Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#191 Stanford vs.
#192 Vanderbilt
Saturday, September 18, 2021 at 8:00pm EDT
Written by Jordy

The Vanderbilt Commodores are still on the search for their first home victory since 2019 in Saturday’s clash with the Stanford Cardinal. Well, at least Vanderbilt won’t go winless for a second straight season, thanks to a 24-21 victory over Colorado State last week. Meanwhile, the Cardinal bounced back from their ugly season-opening loss to Kansas State by stunning the No. 14-ranked USC Trojans on the road.

Stanford shows resilience

It would have been easy for the Cardinal to just limp away from their season-opening blowout loss to Kansas State in disappointment. The schedule obviously wasn’t set up in their favor with a road trip against a ranked USC team next on the itinerary.

But the Cardinal went into Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and handed the Trojans their first loss of the season.

We might have to start calling them the road warrior Cardinal with Saturday’s Week 3 matchup slated for Nashville at Vanderbilt. The Commodores have been an absolute disaster for the most part. They didn’t even win a single game last season, and they barely survived a run-in with Colorado State this year. They have a quarterback in Ken Seals that has thrown as many interceptions as touchdowns, and they couldn’t move the ball on the ground even if they wanted to do it.

Meanwhile, Tanner McKee has thrown a cool 352 passing yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He should be able to take whatever he wants against a Commodores defense that allowed an average 296.4 passing yards per game last season, while also giving up 24 touchdown passes. That isn’t something that simply disappears with Vanderbilt opening up the season against lower-end opposition.

As long as McKee doesn’t morph into a turnover machine to help the Commodores, it’s hard to envision Vanderbilt doing much of anything to stand in their way

Commodores end their insufferable losing streak

There’s the rest of the SEC and then there’s Vanderbilt.

Heading into the season, the Commodores hadn’t won a game since beating East Tennessee State at Vanderbilt Stadium back in November 2019. It was fitting that East Tennessee State would return the favor in the opening, leaving Commodores fans wondering if the team could potentially go back-to-back with winless seasons.

They repelled those fears by standing their ground against Colorado State in a 24-21 Week 2 victory. It wasn’t the most impressive win by any stretch, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone in Nashville complaining considering everything the Commodores’ football program has gone through.

They could stay on the winning track if they continue to make a defensive stand and quarterback Ken Seal doesn’t turn the ball over. They’re also going to have to improve their third-down conversion percentage (33.33). It has to get frustrating for players to consistently see drives stall out with few real opportunities to keep moving the chains and come away with touchdowns.

Stanford has been stout against the pass and terrible against the run this season. They are allowing an average 192.5 rushing yards per game on a 6.02 per carry average. If Vanderbilt actually had the offense to get their ground game going, they could make some series noise in this game.

But I wouldn’t hold my breath for this team to suddenly get its act together in Week 3.

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Vanderbilt getting their first win in nearly two years had to be a feel-good moment for the good folks in Nashville, but it’ll be a short-lived one with the Cardinal coming to town for a visit.

Tanner McKee has done a tremendous job of avoiding the sort of mistakes that would put his team in a bind. That’s how they were able to go on the road and knock off a ranked opponent like USC. Stanford isn’t beating themselves in games, which isn’t something I can say for the Commodores.

Ken Seals has thrown two touchdown passes and two interceptions this season, and I can assure you more turnovers are coming from the turnover gift machine that just keeps on giving.

Stanford hasn’t been particularly great running the ball in the first two weeks, but they’ll have the opportunity to change that narrative against a Commodore's defense allowing an average 193 yards on the ground with 5.51 yards per carry. That should be an open invitation for running backs Austin Jones and Nathaniel Peat to reintroduce themselves to the party on Saturday.

I’m laying the points and taking Stanford.

Prediction: Stanford Cardinal (-12)

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Vanderbilt couldn’t stop running water defensively, and they’ll be opening their doors for a clash with a Stanford team that just went into USC and dropped 42 points on the No. 14-ranked Trojans. There’s a reason why the point spread is double digits. Vanderbilt hasn’t really played anyone yet this season, but it’s easy to remember this is the same team that allowed an average of 37.5 points per game last year. Even this season, they struggled to stop East Tennessee State from moving the chains on their defense and heaping 23 points on the scoreboard. This Stanford offense is much more formidable than that Buccaneers team. Give me the over in this one.

Prediction: Over (49)
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Written By Jordy McElroy , "Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast, and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on CNN.com, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY, and BJPenn.com. There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys, and all the Sun Drop you can drink.