Even after coming up short against a double-digit spread in its season opener, Tennessee is still 8-6 against the spread in that spot under head coach Butch Jones. The Volunteers are heavily favored again for Saturday night’s battle against Virginia Tech inside the oval at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee.
Point spread: Volunteers opened as nine-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (line updates and matchup report).
College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 32.4-22.6 Volunteers (college football picks on every game)
Why the Virginia Tech Hokies can cover the spread
In its first game since longtime head coach Frank Beamer‘s retirement, Virginia Tech defeated Liberty last Saturday 36-13. The Hokies actually trailed the Flames early in the second quarter 13-10 but scored the final 26 points of the game to secure new coach Justin Fuente’s first victory with the program. For the day, Virginia Tech outgained Liberty 458-160, running the ball for 206 yards while throwing it for 252.
New starting quarterback Jerod Evans, a junior college transfer making his first Division I start for the Hokies, completed 20 of 32 passes, including four touchdowns, without an interception. Meanwhile, the Virginia Tech defense limited the Flames to just two conversions out of 15 third-down situations.
The Hokies are the third choice on most ACC Coastal Division betting boards, but they do have 15 starters back from last year.
Why the Tennessee Volunteers can cover the spread
It wasn’t pretty, but Tennessee opened its season with a 20-13 overtime victory over Appalachian State last Thursday. The Vols trailed the Mountaineers at the half 13-3 but tied the game on a 67-yard Josh Dobbs-to-Josh Malone scoring strike with 10 minutes to go, then won it with a touchdown and a defensive stop in the first overtime.
Tennessee came up empty against the spread as a 21-point favorite, but in retrospect, that line was way out of whack, mainly because Appalachian State is actually a pretty good outfit.
On the night, Dobbs connected on 16 of his 29 throws for 192 yards and that one score, while Vols running back Jalen Hurd ran for 110 yards and recovered a Dobbs fumble in the end zone for the game-winning touchdown. Meanwhile, the Tennessee defense allowed just 292 total yards and held the Mountaineers to just a 3-of-13 conversion rate on third down.
The Volunteers may have struggled in their opener, but they’re still the betting favorite to win the SEC East this season.
Bristol is 110 miles from Knoxville and only 125 miles from Blacksburg, so perhaps the crowd, which could reach 150,000, will split more evenly than a first glance suggests. Also, the Vols are playing under some pressure this season with heightened expectations, and that can be tough to do, as their financial backers found out last week.
Meanwhile, Virginia Tech might relish the role of the underdog. The smart money here hangs with the Hokies.
The total has gone under in five of Tennessee’s last seven games after a win.
Tennessee is 7-0 straight up in its last seven games.
The total has gone over in Virginia Tech’s last five games against the SEC.
All college football betting lines and point spreads data courtesy of Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, Odds Shark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line movement updates and Odds Shark YouTube for picks and analysis or download the free odds tracker app.
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Source: Bleacher Report -SEC Football