Always a heated rivalry & almost always difficult to bet on, Clemson-South Carolina should be fierce this year as the Gamecocks would love nothing more than to redeem a lackluster season by beating their in-state rivals.
South Carolina vs. #23 Clemson
The Battle of the Palmetto State is usually pretty entertaining football and despite South Carolina (6-5 SU, 4-7 ATS, 3-5 SEC) being a bit down this season, the Gamecocks have beaten rivals #23 Clemson (8-3 SU, 4-7 ATS, 6-2 ACC) 5 straight times and become a sore point for Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney (44-35 ATS) who, no matter how well his Clemson team has been doing, has to hear about that 5-game losing streak to South Carolina everywhere he goes and has been the brunt of some social media “Fivebombing”—pictures of the Tigers head coach with people subtly holding up five fingers in reference to this South Carolina Thang. In short, it has little to do with the point spread and much to do with state and alumni pride. That’s all. But Clemson will be aware and motivated and reminded of this by Swinney and the TIgers are at Home so there is some accumulated value in all of those factors. And it is the last game of the regular season and the last at Memorial Stadium this season, so that will create quite the buzz.
College Football odds have installed host Clemson as 4½-point Favorites here against South Carolina (Sportsbook.ag). The Westgate SuperBook’s 2014 Games of the Year opened this game up at Clemson -6, for those who may be interested.
The Head Ball Coach obviously saw better things for his Gamecocks this season, but Steve Spurrier (61-46-1 ATS) and his team play in the SEC and South Carolina soon dropped out of the national rankings, and with it, any national spotlight. It ain’t easy living in the SEC, even if it is in the “weaker” East Division. QB Dylan Thomas (3,031 yards) has had a prolific year throwing the football and WR Pharoh Cooper (925 yards) has thrived, as has RB Mike Davis (888 yards, 10 TDs), but when you have such a brutal schedule from Week 1 (then #21 Texas A&M) on to this regular season wrap, you’re going to have the occasional season like the one South Carolina is having, where the Gamecocks are even sub-.500 in SEC play (3-5). South Carolina ranks #22 in Passing, #53 in Rushing and 32nd in Scoring (34.8 ppg) but it’s South Carolina’s 30.8 ppg allowed defensively (95th in the nation) which really stands out when handicapping this game. Last year in this matchup at South Carolina, Clemson lost 31-17 as 2-point Underdogs, so, that loss and the 5-game streak of losses to the Gamecocks has to be weighing heavily in Clemson’s mind and South Carolina knows that.
Representing the ACC against the Big Bad SEC, Clemson will play its part but that 5-game losing streak can’t help but be in this team’s heads. And no player on this roster has ever beaten South Carolina. QB Cole Stoudt (164 completions, 1,576 yards, 9 TDs), RB Wayne Gallman (115 rushes, 523 yards, 5 TDs) and WRs Mike Williams (45 receptions, 859 yards, 5 TDs) and Artavis Scott (61 receptions, 666 yards, 5 TDs) are the Tigers key skill position players, but compared to other teams, it seems their proverbial Big Guns deliver a plethora of TDs and TDs equal points and football bettors almost always deal in points. Clemson ranks #44 in Passing, a poor #92 in Rushing and is just #60 in Points Scored per game average (29.6), so you know where this team has made its mark this season and the side of the ball that’s made this team so good—the defense which is a stellar #8 in the nation in Points Allowed (17.6).
But for some reason, even though this game is at Death Valley, the feel here is that South Carolina knows it has absolutely nothing to lose and should surpass that 17.8 average and the 20-point mark—despite Clemson’s fierce defense—meaning the South Carolina Total Team Points Over bet may make some sense depending on where the number is set later in the week. And this perceived wide open pace should obviously also be good for the 'Over' as a College Football pick. In short, this could be a shootout, but there have only been 48, 44, 47, 36 and 51 points scored in those aforementioned L5 meetings in the series, so better think before betting.
Best Betting Approaches
The significant, relevant recent trends support South Carolina here and it does seem they could even win this encounter, so, why not back them in the Underdog role here? The Gamecocks have W5 straight against the Tigers and maybe there’s a reason why and maybe that reason is that playing teams in the toughest conference in College Football (SEC) sharpens one’s teeth just a little bit sharper than playing those in others, even the respected ACC. The Gamecocks may be having a down season, but losses to Texas A&M, Missouri, Kentucky, Auburn and Tennessee are all losses to some above average to pretty good teams, although Clemson’s loss to #1 Florida State cannot and should not be slighted. But with South Carolina 5-0 ATS and SU the L5 in this series and the Gamecocks 3-1 ATS L4 here at Clemson, taking the points and a team that would love to beat its rival for a sixth straight time seems logical enough for this meeting. The weather forecast here from a distance (Monday) called for Partly Cloudy skies and a High temperature of 63° with 0% of precipitation (The Weather Channel) around game time on Saturday afternoon in Clemson, South Carolina.
Free College Football Pick: South Carolina +4½ at BetOnline & the Over