NCAA Football Betting Preview
Tennessee Volunteers (5-4) at Mississippi Rebels (6-3)
Saturday November 14th, 12:00PM Eastern
Betus.com betting line – Mississippi -5.5, 48.5 O/U
The Tennessee Volunteers have been one of the hottest teams in the SEC in recent weeks with big wins over South Carolina and Memphis in blowout fashion. The Volunteers most recently appeared to have turned the corner, but they will be put to the test on the road in Oxford this week as they take on the Mississippi Rebels. Mississippi has not lived up to the expectations this season, but they still remain a solid 6-3 on the year.
The Rebels still have a chance to end the season with a very strong record, but a lost to Tennessee would really confirm the season has been a disappointment. The Volunteers will also have to deal with distractions as well. The Volunteers had 3 players including highly praised recruit Nu’Keese Richardson arrested for attempted armed robbery. The question is will those off the field issues turn the momentum Tennessee has gained on the field in recent weeks?
Mississippi has one of the top defenses in the SEC and they look to make it tough on Volunteers quarterback Jonathan Crompton who has recorded 10 interceptions on the year. If the Rebels can force a few turnovers, perhaps they can get the Volunteers spirits down quick in light of the recent events. However, the Rebels offense will still have to play much better than they have all season. QB Jevan Snead has thrown an SEC leading 13 interceptions this season with the vast majority of those mistakes falling against SEC defenses. Snead has thrown for 17 touchdowns on the year, but he is completing just 51% and attempted 258 passes. For so many attempts, the numbers are really not that impressive.
WR Shay Hodge does give the team some hope with playmaking ability. Hodge has been the biggest asset to the offense this year over all-purpose threat Dexter McCluster. Hodge has 733 yards and 6 scores on the season and record two straight 100 yard receiving performances. However, the passing offense will go to war with one strong secondary led by safety Eric Berry from the Volunteers sideline. If the Rebels are to finally get over the hump and win a big game this year, Snead will have to have one heck of a performance something that has not been seen this year.
The Volunteers seem to be the underdog here considering the events surrounding the game, but they have played so well in recent weeks they should have every opportunity to win the game. However, line makers do not think so as the betting lines have continuously shifted in the Rebels favor opening at 3.5 and currently standing at 5.5. The Volunteers will have a chance to rattle those odds if the offense can continue to play well. QB Jonathan Crompton has played extremely well in recent weeks throwing 7 touchdowns without an interception in the last two games. However, Crompton has been inconsistent most of his career and it will be interesting to see if his play will continue.
The Volunteers passing offense was not expected to be the strength of the offense this year, but they are developing nicely. Tennessee has thrown for nearly 1,600 yards in the last 6 games with 16 touchdowns. Wide outs Gerald Jones and Denarius Moore have played contributing factors as both have averaged 14 yards per catch with 4 touchdowns a piece. However even with the passing game developing strongly, the Volunteers still rely heavily on running back Montario Hardesty. Hardesty has rushed for 8 touchdowns and 5 yards per carry on the year and recorded 900 yards. However the main thing that Hardesty does in not breakout catastrophic numbers, but rather make a huge impact on the passing game’s success. When the Volunteers run the ball well, the Volunteers passing game usually closely follows. If they can put together that combination again Saturday, they should win.
Pick – Tennessee