Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#195 Tennessee 45.5 vs.
#196 Missouri -3.5
Saturday, November 23, 2019 at 7:30pm EST
Written by Benjamin Hayes

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#195 University of Tennessee
#196 University of Missouri
5-5
5-5
6-4
4-6
4-6
2-8
23
25
22
19

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This article covers a past game!

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Tennessee and Missouri meet on Saturday and both are looking to become bowl-eligible with a win from Columbia. The Vols are now red-hot, winning three straight after beating Kentucky on the road, 17-13 on Nov. 9. They are coming off a bye last week.

The Tigers have lost four straight, after winning five straight as the season has taken a turn for the worse. They were defeated at home last Saturday by Florida, 23-6.

Last season, the Tigers crushed the Vols, 50-17 from Knoxville.

Winning with defense

Tennessee football still has a ways to go to get back to being one of the top teams in the SEC. But it starts with defense and they've allowed just 41 points in their last three games against Kentucky (13), UAB (7) and South Carolina (21). This season started as if head coach Jeremy Pruitt may not survive the entire season after they lost to Georgia State (38-30) and BYU (29-26ot) at home in back-to-back games. But since then, the Vols have only lost to teams they were expected to: Georgia (43-14), Florida (34-3) and Alabama (35-13). They've taken care of business against the average squads in the SEC.

In their last game against Kentucky, the Vols had the ball for just 18:23 and tallied 296 yards. So their defense was on the field for nearly 42 minutes, yet they allowed just 327 total yards from the depleted Wildcats, who ran for 302 on 64 attempts. Junior quarterback Jarrett Guarantano threw for just 115 yards and two TDs, with 30 yards rushing. On the season, he's thrown for 1,402 yards with 13 TDs and five picks

One of the key players defensive has been freshman linebacker Henry To'o To'o, who has 56 tackles to rank third on the team. That defense is allowing just 348.6 yards per game (35th) and 194.5 passing yards (26th). The offense is not good at all as they averaging just 23.9 points (102nd) with 343.7 yards per game overall (109th) and 133.2 rushing yards (103rd).

Trying to find an offense

Speaking of defense, Missouri has not allowed a team to score over 30 points in a game since the opening loss at Wyoming (37-31). That side of the ball has been very good, but the Tigers are .500 for a reason (3-5 in the SEC). They have a very vanilla offense that has scored just 27 points in their last four games. The Tigers have scored just three touchdowns in that span and have not scored one in the last nine quarters.

In their loss to Florida at home last week, the defense was once again able to keep the team in the game. They were down 6-3 at the half and could only muster another three points in the second half to fall by 17. Quarterback Kelly Bryant completed 25 of 39 for just 204 yards and a pick. Mizzou didn't help him on the ground, as they were held to just 52 yards against a very good Gators defense.

Bryant has been hampered by injuries but is having a solid season with 2,049 yards passing with 14 TDs and six picks (62.5%) and 224 rushing yards. But expectations were much higher for Bryant, who is a senior transfer from Clemson, who threw for 2,802 yards and rushed for 665 with 11 scores in 2017. Running back Larry Roundtree III leads the Tigers with 698 yards with eight TDs.

The defense has kept this team competitive. They allow just 297.6 yards per game (10th) and 165.9 passing yards (6th). The offense produces just 388.2 yards per game and 230.5 passing yards (71st).

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

Insiders Status:

Rating:

It's hard to be a believer in Tennessee football right now, but they are finding ways to win. They're playing a team that is really struggling, despite having a quality quarterback in Bryant. It's one thing to lose to Florida and Georgia, but Mizzou has also lost big to Kentucky (29-7) and at lowly Vanderbilt. The difference here will be confidence and momentum. You can't go against that or a well-rested Vols team coming off a bye. This will be a low-scoring game, but I'm taking the points here with an improving Tennessee squad.

Prediction: Tennessee +4

Full-Game Total Pick

Insiders Status:

Rating:

First to score 20 wins the game? How about 13? Both of these teams have struggled to score against good defenses and now, they face a good defense. The Vols put up 41 points against South Carolina, but how did they do it? They had a 29-yard blocked punt return for a TD, a 65-yards punt return and two long passes from Guarantano. That's basically the only way they are going to put up a lot of points. They are still 5-0 Under in their last 5 road games, while Missouri is 13-3 Under their last 16 overall.

Prediction: Under 45.5
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Written By Benjamin Hayes

Ben has been a sports writer for over 30 years, dabbling in college and pro basketball, college and pro football, baseball, college lacrosse, minor league baseball and even college gymnastics. He's also been involved in the gaming industry for over 25 years and has been looking to beat the books since he was 13!