ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE AT TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS (+13, O/U 57.5), Sat., 3:30 p.m. ET
In a weekend filled with upsets by massive home underdogs, the Crimson Tide avoided trouble and rolled to a 49-30 win at overmatched Arkansas.
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The nation's top-ranked team forced five turnovers and rolled up 517 yards of total offense while dominating from the outset as a two-touchdown favorite.
On Saturday, Alabama (6-0) visits a Tennessee (5-1) team that many observers considered to be the Tide's top challenger for the SEC title this year.
The Volunteers saw their run of favorable wild finishes finally come to an end last week when they overcame a two-touchdown deficit against Texas A&M, but lost 45-38 in overtime.
JOSH NAGEL'S TAKE
Tennessee has been a sticky opponent for Alabama of late, and nearly upset the Tide's national title hopes last year.
The Volunteers dominated most of the way but gave up a big play late to allow Alabama to survive with a 19-14 win.
They were no doubt left regretting what might have been, but get Saturday's rematch on their home field at Neyland Stadium.
Coming off its wild finish against Georgia, Tennessee looked flat last week against Texas A&M, and the Aggies took advantage.
The Volunteers stormed back in the fourth quarter, sending the game to overtime and exemplifying their maddening disposition for fans and wagering supporters.
In other words, had they played the whole game as they did the final frame, they probably beat the Aggies and stay undefeated.
This game opened at Alabama -10.5 or -11 in most markets, and a flood of Crimson Tide backers immediately pushed it to -13, the universal number as of Thursday afternoon.
Bookmaker.eu spokesman Scott Cooley said 80 percent of the tickets thus far have been printed on the heavy favorite.
"We expected this to shoot up initially, but I don't think it will go much higher," he said.
Tennessee's late comeback was something of a mixed blessing for backers of the Volunteers. They were no doubt thrilled to avoid taking a loss, but a touchdown loss with a 7-point underdog is the worst-case scenario when a game goes to overtime.
Even so, Tennessee +7.5 was offered at some shops before kickoff, so its backers pushed at worse and some got a win if they found the additional hook off the key number.
Alabama backers never had to sweat as the two-touchdown road chalk covered with room to spare. The Tide twice led by 25 before a late Razorbacks score made the margin more respectable.
SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh has strong lean on the total in this game. Get his and all other SportsLine selections by clicking here.
I'm going with the underdog here, as Tennessee is a big value side as the spread approaches two touchdowns.
I think the steam on Alabama is a bit of an overreaction to what we saw last week. In other words, many observers seem to believe the Tennessee loss is the start of a downward spiral for the Vols.
Although, like most Alabama opponents, they will be physically overmatched at the line of scrimmage, Joshua Dobbs and friends have too many dangerous playmakers to be counted out of this one. I think they hang in and take Alabama to the wire.
Pick: Tennessee +13