Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Venue: FirstBank Stadium, Nashville, TN
Where to watch: SEC Network
Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: Tennessee -14
FanDuel: Tennessee -13.5
BetMGM: Tennessee -14.5
Caesars: Tennessee -14
No. 10 Tennessee: 9-2 (5-2 SEC)
Vanderbilt: 5-6 (2-5 SEC)
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Tennessee - Vanderbilt preview, analysis and prediction
Tennessee: lost 63-38 at South Carolina
Vanderbilt: won 31-24 vs. Florida
The Cinderella run for the Tennessee Volunteers has officially come to an end. And it has nothing to do with the fact that they got absolutely demolished by the South Carolina Gamecocks last week by 25 points. The amazing season of quarterback Hendon Hooker is over after a torn ACL. And for what it's worth, it was a very good run for Tennessee.
But now it's about what can you salvage for the rest of the season. Is a notable bowl game in the horizon? Time will tell with the next unveiling of the College Football Playoff rankings. But this week is not about Tennessee because the Volunteers time has passed. This week suddenly becomes about their opponent, the Vanderbilt Commodores. Should Vanderbilt get a victory over a still-tough Tennessee team this weekend, Vanderbilt will be in a bowl game. If The Commodores lose, it will be another long winter, and see you next year kind of season.
And normally I would be all about Tennessee walking into Nashville and defeating a much inferior Vanderbilt in. But now that the Tennessee offense is without its star quarterback, and we just saw a defense give up 63 points to South Carolina, I would be very hesitant to even think about taking Tennessee in this one.
Think of it like this: there's no doubt that I think Tennessee should rebound this week. There's a reason why they were once the No. 1 ranked team in the country. I understand all of that, and believe that Josh Heupel will have this group ready to play again. But if you’re not thinking Vanderbilt can pull off the outright upset after beating Florida last week, you at least have to think that the Commodores can cover as 14-point dogs to Tennessee.
The Tennessee defense hasn’t been great throughout the year, giving up 411 yards per game. Vanderbilt’s hasn’t been any better, so it’s not like this wouldn’t be a shootout. The onus now goes on Joe Milton III, a Michigan transfer, to give Tennessee a chance. Milton actually started the first two games last year over Hooker before the latter took the job for good.
"He's got an unbelievable legacy that he's built here, and he's built it along with his teammates. ... He's been a huge part of setting some solid cornerstone pieces to what this program is and what it's going to be in the future," Heupel said.
I have no idea how this one is going to go other than I think it’ll be very close. There’s not a lot of confidence I have in Tennessee keeping this thing close. I know it seems outlandish to want to take Vanderbilt in this situation but there is something about how the last two weeks have unfolded that make me want to take The Commodores with the points. Tennessee might win, and they should, but if you're needing a big underdog take this week Vanderbilt might be your choice. Tennessee by 10
Tennessee is 37-21 ATS on the road after failing to cover in 2 of 3 since 1992.
Tennessee is 20-8 ATS on the road after a loss by 10 or more to a conference opponent since 1992.
Vanderbilt is 4-13 ATS in home games the last 3 seasons.
Passing: Hendon Hooker -- 3,135 yards, 27 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Jaylen Wright -- 626 yards, 8 TD
Receiving: Jalin Hyatt -- 1,181 yards, 15 TD
Passing: AJ Swann -- 1,195 yards, 10 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Ray Davis -- 982 yards, 5 TD
Receiving: Will Sheppard -- 728 yards, 9 TD
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