College Football Picks: South Carolina vs. Arkansas

Ross Benjamin

Wednesday, October 9, 2013 12:58 PM UTC

Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013 12:58 PM UTC

The South Carolina Gamecocks go on the road on Saturday for an SEC battle with the Arkansas Razorbacks. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:20 PM ET.

College Football Preview

According to current college football betting odds the Gamecocks are a 6.0-point road favorite. The Gamecocks defeated the Razorbacks last season 38-20 at South Carolina and covered as a 14.0-point favorite. That win snapped a streak of 3 straight Arkansas wins in the series.

Gamecocks Draining their Backers

After winning and covering in their season opener versus North Carolina, the Gamecocks have failed to cover for our NCAAF picks in their last 4-games. The good news is that they’ve won 3 of those 4 contests and enter this week 4-1. They’re ranked 14th by the AP and are 12th in the USA Today poll. Since Steve Spurrier became the head coach at South Carolina in 2005 the Gamecocks have gone a decent 9-6 ATS as a road favorite. South Carolina has come off a pair of unimpressive wins. Two weeks ago on the road they had to come from a 10-0 halftime deficit to defeat Central Florida 28-25 while failing to cover as a 7.0-point favorite. Then last week at home versus a 1-4 Kentucky team, they squandered away a 21-0 lead, before holding on for a 35-28 win. They didn’t come close to covering as a 21.5-point chalk in that contest versus the Wildcats. This will be the first of 3 consecutive road games for South Carolina and all come versus SEC opponents. The next 2 weeks they are at Tennessee and then Missouri. 

Stop the Bleeding 

Arkansas got off to a fast 3-0 start under new head coach Brent Bielema. Unfortunately the Razorbacks have dropped their last 3 and enter this week a disappointing 3-3 on the season. They seemingly had things under control at Rutgers with a 24-7 lead midway through the 4th quarter only to see the Scarlet Knights rally to win the game 28-24. The last 2 weeks they fell to nationally ranked conference foes Texas A&M and Florida. In quite a contrast compared to recent years the Razorbacks defense has considerably outplayed the offense. The passing attack in particular has been dismal ranking 111th statistically in the nation. Arkansas has been very good to their backers in recent years as a home underdog. The Hogs have gone 7-1 ATS in their last 8 in that role, and a perfect 7-0 ATS if they’re a home dog of 14.5 or less.


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Final Analysis

History is on the side of the home underdog in this contest. Since the start of the 1989 season, all home underdog of 8.5 or less that come off exactly 3 losses in a row, versus an opponent coming off exactly 3 wins in a row is 9-1 ATS. The underdog has won 7 of those 10-games outright. When you couple that with the fact that South Carolina has flirted with disaster the last 3 weeks in a row versus inferior opposition, then my free pick goes toward the conference home underdog in this spot. 

Free Pick: Arkansas +6.0 over South Carolina

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