Saturday, November 21, 2020, Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, Alabama, 7 p.m. ET
Volunteers at Tigers Betting Preview: Volunteers (+11.5), Tigers (-11.5)
Tennessee Volunteers Betting Preview
The Volunteers (2-4, 2-4 Southeastern Conference) started the season with back-to-back victories, but have lost four consecutive games. Last week’s game against Texas A&M was postponed until Dec. 12 after the Aggies had positive COVID-19 cases.
“Everything changes daily,” Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt said. “There’s lots of unknowns. You just try to adapt and there’s nothing that you can go back and draw from. There’s no history books on COVID, so it’s all for the first time.”
Consider, too, the frustrations Vols have experienced on offense this season.
Tennessee is averaging only 14.5 points a game during its four-game skid, and for the season ranks second-worst in the SEC in total offense (318.5 yards per game) and yards per play (4.74). The Vols also have the worst third-down conversion percentage (27.38).
There’s some question as to who might start at quarterback for the Vols against Auburn.
Freshman Harrison Bailey, who finished Tennessee’s most recent game against Arkansas, could find himself in the game plan this week as he and sophomores Brian Maurer and J.T. Shrout all took plenty of reps in practice while senior starter Jarrett Guarantano (956 yards, six touchdowns, three interceptions) was in concussion protocol last week.
“To me, it seems to be a little more confidence offensively, especially with our younger guys just having a better idea of how to execute at a higher level,” Pruitt said.
Auburn Tigers Betting Preview
The No. 23 Tigers (4-2, 4-2 SEC are back in action a week after sitting out last week because of COVID-19 positive cases.
The Tigers have not played since Oct. 31 when they crushed defending national champion LSU at home, 48-11.
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn told reporters he did not know exactly how many of the 10 players who tested positive or were quarantined due to contact tracing would be available against Tennessee. He later acknowledged that at least some would miss the game, but he declined to go into specifics.
Auburn has won two in a row in getting back into the Top 25. Sophomore quarterback Bo Nix and junior receivers Seth Williams and Anthony Schwartz lead an offense that has averaged 405.8 yards a game and 5.8 yards a play. Their plus-4 turnover margin ranks third-best in the SEC.
Nix has completed 60.7 percent of his passes for 1,407 yards (234.5 per game) with nine touchdowns against four interceptions. He also has rushed for 274 yards. Schwartz has 38 receptions for 422 yards, Williams 28 for 511.
Much of the Tigers’ success can be attributed to an impactful group of freshmen led by running back Tank Bigsby, who is averaging 83.8 rushing yards a game and has five touchdowns. Bigsby’s 503 rushing yards lead all Power 5 conference freshman running backs, and he also leads all SEC kickoff returners with 306 return yards.
“It’s probably the most we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Malzahn said of his freshmen of influence. “First of all, what stands out to me about the class is they have a lot of character. High-character guys. It’s a very talented group. It’s a great combination.”
Volunteers at Tigers Betting Pick for November 21, 2020
The Tigers lead the series 28-22-3 with wins in six of the last seven games. The Volunteers won the last meeting at Auburn 30-24 in 2018 as Guarantano passed for 328 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Vols.
Volunteers at Tigers Betting Pick:
Tigers 28, Volunteers 17
Volunteers at Tigers Best Bet for November 21, 2020
The Vols haven’t gotten past the 20-point mark in any of their last three games, scoring only 37 points in losses to Kentucky, Alabama, and Arkansas, which combined for 106 points. The Tigers haven’t played since a 48-11 romp past LSU on Oct. 31.
Volunteers at Tigers Best Bet: UNDER 50.5