South Carolina is looking to rebound from last week’s lopsided loss, and its first opportunity to do so will be this Saturday night as they welcome the Charlotte 49ers to Columbia in what will be the first ever matchup between these two teams.
The Gamecocks enter this game with a 1-2 record straight up and against the spread. We don’t need to dive deeper into the team’s recent play for the sake of both of our sanities.
Charlotte comes into Saturday with a 1-3 record straight up and against the spread as well, with its most recent contest being a victory against a squad we know particularly well: the Georgia State Panthers.
After looking like, honestly, one of the worst teams in college football through three games, the 49ers followed that up with a 42-41 win in dramatic fashion against Georgia State.
So, while Charlotte isn’t exactly up to par with the better football team from the state of Georgia, the program officially should not be taken lightly either.
If it were up to Vegas, there would be some disagreement.
South Carolina is favored against Charlotte by 22.5 points, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
ESPN’s FPI doesn’t appear to be any nicer to the 49ers either, giving the Gamecocks a 91.7% chance at a victory.
The total is set at a hefty 66.5 points, which is without a doubt one of the highest totals I have seen run through Columbia in a while.
Why was the line set at this number?
Talk about an overreaction to last week’s events!
Charlotte’s rather unexpected W and South Carolina’s terrible, terrible L came together to form what I believe to be a crazy number in 22.5 points.
Charlotte, at home, against Maryland was a 28-point dog. Just last week, the 49ers were 19.5-point dogs to Georgia State. Now I’m supposed to believe that Georgia State and South Carolina’s skill sets amount to a difference of a meager three points?
If this game took place last week (and I’m sure everyone wish it had), I wholeheartedly believe the number would be north of 30 points.
Something is fishy.
The only thing that has me even remotely calling for a close game is the fact that the Gamecock defense has not performed well as of late and Charlotte’s defense has given up at least 41 points to its opponents all year, so that means maybe a shootout?
Usually I come here praising Vegas for setting a perfect line, but everything about this screams Gamecocks... or maybe that’s what they want me to think.
What will have to happen for the Gamecocks to cover?
To put it plainly, we’ve seen far worse teams than the Gamecocks drop 40+ points on Charlotte.
Georgia State struggled to do just about anything when playing the Cocks, and even they shredded Charlotte to the tune of 343 passing yards and 259 yards on the ground.
If that points trend continues, USC doesn’t even need to dominate defensively to cover the spread.
All they need to do is do what they do best: shut down the pass.
Charlotte has yet to have a 80-yard rusher in 2022, so no matter how suspect that aspect of the Gamecock defense may be, the 49ers are unlikely to take advantage.
Another noteworthy statistic is the 320.5 passing yards per game Charlotte is giving up.
We are due for a vintage Spencer Rattler game, and this may just be it. The fans are also owed some excitement following the events that took place last weekend.
My one key to covering is basically do your job.
Put up at least 40 points. Everyone else did it, so why not USC?
Next, all I’m asking for is a competent defensive performance. Allowing 17 to 21 points to a team of this caliber would make me very uneasy, but it would still likely result in a winning South Carolina -22.5 ticket.
Charlotte quarterback Chris Reynolds did prove to not be some scrub last week, though, so I look forward to him getting a shot at dotting up an SEC defense.
What’s the better bet?
The only thing scaring me here is the trap aspect.
I think the line is crazy, so why doesn’t everyone else?
Vegas wasn’t built off the favorite, but the unlikely victor that no one wants to take.
I may believe that wholeheartedly, but I just can’t bring myself to back the 49ers. Two weeks ago, Charlotte was a dumpster fire, and a win over Georgia State does not change that.
I’m calling for a Gamecock victory somewhere in the 28 to 35-point range. You will find my exact score in this week’s edition of roundtable predictions!