Week 3 was a loss but an expected loss at the hands of Alabama. Vegas expects the losing to continue as the Gamecocks travel to Missouri this Saturday for a date with the Tigers.
Apparently covering the spread against Alabama didn’t do too many favors for South Carolina, with Missouri opening as 10-point favorites versus the Cocks.
The line has since dipped to 9.5 points, with the over/under being set at 64 for most books.
Why was the line set at this number?
Honestly, beats me.
The Gamecocks have had their number over the last three years and if anything, Missouri got worse.
They lost Drew Lock to the NFL and got Clemson’s sloppy seconds with Kelly Bryant, who is not a bad quarterback by any means but not Drew Lock.
Although their last two wins were impressive, they dropped their opening game at Wyoming, a game they had no business losing.
If three weeks have said anything about Missouri, it’s that they are either an average team or a really good home team, the latter probably being why they are favored by that much in this game.
With the over/under being placed at 64, Vegas sees a shootout, which should be expected in a matchup with two sub-par defenses, and for South Carolina to simply run out of gas.
What will have to happen for the Gamecocks to cover?
Their defense just has to be slightly competent.
If the Gamecocks dropped 23 on Alabama, I don’t see any reason why they would struggle doing the same to Missouri.
Their offense will keep them up or in the game, but they need to make sure Missouri’s offense doesn’t catch fire.
As long as the Gamecocks don’t commit head-scratching turnovers and they force the Tigers to drive the length of the field, it would be difficult for them to put up at least 33.
Decent tackling would also be nice.
What’s the better bet?
I simply cannot envision a game where South Carolina loses by more than 10.
Just like Vegas, I await a shootout and a game that comes down to the final possessions.
If the defense plays out of their minds, which I don’t expect but it is still a possibility, the Cocks may even run away with it.
With Missouri recently looking like a run-first team, even though we’ve seen in the game versus Wyoming that Bryant can sling it, it fits South Carolina in the fact that they play better against the run.
Taking into consideration the mental real estate South Carolina has over Missouri at the moment and last year’s win with a backup quarterback when Missouri was at their best in years, I expect a win in the 3 to 10 point range or a loss that will still cover the spread.