After displaying glimmers of hope last week versus the Missouri Tigers, The South Carolina Gamecocks will be right back at it this Saturday night when they welcome the Georgia Bulldogs to Columbia for a much-anticipated Thanksgiving weekend matchup.
Having started the season with four straight wins against the spread, USC lost four straight, putting them at an even 4-4 versus the number and an even worse 2-6 straight up.
Georgia’s last game featured the team’s first look at sophomore JT Daniels, who probably played the best game of the year for Georgia at the quarterback position having passed for 401 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions.
He was the bright spot in a game where Georgia looked vulnerable in many facets when playing a 2-5 Mississippi State team.
As Georgia is trending down, South Carolina looks to be on the rise (although it wouldn’t have been that hard to top its performances against LSU, Texas A&M and Ole Miss).
The fans finally got the quarterback change they’ve been calling for since the beginning of the season (although a decision hasn’t been announced for this game yet), and the team had their best defensive performance in weeks.
According to VegasInsider.com, the Cocks are currently 21.5-point underdogs, with the line having shifted 3.5 points in Georgia’s favor since its opening.
ESPN’s FPI gives South Carolina a 10.6% chance of winning, which sounds right on par with the spread.
The over/under is set at 49 points.
Why was the line set at this number?
I don’t know about the rest of you guys, but this line seemed pretty familiar to me...
Although it opened higher in the 20s, last year’s closing line was around 21, and we all know what happened last year in Athens.
Fast forward to this year and both teams are much worse, except the Gamecocks are at home and the Bulldogs finally got rid of Jake Fromm.
This is the largest predicted deficit of 2020, with second place (Florida) closing at a 14.5-point predicted deficit.
Personally, I don’t think Georgia is as good, and if Luke Doty starts, South Carolina is as bad as the line leads us to believe.
I know keeping a game versus Missouri close isn’t that much of an accomplishment, but it did show growth that I believe will translate into this week.
Also, Georgia has only beaten the Cocks by three touchdowns twice in the last seven years.
There isn’t much line explanation this week simply because I disagree with it. On that note, I await a blowout and this confident take blowing up in my face.
What will have to happen for the Gamecocks to cover?
With a spread this large, defense is going to be the key.
If the Gamecocks score only 14 points against a team that gave up 24 to a bad Mississippi State team just last week, the Bulldogs will have to score more than 35, and I simply don’t think they’ll be able to do that.
Additionally, Georgia has been known as “RB University” for years because of the talent they produce year after year at the position, but in 2020, it appears they took a season off.
Zamir White isn’t a guy the team can lean on. If any part of the offense has to beat this South Carolina team, it will be the quarterback, and that may be a tall task for a guy who has been mediocre over his short career so far.
As for the bad news, Georgia is terrific against the run, having only allowed two 100-yard rushers all year.
So, whoever starts for USC this week will most likely have to pass the ball, which sounded scary just typing it.
What’s the better bet?
The Gamecocks have nothing to prove in a lost season, but you know the team will give it their all against the Bulldogs.
Georgia is out for revenge, and South Carolina is out for respect.
I’m not calling a Gamecock victory by any means, but my official prediction is a loss between 11-21 points, covering the spread.