College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Ole Miss vs. Tennessee: Is the Wrong Team the Favorite?
Photo by Kevin Langley/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
- No. 13 Ole Miss travels to Knoxville to take on Tennessee, which is 4-2 so far this season.
- The Vols are currently third in the SEC East -- behind Georgia and Kentucky -- but two of their three wins are against bottom-tier teams.
- Brad Cunningham dives into the matchup and offers up his top pick.
Ole Miss vs. Tennessee Odds
|Ole Miss Odds||-1 (-115)|
|Tennessee Odds||+1 (-105)|
|Moneyline||-120 / +100|
|Over/Under||82.5 (-115 / -105)|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.|
The highest total of the season is in Knoxville on Saturday night as two of the fastest paced offenses in the country meet for a shootout.
Ole Miss narrowly survived an offensive slugfest against Arkansas last weekend, winning 52-51 in Oxford. Matt Corral is currently the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy as he is putting up crazy numbers this season.
With Alabama losing to Texas A&M on Saturday, that has slightly opened the door for Lane Kiffin’s squad to potentially make a run at the SEC Championship game if Alabama drops one more outing.
So, Saturday night is a huge game for the Rebels.
Josh Heupel is having a fantastic start to his tenure at Tennessee, as he has the Vols at 4-2. Heupel has brought his fast-paced offense to Knoxville, which has translated into a ton of points on the board.
However, this is Heupel’s first big test in the SEC. He could turn the Vols’ program in the right direction for at least a week until they face Alabama next week.
Ole Miss vs. Tennessee Betting Preview
Ole Miss Offense
Kiffin’s offense with Corral under center has been one of the best in the nation, both through the air and on the ground.
The rushing attack has been almost unstoppable, as they are No. 1 in the country in terms of Rushing Success Rate, 19th in EPA/Rush and eighth in Offensive Line Yards.
Kiffin is using a three-back tandem at the moment and all three are averaging over 5.0 yards per carry. Even Corral has eight touchdowns on the ground this season and ran for 94 yards against Arkansas last weekend.
Matt Corral dives for the TD to put Ole Miss in front 🙌 pic.twitter.com/ttZiiHaBXS
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) October 9, 2021
However, Tennessee has a stout front seven that ranks 30th in terms of run defense, per PFF. The Rebels are not going to be able to run the ball with as much ease, as they did last weekend against Arkansas.
Corral and the passing attack has been just as unstoppable as the ground game, as Corral is throwing the ball for 10.3 yards per attempt with 11 big time throws and two turnover worthy plays.
However, Tennessee’s secondary has been solid this season, allowing only 6.9 yards per attempt and is ranked 24th in coverage, per PFF.
It’s going to be easy for Corral to move the ball through the air on Saturday.
Ole Miss Defense
Ole Miss’ defense is not as bad as they were in 2020, but they still aren’t able to stop anyone, especially against the run.
Ole Miss is 116th in both Rushing Success Rate Allowed and EPA/Rush allowed, 80th in Explosive Rushing allowed and PFF has them graded as the 90th best run defense in the country.
Now, the Rebels are going up against one of the best rushing offenses in the SEC, so it’s a nightmare matchup for their front seven.
The secondary isn’t as bad as the front seven, but they are having their own issues at the moment. Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson threw for 326 yards and 9.3 yards per attempt last weekend, which was the highest average Ole Miss has allowed this season.
The Rebels are also 119th in EPA/Pass allowed and haven’t been able to get any pressure on the quarterback, ranking 97th in Havoc and 103rd in tackling, per PFF.
I have no idea how they are going to stop Heupel’s offense.
Heupel has completely changed the Tennessee offense, bringing his fast-paced style of play to Knoxville. Tennessee is third in terms of plays per minute and their rushing offense has been torching opposing defenses.
Lead back Tiyon Evans is having a fantastic season, running the ball for a whopping 6.7 yards per carry, but at the time of writing this, he is questionable to play on Saturday night.
#Vols coach Josh Heupel isn’t ready to say whether Tiyon Evans will play Saturday night against Ole Miss but said things have gotten more optimistic as the week has progressed.
— Wes Rucker (@wesrucker247) October 14, 2021
However, the Vols are rushing the ball 64.1% of the time, which is one of the highest rates in the nation for a non-triple option offense.
You can’t blame Heupel for running it that often when the Vols are the No. 6 team in the country in terms of Success Rate and is seventh in EPA/Rush.
Virginia Tech transfer Hendon Hooker also has a lot to do with that given his dual-threat ability and if last weekend’s game against Arkansas where Jefferson ran for 85 yards and three touchdowns against Ole Miss’ defense is any indication, Hooker and the Tennessee rushing attack should have a field day on Saturday night.
Tennessee’s defense has actually been pretty good this season, ranking 48th in Success Rate and 61st in EPA/Play while allowing 5.1 yards per play, which is 45th nationally.
They’ve been solid versus both the run and the pass, as PFF has them graded inside the top 35 in run defense and coverage.
The main problem in this game, though, is limiting Ole Miss’ explosive plays. The Volunteers are 92nd in Big Plays Allowed and 69th in Rushing Explosiveness Allowed, which is a problem going up against one of the best rushing attacks in the country.
The Volunteers have been able to put pressure on the quarterback, though.
Tennessee ranks seventh in Havoc and has a 73.6 pass-rushing grade, per PFF. Tennessee also has been solid in limiting opponents once they cross the 40 yard line, ranking 52nd in Finishing Drives.
There are ways that the Volunteers can slow down Kiffin’s fast-paced offense.
Ole Miss vs. Tennessee Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Ole Miss and Tennessee match up statistically:
Ole Miss Offense vs. Tennessee Defense
Tennessee Offense vs. Ole Miss Defense
Pace of Play / Other
This game is projected to be a shootout, with both offenses ranking inside the top three in plays per minute.
However, I do believe Tennessee’s defense will be the key to this game. Their metrics have been significantly better than Ole Miss’ defense and will likely be able to create some Havoc.
Tennessee’s rushing attack against Ole Miss’ run defense is way too big of a mismatch to overlook. The Volunteers should be able to run the ball all night long for five-plus yards a rush against a front seven that hasn’t shown any ability to stop the run or tackle consistently this season.
Ole Miss vs. Tennessee Betting Pick
Ole Miss opened as a 3.5-point favorite but has been bet down to -2.5, as 75% of the money is currently on Tennessee.
I have Tennessee projected as a -3.13 favorite at home, so I think there’s some value on them at +2.5. I would play it down +1.