After struggling at home in a loss to Appalachian State, the Gamecocks now shift their focus to Texas A&M as they travel to College Station in what is likely their second-to-last game of the year.
USC opened as 10 point underdogs and the line has since shifted a half point in favor of the Aggies to where it currently sits at 10.5 points.
The over/under is set at 50.5.
Why was the line set at this number?
I think the number is even a little low to be honest.
Texas A&M is a team that likes to score and, well, the Gamecocks don’t.
Everything is favoring the Aggies in this one. They are home, the Cocks don’t have much to play for anymore, and Kellen Mond is a good quarterback who will most likely have a field day facing a suspect secondary.
History also favors Texas A&M as they have literally never lost when playing South Carolina.
Over the last two seasons, games between these teams have been close, though, with the margins of victory being seven and three points respectively.
In those seasons, A&M has had better teams and USC has also had better teams, which at least gives a shred of hope for a Gamecock cover.
On the other hand, a source of concern is the Aggies have dropped at least 28 points in seven of their nine games played this year. If that trend continues, the Cocks would have to put up 18 to cover the spread, and even doing that could be difficult for an offense this inept.
All in all, Texas A&M is a team on the rise and South Carolina is a team on the decline. That and playing in front of their home fans should be more than enough to warrant a double-digit spread in this one.
What will have to happen for the Gamecocks to cover?
Don’t call the game scared (I’m looking at you McClendon).
Unleash Hilinski. Get more creative with the play-calling.
The defense has their backs. Now it’s time for the coaching staff to take the leash off of Hilinski and let him play his game.
When he is more of a threat as a passer, the defense will respect him more and create opportunities for the run game.
A win against the spread is up to the offense in this matchup. The Aggies WILL score points. It’s just a matter of will the Cocks keep up or not.
We’ve seen a path to victory against this team last year when Jake Bentley lit it up through the air. They just simply ran out of gas after an electric third quarter.
If USC sticks with what worked, this game could be interesting.
What’s the better bet?
After last week’s showing, I’ll be surprised if they show up with any sense of urgency.
All signs point toward Texas A&M winning anywhere from 10-21 points.
I outlined some hypotheticals in the previous section, but with reports coming out recently highlighting Muschamp and Tanner’s job security, I don’t see much changing offensively or defensively.
Also, I’ve mainly ignored this aspect of betting all season but when the Gamecocks are playing and the over/under is set at more than 50+, I’d slam the under.