South Carolina -22 vs. Vanderbilt for College Football Picks

Darin Zank

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 3:17 PM GMT

Coming off a big victory as home dogs against Georgia, South Carolina's Gamecocks are now big betting odds favorites on the road for Saturday night's game against struggling Vandy in Nashville (7:30 pm ET, SECN). Can South Carolina avoid a letdown? Or do the Commodores have enough to cause some trouble?

The Betting Odds
As of Wednesday most online sportsbooks were chalking South Carolina at right around -22 points, with a total of around 55. Those out there who think Vandy has a chance to pull the upset in this spot can get a price of +1150 on the money line at 5Dimes.

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Game Set-Up
The Gamecocks opened this season with that 52-28 drubbing at the hands of Texas A&M, losing outright as 10-point home favorites. SC then defeated East Carolina 33-23 but couldn't cover at -14. But last week the Gamecocks came up big, beating then-No. 6 Georgia 38-35 as six-point home dogs.

South Carolina and the Bulldogs played each other to about a statistical tie, but the Gamecocks got very fortunate when Georgia's all-conference kicker missed a very short field goal in the waning minutes that would have tied the score.

South Carolina returned 14 starters this year from a team that went 11-2 last year. Eight starters were back on offense, including thousand-yard rusher Mike Davis and four along the O line. But they had to replace their starting QB and last year's leading receiver, Bruce Ellington, who's now playing on Sundays for San Francisco. And six starters came back on defense, although they had to replace monster Jadeveon Clowney, the No. 1 pick in May's NFL draft. 

On the other side of this match-up Vandy has struggled during the early going of the post-Coach Franklin era. The Commodores opened this season with an embarrassing 37-7 loss at home to Temple, going down in flames as eight-point favorites. They then lost to Ole Miss 41-3, whiffing on the cover as 17-point “home” dogs at LP Field. Last week Vandy had to rally to beat UMass 34-31 but came nowhere close to covering at -16.

Right now the Commodores, who have been out-gained in every game so far, don't look like a very solid option for your college football picks.

Vanderbilt returned just 10 starters this year from a team that went 9-4 last year. Six starters came back on offense, including last year's leading rusher and four along the offensive line. But they had to replace their starting QB and top two receivers. And only four starters returned on defense, none in the secondary.

That's not to mention they lost head coach James Franklin to Penn State.

 

Gamecocks-Commodores Recent History
South Carolina has beaten Vandy five times in a row, by an average score of 22-12. Last year the Gamecocks beat the Commodores 35-25 in Columbia, but gave away the cover as 13-point favorites. South Carolina led that game 28-0 early in the second quarter, then allowed Vandy to get within 35-25 early in the fourth. The Commodores later drove all the way to the Gamecocks' 5-yard line, but threw an interception in the end zone to fizzle the rally.

The Gamecocks out-gained Vandy that day 579-268 and won the time-of-possession battle by a 37/23 margin. They should have covered the spread. 

 

Gamecocks-Commodores Betting Trends

South Carolina is only 1-3-1 the last five times it's been favored on the road.

Vandy is only 2-5 SU but 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings in this series.

Five of the last seven games in this rivalry has stayed 'under' the totals.

 

Free NCAAF Pick
South Carolina is trying to win a division title, while Vandy is in rebuilding mode. And while the letdown factor concerns us, we don't mind the idea of taking a good team on the road, at the better point-spread. If this game were being played in Columbia the spread might be -27 or -28. So we will add the Gamecocks to our free picks in this spot.

Free Picks: Gamecocks at -22