Bowling Green Falcons vs Tennessee Volunteers Prediction, Odds and Preview - 09/02/2021

by Amedeus Mastrangelo

Game Time: 8:00 pm ET, Thursday, September 2, 2021
Venue:  Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN
Where to Watch:  SEC Network


Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings:  Spread: Falcons +35.5, Volunteers -35.5; Over/Under:  61 points
Bet365:  Spread: Falcons +35.5, Volunteers -35.5; Over/Under:  61 points
BetMGM:  Spread: Falcons +35.5, Volunteers -35.5; Over/Under:  61.5 points

Season Record

Bowling Green Falcons:  0-0 (MAC East)
Tennessee Volunteers:  0-0 (SEC East)
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Bowling Green Falcons vs Tennessee Volunteers Preview and Analysis

Recent Form
Bowling Green Falcons:  5 game losing streak
Tennessee Volunteers:  1 game losing streak


Falcons vs Volunteers Prediction

The Bowling Green Falcons are taking on the Tennessee Volunteers in their first NCAA game of the college football season on Thursday night. BGSU is looking to improve on a winless season last year, there is nowhere to go but up for them. They finished in last place of the MAC East division with a 0-5 record overall, all of those games being conference games. They will be on the road to start their season here, they finished 0-3 on the road last year. Tennessee did not have a great season last year either but they did get a few wins under their belt. They finished in 5th place of the SEC East with an overall record of 3-7, all of those games being within the conference. They will be at home here to start their season where they were an awful 1-4 last season. Both of these teams have some big steps to take this season to get out of the well they are currently in.

The Bowling Green Falcons lost all 5 of their games played last season but they did it in blowout fashion. The lowest margin of defeat for them last season was in their final game to Akron where they lost by exactly 4 touchdowns. They are carrying that 5 game losing streak on their shoulders and will definitely be looking to snap it. Last season, their offense was much better in the run game than the passing game but, both were still so bad. They were averaging a 43.2% completion percentage, 142.4 yards passing, and 0.2 touchdowns per game. Their run game was averaging 184 rushing yards and 1 touchdown per game. Their defense was alright on pass defense but their run defense really hindered them in games. They were allowing teams an average of a 64.9% completion percentage, 165.6 yards passing, and 2.4 touchdowns against per game through the air. They were also allowing teams to get an average of 310.2 rushing yards and 3.2 TDs against per game on the ground. They will have to tighten up on that run defense this season if they expect to have even a chance to win any games this year. Scot Loeffler is returning for his 3rd year of coaching here and so far has not had much success. He is 3-14 in 17 games coaching them since back in 2019. It usually takes at least 3 years for a coach to make a significant impact on a program so this will be a massive year for him to see if he can turn things around for them even slightly.

The Tennessee Volunteers finished last season in a bad slump. After winning their first 2 games, the Vols proceeded to lose 7 of their last 8 games. They mustered up a big 42-17 win over Vanderbilt in their 2nd last game of the season but they could not carry that momentum over as they lost their final game of the year to Texas A&M 34-13. The Vols barely had a passing game last season and their run game was somehow even worse. They were averaging a 62.8% completion percentage, 204.7 passing yards, and 1.4 touchdowns per game through the air. Their run game was averaging 141.5 rushing yards and 1.2 TDs per game on the ground. Their run defense was alright last season but their pass defense did not hold up at all. They were allowing teams to be averaging a 68.2% completion percentage, 265.8 passing yards, and 1.5 touchdowns against per game through the air. Their run defense was allowing teams to be averaging 141.6 rushing yards and 1.5 touchdowns per game. Even though they did not allow too many touchdowns against them per game, they were giving up tons of yardage which put themselves in dangerous positions to lose games all year. New head coach Josh Heupel will be starting his first year coaching this team. He spent 3 years as the UCF Knights coach prior to this season and he had major success over there. He went 28-8 through 3 seasons at UCF and his offense was known for putting up monstrous numbers in every game. He definitely has the coaching skillset to turn this team around and make a big impact on their horrid offense. It may take some time but the Vols might be headed down a different path in the right direction this year with Heupel at the helm. To get on the right path Tennessee will have to fix the ongoing problem with their secondaries and take fewer penalties this year.

