College Football

Tennessee vs Bowling Green 9/2/21 College Football Picks, Odds, Predictions

Bowling Green Falcons (0-0) vs. Tennessee Volunteers (0-0)
September 2, 2021 8:00 pm EDT
The Line: Tennessee Volunteers -33.5 / Bowling Green Falcons +33.5; Over/Under: 58
(Click here for latest betting odds)

The Tennessee Volunteers host the Bowling Green Falcons in week 1 college football action from Neyland Stadium on Thursday.

The Bowling Green Falcons come into the 2021 season looking to put 2020 behind them in what was an abysmal year to put it nicely. The Falcons went 0-5 in their condensed MAC schedule, being outscored 225-57. Matt McDonald was the starting QB coming into the season, hitting just 44% of his passes last season with a touchdown and six picks, but Syracuse transfer Drew Gunther will challenge McDonald for the starting gig. Terion Stewart returns as the lead running back after leading the Falcons with 295 rushing yards and all four rushing TDs by a running back last season. The three top receivers from last year’s squad are all gone from the program, leading Tyrone Broden, a redshirt freshman, in charge of leading a young and inexperienced receiving group. Defensively, the Falcons need to get better after recording one single takeaway and they were also the worst team against the run last season, allowing 310 yards per game on the ground. Leading tackler Darren Anders is back at linebacker, but the pass rush is young and inexperienced as well and will take time to develop. The good news is that three of the four starters in the secondary that was Bowling Green’s strength last season and it’s also the area that has the most returning experience. As a team, Bowling Green averaged 11.4 PPG and allowed 45 PPG last season.

The Tennessee Volunteers will try to bounce back in 2021 after a disappointing 2020 season that saw the Vols finish 3-7, putting up more than 19 points just once in their last seven games, with the one performance coming against lowly Vanderbilt. Josh Heupel comes over to lead the charge from UCF to Tennessee. The Vols no longer have Jarrett Guarantano at QB, The Vols have a decision to make under center now, as Harrison Bailey has history with the team after logging a 71% completion percentage in 2020 with 578 yards and 4 scores, but two high-profile transfers in Joe Milton from Michigan and Hendon Hooker from Virginia Tech will be in the mix from the word go for the starting quarterback job. Tennessee also lost top running backs Ty Chandler and eric Gray, but that leaves the job to Jabari Small and JUCO transfer Tiyon Evans in the Vols’ backfield. Josh Palmer’s done with the Volunteers’ receiving group, but the Vols still have Velus Jones and a pair of nightmares for opposing secondaries in Jalin Hyatt and Cedric Tillman. On defense, the Vols have to rebuild their linebacking group after losing three top LBs to the transfer portal, but Tennessee brought in some key pieces as well, like Juwan Mitchell from Texas to help Jeremy Banks who returns after logging 28 tackles for the Vols last season. Matthew Butler, Elijah Simmons and Aubrey Solomon lead Tennessee’s pass rush up front while the secondary still boasts Jaylen McCollough and Trevon Flowers at safety. As a team, Tennessee averaged 21.5 PPG while allowing 30.1 PPG last season.

Bowling Green is 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games overall and 0-9 ATS in their last 9 road games while the under is 6-2 in their last 8 Thursday matchups. Tennessee is 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games overall and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 Thursday matchups while the under is 6-0 in their last 6 home games.

Yuck. I mean talk about two teams I want nothing to do with early on. Bowling Green was hot garbage last year and not much has changed talent-wise and while Tennessee got some high-profile transfers like Joe Milton and Hendon Hooker, and a new head coach in Jeff Heupel, there’s still a lot of change that is not something I would want on my plate when I’m laying almost five touchdowns. Instead, I’m going to side with the under. Bowling Green is going to struggle to score again and I think it may take a while for the Tennessee offense to kick in, long enough to where Tennessee won’t be able to do enough to get us over the number.

Chris Ruffolo's Free Pick:
Under 58
Free Bet Match Up To $1,001; Use code DAWGZRF

Chris Ruffolo

Chris joined the Sports Chat Place team in August 2016 and since then he's worked tirelessly to pick out winners across a wide range of sports from NBA,NHL,MLB and NFL and even into the college ranks of football and basketball as well. Chris has carried over his drive and determination from playing sports at a young age to crushing the competition on a daily basis here at Sports Chat Place!

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