Football season has returned, and so have the odds articles!
To kick things off in 2022, South Carolina is welcoming the Georgia State Panthers to Columbia for a game under the beautiful Williams-Brice Stadium lights this Saturday night.
Both teams are, obviously, 0-0, and this will be each squad’s first crack at a tone setting victory.
The Gamecocks are currently pinned as 12.5-point favorites over the Panthers, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
ESPN’s FPI gives South Carolina a 82.5% chance of taking this one as well.
The total is set at 56.5 points.
Why was the line set at this number?
Although Georgia State is a team not likely to be ranked or compete for anything besides a bowl victory, let’s not get something confused: this team is not Eastern Illinois.
The Panthers are not some cupcake team placed on the schedule with the purpose of claiming an easy victory.
This will be a test much more comparable to last year’s East Carolina squad to where it will probably conclude in a dub but will most likely not be sweat free.
Last year, Georgia State covered the spread in games against formidable foes such as Auburn and Lousiana. They even BEAT Coastal Carolina, who finished its season 11-2.
To be honest, I very much agree with this line. It’s enough points to where you could be convinced to take Georgia State while a South Carolina win by two touchdowns should not be outside the realm of possibility either, especially at home.
I could see Spencer Rattler slinging it for three touchdowns en route to a 35-10 victory, but I also envision this Gamecock squad potentially coming into this one thinking too highly of itself, climbing into a quick deficit and winning by three (because let’s be honest, it’s not a South Carolina game without at least a little drama).
The truth is, we don’t really know too many definites with the Gamecocks at this point in time, but with the information we have, I love this line, and I guarantee it will keep some degenerate bettors up at night.
What will have to happen for the Gamecocks to cover?
Going off of last year’s team, Georgia State knows how to score; so much so that the team put up at least 28 points in its last four games.
The Panthers also accumulated at least 175 rushing yards in each of those contests.
With the duel-threat quarterback Darren Grainger returning this year, South Carolina is going to have its work cut out for them trying to limit his throwing and running abilities.
Luckily for the Cocks, that is weirdly their specialty.
Three of South Carolina’s best defensive games in 2021 were against duel-threat quarterbacks such as Florida’s Emory Jones, Auburn’s T.J. Finley and North Carolina’s Sam Howell.
Stop Grainger, and you stop Georgia State, assuming its defense is similar to last year’s that allowed at least 34 points five times.
If that happens, a Gamecock victory against the spread will likely be in its future.
What’s the better bet?
I’m on a bit of a losing streak dating back to last year (lost five consecutive ATS predictions).
With that in mind, you guys might not like this... but I’m going to take the Cocks winning by at least 12.5 points.
Morale is high, the lights are on, it’s in Columbia, the fans are happy and the players are hype.
It would be a bit of a buzzkill if South Carolina didn’t give us a show right off the bat.
Emotions aside, like I said, Georgia State is a good matchup for the Gamecocks, and I foresee them taking advantage.
I have South Carolina winning by somewhere between 17 and 24 points.