Despite last week’s gut-wrenching loss to the Tar Heels, Las Vegas still expects the Gamecocks to have a field day against the Buccaneers of Charleston Southern.
Currently, the Gamecocks are 40.5-point favorites and the line hasn’t had much movement since it opened.
Originally, it was thought of as a “cupcake” game and an easy win, but with the recent news of Jake Bentley going down and Ryan Hilinski leading the show, much more interest will be expected for bettors and the average fan.
Why was the line set at this number?
Usually, South Carolina feasts in games versus opponents outside of the Power Five conferences (let’s just forget that game against The Citadel even happened).
In these types of games dating back to last season, the Gamecocks beat Coastal Carolina 49-15, Chattanooga 49-9, and Akron 28-3.
What do all of these games have in common? The spread never reached more than 40 points.
So, South Carolina, historically, has won these games but has not completely obliterated the other team.
The other thing is that the Gamecocks have a brand new quarterback coming to play this week.
Either Vegas thinks Hilinski is that good and will get off to a fiery start, or they think Charleston Southern is that bad.
What will have to happen for the Gamecocks to cover?
Getting over that 50-point threshold is pretty hard for South Carolina so they will have to score a lot and their defense will have to force some turnovers/be lockdown.
If Charleston Southern scores more than 10 points, covering the spread will be very difficult.
The key will be forcing three-and-outs and maximizing their time with the football.
What’s the better bet?
One thing is (hopefully) certain: South Carolina is going to win this game.
With all these question marks going in, though, 40.5 points may be too many to cough up.
I would think Muschamp will attempt to ease Hilinski into action and not make him sling it too much, and with that thought, I don’t think they will completely break the scoreboard.
Even with Jake Bentley in there, I would pause at the sight of having to cover 40.5 points.
I am expecting a victory in the 28-35 point range and a win against the spread by Charleston Southern, although losing by 35 shouldn’t give them too much to smile about.