Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#149 Vanderbilt vs.
#150 Tennessee
Saturday, November 27, 2021 at 3:45pm EST
Written by Blake V.

Vanderbilt will conclude another miserable season when it travels to Knoxville to face rival Tennessee on Saturday afternoon. The Commodores have lost all seven of their SEC games, but they have covered the spread in four of their last five losses. Tennessee clinched bowl eligibility with a 60-14 win over South Alabama last week.

Wright set to start for Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt went 0-9 in last year’s COVID-19-induced conference-only slate and it has not been much better this year. The Commodores picked up wins over Colorado State and UConn during non-conference play, but they have lost all seven of their SEC games. They have been playing closer games of late, covering the spread in four of their last five contests. Vanderbilt has now lost 20 consecutive SEC games over the last three years. Its last win came against Tennessee, so it would love to snap that skid with another win over its rival.

The Commodores have been atrocious offensively, ranked No. 120 nationally with 311.6 yards per game. Sophomore quarterback Ken Seals has been the starter for most of the season, but he will not start on Saturday. It will be sophomore Mike Wright making his second consecutive start for Vanderbilt. He went 22 of 44 for 241 yards in the loss to Ole Miss last week. Wright has thrown for 844 yards and seven touchdowns, but he also has five interceptions. He is the team’s second-leading rusher, carrying the ball 80 times for 369 yards. Wide receiver Chris Pierce Jr. has caught 53 passes for 609 yards and two touchdowns. They will face a Tennessee defense that ranks No. 86, allowing 411.8 yards per game.

Vols optimistic about future under Heupel

Tennessee has plenty of reasons to be excited about the future under head coach Josh Heupel, who will wrap up his first regular-season in Knoxville on Saturday afternoon. The Vols have had some big moments this year, including a 45-42 at then-No. 18 Kentucky earlier this month. They also led at No. 3 Alabama in the second quarter and were within one score heading to the fourth quarter. More importantly, Heupel has taken care of business against teams that Tennessee should beat. The Vols have been double-digit favorites three times and have covered the spread in all three games.

They are coming off a 60-14 blowout over South Alabama as 28.5-point favorites. Tennessee’s offense plays at one of the fastest tempos of any team in the country and ranks No. 16 in total yards per game (460.4). Quarterback Hendon Hooker has completed 70.0% of his passes for 2,411 yards and 24 touchdowns, only throwing three interceptions on 243 attempts. His top targets have been Cedric Tillman and Velus Jones Jr., who both had big games against South Alabama. Running backs Tiyon Evans and Jabari Small have split the duties this season—Evans is questionable for this game. Tennessee will be facing a Vanderbilt defense that is No 119, allowing 459.2 yards per contest.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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Tennessee has been one of the most reliable teams in college football when it comes to taking care of business against inferior opponents. The Vols have blown out Missouri, South Carolina, Bowling Green, Tennessee Tech and South Alabama. It makes sense that they would blow out bad teams—they run at a lightning-fast tempo and keep bad teams at bay from the very beginning. Vanderbilt simply does not have enough firepower to keep pace on Saturday. I do not expect the Vols to let up against one of their rivals.

Prediction: Tennessee -31

Full-Game Total Pick

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Tennessee’s home-road splits this season have been fascinating when it comes to pace of play. The Vols are getting off way more plays at Neyland Stadium than they are on the road. They are able to excel without any crowd noise getting in the way of their high-tempo offense. Tennessee has gone over the total in five of its six home games, including last week’s blowout over South Alabama. The Vols are going to be firing on all cylinders against a bad Vanderbilt defense.

Prediction: Over 62.5

Written By Blake Von Hagen , "Blake V."

Blake is a lifelong sports fan and hoops junkie. Prior to joining our team at Winners & Whiners and StatSalt, Blake worked for several newspapers and websites. He enjoys combining his beat writing expertise with the knack for finding the winning edge in a matchup. Blake is also an avid sports being expert and you would not be disappointed in following him on a daily basis. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. 
Follow on Twitter @Blake_Vonhagen