A week ago, I said that this team was riding a high from a win versus Kentucky and they needed to get down to business to compete with Georgia.
If they were riding a high after a Kentucky victory then there’s no way to express how they must be feeling after upsetting Georgia.
Although the Cocks are home, the oddsmakers are still giving them all kinds of respect ahead of their game versus Florida.
South Carolina opened as 6.5-point dogs and the line has since shifted a whole point to 5.5 points in just about a day.
The over/under currently sits at 49 points.
Why was the line set at this number?
Before I get to the actual question at hand, I just want to show the worth of a healthy Ryan Hilinski to Vegas.
Lines usually don’t shift a whole point, especially in the underdog’s favor, this quickly if there wasn’t a good reason.
Around a day ago, no one really knew what was going on with Hilinski. Then, his MRI results were made public and it got released that he would most likely play.
So, that one point shift has Hilinski’s health written all over it and I just thought that was big.
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming...
The line was set there because Vegas truly buys into the Gamecock hype and the large crowd that will likely show up to Willy B hungry for a W.
Florida’s loss to LSU wasn’t embarrassing either, which is why they only dropped two spots in the AP poll.
Both teams are going into this game hungry and judging by the line, Vegas thinks USC can keep up.
I also believe both teams are set up very similarly: both have a good, not great quarterback (Hilinski is still a baby, he will get there); both teams like to run the ball; and both have stout defenses (if we throw out Florida’s performance last week).
Playing a backup quarterback with a good running game is the Gamecock recipe for success, and the oddsmakers acknowledge that.
What will have to happen for the Gamecocks to cover?
With a line that little, they have to play to win in order to beat the spread.
I don’t envision any kind of backdoor cover in this situation.
With Gator quarterback Kyle Trask having thrown three picks through the 4.5 games he’s played since Franks went down (not to mention two of them being against Tennessee), a road to victory is clear.
If the Cocks win the turnover battle, a cover is very likely.
Georgia, a run-heavy team, struggled against the Gamecock front seven and I would be surprised if there isn’t a similar script in store for Florida.
Trask is most likely going to have to beat the Gamecocks and I’m pretty sure Muschamp and that defense will live with that possibility.
What’s the better bet?
It’s my heart versus my brain on this one.
In the betting world, there’s this thing where when a team gets a once-in-a-lifetime ish win the week before, take their opponent the following week.
While that may apply, the Gamecocks have had their fair share of success over the last two seasons against Florida.
We don’t talk about last year’s meltdown, but two years ago, the Gators took the loss when they last traveled to Columbia.
I can envision a similar result, but, analysis aside, beating two top-10 teams back-to-back seems too good to be true.
Please, PLEASE, let it be true, but I have the Cocks losing somewhere in the 4 to 14 point range with a win against the spread still slightly in play.
If USC pulls this off, someone has to pinch me before I go to bed Saturday night.