Tennessee Volunteers vs. Missouri Tigers Picks and Game Preview - 10/02/2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: Noon ET, October 2, 2021
Venue: Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium, Columbia OH
Where to watch: SEC Network 

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: Mizzou -2.5
BetMGM: Mizzou -2.5
Caesars: Mizzou -2.5

Season record
Tennessee: 2-2 (0-1 SEC)
Missouri: 2-2 (0-1 SEC)

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Tennessee - Missouri preview and analysis


Tennessee: lost 38-14 at Florida on 38-14
Missouri: lost 41-34 (OT) at Boston College on Sept. 25

Just when you think this is a battle of two programs that should be on the rise in the SEC, both fall flat in the blink of an eye.

With the Missouri Tigers and Tennessee Volunteers, one can only imagine if things went differently last week.

Tennessee is coming off one of the more abysmal second-half performances among any team this season. They led the No. 11 Florida Gators 14-10 in the first half and even outgained the Gators by an edge of 261-213. Then the wheels fell off. Florida scored 28 unanswered points for a 38-14 loss and throwing away any realistic momentum the Vols' way.

Hendon Hooker actually played a decent game (221 yards, 2 TD) but Tennessee's defense couldn't stop Emory Jones and his 353 total yards. Florida had to score a touchdown with 1:39 left in order to cover the 19-point spread. The Vols also didn't turn the ball over but couldn't find a way to stop Florida's offense in the second half.

Missouri's offense is almost similar to Tennessee. A good quarterback (Connor Bazelak) and a talented running back (Tyler Badie) are able to give the Tigers some balance in the offense. Missouri was held to 391 yards of offense, but turned it over twice and allowed the Boston College Eagles to rack up 450 total yards on almost nine minutes more in time of possession.

Mizzou's offense is averaging nearly 150 YPG more than their opponents per game while their offense is putting together 483 per game. The thing is, so have the Volunteers. Tennessee is putting up almost 130 yards more per game than its opponents.

The problem is the Mizzou defense. Missouri is allowing 268.8 yards on the ground while Tennessee is operating at a clip of 204.3 per game. Tennessee's defense, meanwhile, needs to slow down Bazelak, who's averaging 324.5 yards per game. Still, for Missouri to be 2-2 in favor of what's happened is pretty significant.

Prediction


Missouri has lost seven consecutive game against the spread, and the Mizzou defense has allowed more yards as the week has gone. Mizzou is at home, but the last time these teams met, Tennessee won 35-12. It may not be that kind of game, but expect Mizzou to keep it close throughout and eventually end what will be a fun game. Tennessee by 7

Betting trends


Tennessee is 5-5 in its last 10 road games against the spread.

Missouri is 4-4 ATS in its last eight and 8-1 straight up in its last nine as a home favorite.

Players to watch


Tennessee: Javonta Payton scored a 75-yard touchdown in the second quarter against Florida. Outside of that, he had a seven-yard catch to give him two for the day.

Missouri: Seven different players have over 100 yards for Missouri. After Keke Chism is Tauskie Dove, who had three receptions for 89 yards against Boston College.

Statistical leaders


Tennessee:
Passing: Hendon Hooker -- 613 yards, 7 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Tiyon Evans -- 211 yards, 2 TD
Receiving: Velus Jones Jr. -- 160 yards, 1 TD

Missouri:
Passing: Connor Bazelak -- 1,200 yards, 10 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Tyler Badie -- 417 yards, 5 TD
Receiving: Keke Chism -- 181 yards, 1 TD

Don't miss our champion handicappers' free picks and expert football picks today. And if you enjoyed this Team X - Team Y prediction, be sure to drop by every day for our daily NCAA projections and previews.

Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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