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Tennessee opens as big underdogs against Alabama

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NCAA Football: Alabama at Texas A&M Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The heaviest part of Tennessee’s schedule is upon us, and uncertainty surrounding the quarterback position has once again clouded the Vols’ outlook. Hendon Hooker went down late against Ole Miss, and it sure seems like the opening line for Tennessee-Alabama reflects what his loss would mean.

Per DraftKings Sportsbook, Alabama has opened as nearly a 30 point favorite over Tennessee, even after the emergence of the Volunteers over the past few weeks. The Crimson Tide were always going to be big favorites here, but this is a particularly massive spread. You’ve got to assume that Vegas believes Joe Milton will be getting the call on Saturday night in Tuscaloosa.

Hooker has brought consistency and efficiency to the Tennessee attack, also boosting the run game. He took over for Milton after forcing Heupel’s hand, following Milton’s injury against Pittsburgh. Milton struggled with accuracy down the field, despite oozing the physical traits needed to be a big time quarterback. If he does indeed get the call, it will be interesting to see if the staff keeps their initial gameplan to start the season, or adjusts at all.

Alabama hit a speedbump against Texas A&M, but snapped back to form with a 49-9 win against Mississippi State last week. Bryce Young hasn’t been quite as consistent as Mac Jones was last season, but the Crimson Tide are still humming on the offensive side of the ball. Like last week, the Tennessee defense will give up points in this spot. It’s going to be on the offense to try and keep pace.

Kickoff is set for Saturday night at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Odds/Lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.