This weekend marks the third Saturday in October, a distinction that means only one thing to Tennessee Vols fans.
The Vols head to Birmingham to take on long-time rivals the Alabama Crimson Tide, but sportsbook odds predict Tennessee is destined to lose its 15th-consecutive game to the No. 4 team.
Tennessee’s Week 7 shakeup
The Vols look to get back on their feet this week after suffering a tough 31-26 loss to No. 13 Ole Miss on Saturday.
Fans became visibly perturbed by referee calls, with tension coming to a head in the fourth quarter’s final minute.
Neyland Stadium’s traditionally loud sold out crowd took its lively nature to a different, less wholesome level.
Stadium-goers began pelting the Ole Miss sideline with practically anything they could find. This included water bottles, beer cans, mustard, and even a golf ball.
A preliminary report revealed that at least 18 fans were arrested and 47 ejected from the game.
As if the event’s conclusion wasn’t enough of an upset, a bevy of player injuries rubbed additional salt into Tennessee’s wounds.
Top Vols running back Tiyon Evans sat out for the game’s entirety due to an ankle injury he suffered the prior week against South Carolina. Three plays into the game, starting right tackle Cade Mays suffered an injury of his own.
Then as things were coming to a close, starting quarterback Hendon Hooker injured his leg during the third-to-last play.
The long-standing Vols-Bama rivalry
Players and fans alike left Neyland Stadium fired up last Saturday, and that energy will undoubtedly carry over to Week 8.
That energy may not be enough to turn the tides in Alabama, though.
The lengthy rivalry between the Vols and Bama dates all the way back to their introduction in 1901. Out of the 103 games the two teams have played against each other, Alabama holds a comfortable lead with a 57-38 overall record.
Tennessee is the only team to have won seven back-to-back faceoffs against the Tide, a title that came between 1995 and 2002.
However, the Vols haven’t won a game against Bama since 2006.
Vols vs. Alabama betting odds
If you are betting on the Vols, early lines for this Saturday’s game situate Tennessee as a substantial underdog, and sportsbooks are certainly not without reason.
Bama is currently on a 14-game winning streak against the Vols, having won every matchup since 2007.
That coupled with the mishaps of Tennessee’s previous game dwindles confidence in the Vols even further.
Tennessee currently holds a 4-3 season record, with a 2-2 record in the SEC.
Bama boasts a 6-1 record so far this year, losing to Texas A&M in Week 6 by a single field goal. This past weekend, the Crimson Tide stomped the Bulldogs 41-24 in Mississippi.
Alabama returns to Tuscaloosa this week with a significant home field advantage over the Vols. Odds of the Tide celebrating their 15th victory over Tennessee sit at .
The Vols have odds of turning this faceoff into a win.
Sportsbooks set Tennessee’s spread against Alabama almost as wide as Bowling Green had against the Vols in the season opener.
Tennessee’s spread sits at a whopping .
Tennessee has only managed to cover the spread in one of the last five faceoffs against the Tide. Otherwise, Alabama has won by a margin of 31 or more points.
In the 14 games Bama has won against the Vols since 2007, the total score has averaged just under 52 points. That’s a lot less than the game’s current total, which sits at .
Tennessee’s next shot at redemption kicks off at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 23.
Bettors can stream the game via ESPN or on the Tennessee Athletics website.