Following a win and a covered spread against Vanderbilt, Vegas has the Gamecocks staying in the win column as they prepare to take on the Appalachian State Mountaineers for the first time since 1988.
South Carolina opened as 4 point favorites, but the line since since shifted half a point in favor of the Cocks to where it currently stands at 4.5 points.
The over/under is set at 52.
Why was the line set at this number?
Honestly, I think it was perfectly placed.
All we know about Appalachian State is that they play very well against non-power 5 opponents and North Carolina, probably their most impressive win of the season (and that’s not really much of a compliment).
Also, their most recent game was a loss to Georgia Southern.
Yes, it definitely looks bad on paper because most people, myself included, thought, “Who the hell is Georgia Southern?”
However, they may be a sneaky good team with their only losses coming to LSU, Minnesota, and Louisiana.
With all things said and done, Appalachian State has one loss and they are still a very impressive football team coming to play a Carolina team who is coming off a mediocre showing against a bottom feeder of the SEC.
Appalachian State has great stats all around from running to passing the football, but they definitely played some bad teams, which should skew those stats a little.
USC is undoubtedly more battle tested to this point as well. Thus, the Mountaineers may experience a bit of a shock in the beginning, but things will probably settle down when the game gets into the second quarter and later.
What the spread tells me, though, is that the oddsmakers view both teams as around the same skill level, which I’m not completely convinced is true
Let’s also not forget this Gamecock team is fighting for their bowl lives here.
What will have to happen for the Gamecocks to cover?
Appalachian State doesn’t make mistakes on the offensive end and they have what seems to be an inconsistent defense.
Zac Thomas, their quarterback, has thrown 14 touchdowns and 3 picks all year so it will be hard to force them into mistakes.
The Cocks will have to continue to play mistake free football, which is one of the silver linings of their lackluster offense, and make the game a defensive battle for them to have a shot in this one.
South Carolina has only dropped 30 points once this year and it looks like Appalachian State can drop 30 with ease, so if the defense comes to play, this game could be won and covered.
What’s the better bet?
No bet is simply the better bet.
When you put cash on anything, you want to know what you are betting, and there are way too many question marks in this matchup.
How will Appalachian State react to an SEC opponent? The last non-conference game the Cocks played, they put up 72, so how will they fare in this one? Is Appalachian State for real?
If I was forced to make a pick, I would say South Carolina wins straight up and against the spread because they are home and simply need this game more, but I would also not be surprised if they get booed out of the building and lay an egg.
You never really know with this team.