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Odds: Gamecocks open as narrow Belk Bowl favorites over Virginia

Vegas gives South Carolina the edge in this SEC-ACC matchup.

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

The South Carolina Gamecocks have been installed as early 4-point favorites over the Virginia Cavaliers in the teams’ Belk Bowl matchup in Charlotte, N.C., later this month.

The line, which opened with the Gamecocks at a 3.5-point advantage, has risen slightly in favor of the Garnet and Black. South Carolina is coming off a 28-3 victory over Akron in its season finale, but will be without star receiver/kick returner Deebo Samuel for the bowl.

Last time out, the Cavaliers lost their 15th straight game to in-state rival Virginia Tech in an agonizing 34-31 overtime loss for the Hoos. Virginia (7-5, 4-4 ACC) nonetheless enjoyed a productive 2018, finishing tied for third in the ACC’s Coastal division and picking up a 16-13 road victory against what was then a 16th-ranked Miami squad. The Cavaliers are only a couple seasons removed from a disastrous 2-10 campaign, so things appear to be trending upward under coach Bronco Mendenhall (who, like Will Muschamp, is in his third year).

The over/under is set at 54.5. South Carolina is 7-5 against the spread, while Virginia is 8-4.