Tennessee vs. Ole Miss Odds, Picks: Our Bettors Debate Each Side (Oct. 16)
James Gilbert/Getty Images. Pictured: Hendon Hooker.
- SEC college football action continues on Saturday night when Tennessee takes on Ole Miss.
- Mike Ianniello and Tanner McGrath debate which side to bet for the game below.
- Read on for breakdowns for both teams.
Tennessee vs. Ole Miss Odds
-115o / -105u
|Ole Miss Odds|
-115o / -105u
Well, this game is for sure not lacking for storylines, from the Manning Bowl to Lane Kiffin’s return to Knoxville.
Don’t expect a video tribute, though, as Kiffin likely won’t receive a warm welcome home after bouncing on the Vols for USC after the 2009 season, just one year into his six-year contract.
Kiffin has returned to Knoxville twice as the offensive coordinator for Alabama, outscoring the Vols, 83-30, but he has never been back as the head coach.
The one thing I’m sure Tanner and I can both agree on here is that points will be scored with a total at 81. So, ask yourself this… If this game turns into an offensive shootout, which offense would you rather back?
I don’t want Kiffin to think this is rat poison, but he’s one of the best offensive minds in the entire sport. The Rebels offense is second in the country, averaging 561.6 yards per game and is fourth with 46.2 points per game.
Quarterback Matt Corral has the second-best odds to win the Heisman Trophy and very well could end up being the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft.
Corral is averaging 300 yards passing per game and has thrown 12 touchdowns and no interceptions. He ranks fourth in the country, averaging 10.3 yards per attempt.
This Ole Miss offense ranks 18th in the country in Pass Success Rate and is going to torch a Tennessee secondary that ranks 98th against the pass on defense and 92nd at defending big plays.
I’ve been quite impressed with Matt Corral this season. I would consider myself a lackadaisical Ole Miss fan, wherein I’ll casually root for the explosive offense when I’m not betting against it.
However, I’ve been much more impressed with Tennessee recently.
Two weeks ago, the Vols smashed Mizzou as 2.5-point underdogs. Then, last week, they beat South Carolina by 25 as 10-point favorites.
The box scores are eye candy for Rocky Top residents. They posted a 75% Success Rate on standard downs against Missouri (48% national average) while rushing for 450 yards.
Then, they ran for 250 yards on 49 carries against South Carolina (5.0 YPC) and didn’t get stuffed once.
Meanwhile, the Rebels offense has been electric, but I’ve been less impressed with the team overall. Ole Miss barely held on for a win over Arkansas as six-point favorites, and it got absolutely destroyed by an Alabama team that just lost to Texas A&M.
The Hogs posted a 62% Success Rate on standard downs against Ole Miss last week, and the Rebels’ defensive line ranks outside the top 100 in Line Yards.
Given the Vols’ prolific rushing success, Tennessee will move the ball on the ground, dominate the time of possession, and score points while keeping the ball out of Corral’s hands.
Tennessee is on the upswing while Ole Miss has been treading water, and I love catching points with the Vols at home.
Ianniello: Tennessee did look good against Missouri and South Carolina, two teams that are a combined 0-5 in SEC play. It also lost at home to Pitt and got crushed by Florida.
Sure, the Vols have been running the ball well, and when you think of Ole Miss, you likely think of Kiffin drawing up unique plays for Corral to throw the ball all over the yard.
But do you know which team ranks No. 1 in the entire country in Rushing Success Rate? The Ole Miss Rebels.
Jerrion Ealy missed last week’s game with a concussion but should be back this week. Even if he isn’t, Ole Miss just rushed for 324 yards and five touchdowns against one of the best defenses in the country without him.
Henry Parris went over 100 yards, and Snoop Conner rushed for 110 yards and three touchdowns last week.
Corral has also been lethal with his legs this season. His eight scores on the ground are the third most by a quarterback in the country.
The Rebels have the skill in the backfield to break off big runs, and the offensive line is going to push around the Vols’ front seven.
Tennessee ranks 103rd in the country in Line Yards, while the Ole Miss offensive line ranks eighth and will dominate the line of scrimmage when it has the ball.
McGrath: Are we positive the Rebels will just push around the Tennessee front seven?
The Vols rank 41stt in Defensive Rush Success Rate and 30th in PFF’s run defense grades. Plus, they’re allowing only 3.3 yards per carry through their first six games.
While they’ve had less success in the passing game, the Vols still excel at creating Havoc, ranking seventh in the country.
Corral has struggled with turnover-worthy plays in the past, making 26 over the past two seasons. He’s committed only two turnover-worthy plays this season, but both came last week against Arkansas.
All-in-all, I think Tennessee is going to be more of a defensive pest than Mike thinks.
However, we know — for a fact — how easy moving the ball against Ole Miss is. Watch the highlights of the Ole Miss-Arkansas game, and the eye test will prove it.
The Razorbacks ranked 27th in Rush Success Rate and 61st in Offensive Line Yards entering that game. Tennessee currently ranks 11th and 16th in those stats, respectively, and should leave this game with as many rushing yards as Arkansas had last week (350).
Ianniello: Saying that Tennessee has “had less success in the passing game” is an understatement. The Vols defense ranks 106th in the country in pass defense, allowing 265.8 passing yards per game.
Opponents are completing 68.2% of their passes against this defense; only two teams in the entire country have allowed a higher completion percentage to opposing quarterbacks.
Yes, Ole Miss has been horrible defending the run. But with a total set at 82.5 and Corral on the other side, Tennessee is going to have to throw the ball at some point. And the Rebels defense has been much better at limiting the damage through the air.
This defense ranks 35th in the country in Pass Success Rate, and while Hendon Hooker has looked better this season, I don’t trust him to go toe-to-toe with Corral.
In his three-year career, Hooker has just 20 big-time throws and 20 turnover-worthy plays.
With a total this high and a shootout expected, give me the better quarterback that who playing like a Heisman Trophy candidate and future first-round pick.
McGrath: I trust Hooker. I trust his 11.4 adjusted yards per attempt (per Sports-Reference). I trust his 13:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. I trust his 80.6% adjusted completion percentage (per PFF).
However, I also trust his supporting cast more so than I trust Corral’s. The Tennessee rush attack is going to run around, through, and over the Ole Miss front seven.
And you may be harping on Tennessee’s pass defense, but its overall defensive formula has been working. The Vols defense ranks:
- 7th in third-down conversion rate
- 7th in total first downs allowed
- 20th in yards allowed per play
- 13th in total points allowed.
With a solid defense and a great rushing game, Hooker’s job is going to be very easy Saturday.
Meanwhile, Corral needs a lot of support in his role. When Alabama held the Rebels’ rush attack to just 78 yards on 2.3 yards per carry, Corral managed only 213 yards passing on 29 attempts.
If Corral’s defense can’t get off the field and his rush attack doesn’t get going against a Tennessee defense that ranks 11th in rush yards allowed, I wouldn’t trust the Heisman candidate in this matchup.
Ianniello: Bet Ole Miss -3
You think this game means something to Kiffin? The King of Petty is out here playing chess, not checkers.
This game is going to be a ton of fun and surely a back-and-forth shootout. Give me the better coach and the better quarterback. Hotty Toddy!
McGrath: Bet Tennessee +3
In the end, I trust the betting market. Per our Action PRO report, we’ve tracked sharp money hitting the Vols. While only 55% of the tickets are on them, they’re pulling over 85% of the handle.
I always love a home dog, especially one pulling all the smart money. Look for the Vols to cover for the third consecutive game and maybe sprinkle the moneyline a little in this primetime SEC matchup.