just yet, but I fear it's far worse than even pessimistic fans and analysts had thought. The Vols have relied on its ground game to buoy the team's lackluster passing game which is 95th in EPA/Pass. Led behind Jaylen Wright, the team is 22nd in EPA/Pass. However, Alabama's defensive line is loaded, sixth in success rate allowed and allowing just three yards per carry.

Tennessee's scoring drives last week against Texas A&M consisted of a 51-yard drive, a 39-yard punt return, and two field goals. I don't believe the Vols will move the ball well at all, but I don't trust Alabama to win by a margin given its lack of consistency on offense.

I'll go with the under as my favorite play.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

Track Reed's bets here!