Tennessee plays in a much tougher conference than BGSU does and they did manage to get a few wins under their belt last season unlike the Falcons. Heupel has proven his offensive abilities over at UCF and will be sure to get this team on the right track right away. BGSU only lost 1 of their 5 games by 28 points last season, the rest of their losses were by a much larger margin. The Volunteers are at home here and will likely cover this spread as they start their season off on the right foot, sending the Falcons into a 6 game losing streak.

Falcons Volunteers Prediction:  Our NCAAF Pick for Thursday, September 2, 2021 (8:00 pm ET start time) is Volunteers 51 Falcons 7.
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NCAAF Betting Trends

Bowling Green Falcons: 0-9 ATS as a road underdog, 0-6 ATS as a road underdog of 21.5 or more points.
Tennessee Volunteers: 0-2 ATS as a home favorite of 21.5 or more points.

Key Injuries

Bowling Green Falcons:  Trevon Raymore (RB) Out for season with a knee injury.
Tennessee Volunteers:  Velus Jones Jr. (WR) Probable Thursday with a hamstring injury, Jimmy Calloway (WR) Probable Thursday with an undisclosed injury.

Players to Watch

Bowling Green Falcons: Quarterback Matt McDonald is one player to watch in this game. They are definitely in a rebuilding program after last year’s horrible season and McDonald is looking to help this team make some significant progress this season. He will want to play a good game and try to snap that 5 game losing streak that they are  carrying over from last year’s winless season. He wants to make this a proud program he can play for so he will play hard and try to heighten his team’s effort. 
Tennessee Volunteers: One player to watch in this game is quarterback Joe Milton III. Tennessee got him in the transfer portal from Michigan this offseason and he has been given the starting job as he was named the starter ahead of Thursday’s game on the schedule. He played in 6 games last season accumulating 1077 total yards passing, 4 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions as he now looks to be the star quarterback for this team. He has been given a shot and will make his Tennessee debut in this game as he looks to solve the question marks and prove he is the right man for the job.

Notable Quotes

“It’s going to be super exciting taking a young group down to Knoxville, Tennessee, and have them experience a game with fans in a real, true college experience. I want to say 70 percent of our roster, this will be the first time they’ve ever played a college football game with people in the stands, which will be really exciting and outstanding.” - Scot Loeffler on taking his team to Tennessee for a game with football fans.
"All of them have to prepare like the starter. I anticipate Joe getting handed the ball first and playing his butt off in a really good way." - Josh Heupel on naming Joe Milton III the first string out of all the starters.

Projected Team Lineups

Bowling Green Falcons
M. McDonald (QB)
T. Stewart (RB)
J. Patterson (RB)
T. Broden (WR)
A. Osborne (WR)
L. Gazarek (TE)
C. Sims (TE)
Tennessee Volunteers
J. Milton III (QB)
T. Evans (RB)
J. Small (RB)
V. Jones Jr. (WR)
C. Tillman (WR)
J. Hyatt (WR)
J. Warren (TE)
Bowling Green Falcons: Scot Loeffler (3rd season)
Tennessee Volunteers: Josh Huepel (1st season)

Weather Forecast

73 degrees F sunny, 61% humidity, 0% chance of rain, up to 11 mph wind speeds NE.

Amedeus Mastrangelo

About the Author:

Amedeus Mastrangelo has been heavily wagering on all sports for years and plays just about everything, including sides, totals, favorites, underdogs, against the spread, alternative spreads, first half, second half, player props, and futures. The bottom line is, if Mastrangelo can see an edge in any way shape or form, then he's going to take advantage.

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