Tennessee football: Week 8 SEC, top 25 picks by Dean Zulkofske

A view of the game between Tennessee and Kentucky at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020.101720 Tenn Ky Gameaction
A view of the game between Tennessee and Kentucky at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020.101720 Tenn Ky Gameaction /

Here are Dean Zulkofske’s Week 8 picks for the Tennessee football Volunteers, SEC, and Top 25.

A schedule that features four SEC matchups and four top 25 games is highlighted by Tennessee football hosting the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide at Neyland Stadium Saturday. Before we go the eight predictions for this week, check out my rare but always welcomed winning record from Week 7 and how I’ve done this season thus far.

Week 7 performance

Straight up: 4-1

Gambling picks: 6-4

  • 3-2 against the spread
  • 3-2 over/under

Overall performance for 2020

Straight-up: 23-7

Gambling picks: 29-31

  • 16-14 against the spread
  • 13-17 over/under

Let’s keep the winning record streak going and roll into UT’s bye week with another positive tally on this eight-game slate. Here are my straight up and gambling picks for this week’s SEC games and top 25 matchups, including Tennessee football’s contest with the Alabama Crimson Tide.

33. 842. 41. 841. Prediction

Ole Miss +3.5; Over 71.5

The Bo Nix hype train fell off the tracks last week against South Carolina, but it’s head coach Gus Malzahn that’s under the most pressure going into Oxford. Unfortunately for the Tigers, the problems will continue in a matchup where Ole Miss will get their offense back on track and win in a high-scoring contest.

North Carolina -15.5; Over 60.5

Coming off of a bad loss to a pretty bad team in the Florida State Seminoles, this week for North Carolina at home is a must cover. The Tar Heels have more talent on the field, none more notable than potential first-round draft selection QB Sam Howell. Two high scoring offenses means take the over in a game that UNC wins by a bunch.

18. 837. 24. 856. Prediction

Oklahoma State -3.5; Under 51.5

The Big 12 is still very much wide-open, but with each week that passes by it feels like the Cowboys are taking a firmer grasp on it. That’ll be the story again this week. Both teams have running backs in the conference’s top three for rushing yards meaning there will be some talented offenses on the field, but the running game kills the total in a rare under call for the Big 12.

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833. 23. 822. Prediction. 27

Missouri +4.5; Over 47.5

Both Kentucky and Missouri enter this week following big upset wins over ranked opponents in their most recent outings. Kentucky essentially got 17 points from their defense last week at Tennessee football, and it’s hard to believe that’ll happen in two straight games. Each team does its part to hit the over, and the Wildcats will win again but not by more than five points.

24. 850. 27. 817. Prediction

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South Carolina +5.5; Under 54.5

Taking the field again after a brutal loss to the Missouri Tigers, it seems unlikely that LSU will lose two straight games, especially now that they’re back in Death Valley. With that being said, the South Carolina Gamecocks just won a terrific game over the Auburn Tigers and likely keep this one close. Surprisingly, this game stays under in a nail biter that the Tigers won’t lose.

30. 852. Prediction. 27. 811

Minnesota +2.5; Over 54.5

Minnesota returns the second-best quarterback in the Big 10 with Tanner Morgan who is looking to start his Junior campaign with a bang. On top of that, Michigan is not good. Ever. Why are they favored here? Even after Minnesota’s 2019 season and who they return this year? The Golden Gophers win in a game that just barely hits the over.

Prediction. 29. 830. 35. 884

Southern Methodist -2.5; Over 55.5

In a matchup pairing two unbeaten teams, it’s important to take into consideration that Cincy hasn’t taken the field since Oct. 3. SMU on the other hand holds a 5-0 record scoring 30 or more points in all five of their victories. Having the top running back, a top-two QB, and three of the top five wideouts in the American conference help the Mustangs hit the over and cover at home.

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839. Prediction. 41. 829. 13

Alabama -21.5; Under 65.5

We still don’t know who Tennessee football will trot out to play quarterback against the Tide, but in the end, it shouldn’t really matter in this one. Mac Jones has thrown for over 400 yards in his last three games in what’s shaping up to be a Heisman contending season. It’s tough to see UT scoring enough to push this over, but Bama is the far superior team and will cover in Knoxville.