Tennessee 2019 Betting Guide: Is a Bowl Game Guaranteed in Pruitt’s Year 2?

Tennessee 2019 Betting Guide: Is a Bowl Game Guaranteed in Pruitt’s Year 2? article feature image
Credit:

Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Jarrett Guarantano (2).

Tennessee 2019 Betting Odds

  • National Title: 1,000-1
  • To Win SEC: 100-1
  • To Make The Playoff: 250-1
  • Win Total: 6.5 

Tennessee Schedule, Projected Spreads

What to Like about Tennessee

One year past the Butch Jones era at Tennessee and we’ve already seen big offensive improvements. The Volunteers 2017 offense ranked 118th in S&P+ and swiftly rebounded in year one under Jeremy Pruitt.

A dramatic jump to 38th in S&P+ offensively in 2018 was led by quarterback Jarrett Guarantano and passing explosiveness rank of 29th. He had a 12-3 TD-INT ratio and completed 62.2% of his passes.

With offensive coordinator Tyson Helton moving to Western Kentucky, Tennessee made one of the bigger hires of the offseason. Jim Chaney spent the previous three seasons as Georgia’s offensive coordinator, and will fill the same role for the Volunteers.

There were criticisms in Athens last season of Chaney’s red zone play calling, as Georgia ranked 129th in goal line success rate.

But Chaney led an offense that was ranked third in S&P+ and gets to coach a Tennessee team that is second overall in returning production.

What Could Cause Problems

The trenches on both sides of the ball deserve plenty of attention. Offensively, Guarantano was sacked in 8.2% of his drop backs behind a line that was 106th in sack rate. Trey Smith, one of the best offensive tackles in college football, is still an unknown for the season.

Excluding Smith the Volunteers have just two players on the offensive line with double digit career starts. This may be another season of Guarantano running for his life, so be cautious taking the Vols against teams with stellar defensive lines.

Tennessee’s defensive line loses four of its top 5 tacklers, including end Kyle Phillips, who accounted for more than 11% of the team’s havoc in 2018. Tennessee does face a series of offensive lines that do not pack much of a punch, so that unit for the Vols has some time to get settled in.

Other Nugget(s)

Tennessee’s schedule includes bye weeks before two of its toughest division games in Georgia and Missouri. Unfortunately, the Volunteers will face four teams off a bye week including Georgia, Mississippi State, UAB and Kentucky. BYU will also be on nine days rest for the Sept. 7 game in Knoxville.

Neyland Stadium may be the biggest house in college football, but the Volunteers have not had recent success at home.

Since the 2008 season, Tennessee has gone 23-44 ATS at home when facing a team on extra rest.

Bets to Watch

After projecting the spreads for all of Tennessee’s games, the Vols will be 3-5 in touchdown-plus games. This is a stat used by my podcast partner Stuckey to look at games we feel fairly confident the team will win or lose because the spread is more than a touchdown.

Taking out the touchdown-plus games gives Tennessee four remaining games to eclipse 6.5 wins.

The Volunteers will need to sweep BYU, South Carolina, Kentucky and Vanderbilt to get there.

It certainly isn’t impossible, but the best bet on the Tennessee is Under 6.5. Jeremy Pruitt and Jim Chaney should get the Volunteers to a bowl game, which is progress in Year 2.

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