Chick-fil-A Bowl Predictions: Florida State vs. South Carolina Odds and Picks
by Trevor Whenham - 12/29/2010
The last bowl game of the calendar year kicks off at 7:30 p.m. EST on Friday, Dec.31 in Atlanta when Florida State (9-4) and South Carolina (9-4) clash in the Chick-fil-A bowl. The two teams have no history playing each other -- they haven’t played each other since 1991 -- but there is still a rivalry story here. When South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier was at Florida his bitter rivalry with Florida State may have been the best in the country.
Random bit of trivia -- because both teams lost their conference championship games this is the only game of the year in which both teams have already played 13 games. Both of these teams were beaten badly in their last game, so there is a chance that they won’t be as motivated for this game as they could be.
Florida State had a lot of problems against Virginia Tech, but one of the biggest was at quarterback. Christian Ponder is an elite quarterback when he’s healthy, but he missed the game against the Hokies with elbow issues. He’s better now and is expected to play. He’s also going to be hungry to prove to NFL scouts that he’s worth a high pick in the NFL draft and a fat contract.
No matter who is under center the key to success is getting the running game working again -- they averaged more than 175 yards a game on the season, but managed just 53 against Virginia Tech. It won’t be easy for them -- South Carolina’s defense was the best in the SEC against the run, and the most capable of roughing up opposing quarterbacks.
Stephen Garcia of South Carolina is a nice player as well, but South Carolina’s offensive story definitely centers around super-frosh running back Marcus Lattimore. He was second in the SEC in rushing behind only Cam Newton, and was the spark when South Carolina succeeded. Florida State has a vulnerable run defense, so if Lattimore has a good day then South Carolina could be in good shape.
\South Carolina’s offensive success will depend upon which Florida State defense shows up -- the one that allowed just 36 points combined in the last three regular season games, or the one that looked totally hopeless as it was torched by Virginia Tech.
Chick-fil-A Bowl Odds - Florida State vs. South Carolina
South Carolina is favored by three points here, according to college football bowl odds. Betting action is heavily tilted towards South Carolina -- more than three quarters of bets placed have been on them -- so it could move higher. The total opened at 54, and now seems stable at 54.5.
Florida State vs. South Carolina Betting Trends
The ‘over’ is 16-5 in Florida State’s last 21 games as an underdog, and 8-2 in their last 10 neutral site games. South Carolina has gone ‘over’ in eight of their last 11 overall.
Florida State is 8-1-1 ATS in their last 10 neutral site games, and 5-0-1 ATS in their last six bowl games. They are just 2-5 ATS in their last seven overall, and 1-3-1 ATS in their last five against the SC.
South Carolina is 6-1 ATS in their last seven nonconference games, and 5-1 ATS in their last six against the ACC. They are 3-1 ATS in their last four games.
Chick-fil-A Bowl Predictions and Betting Picks
I have to go with Florida State here, and it all comes down to the coaches. Steve Spurrier has not been particularly impressive in bowl games while at South Carolina. Last year his team got outclassed by UConn, and didn’t look like they were prepared, or that they even cared.
Jimbo Fisher is leading his team into his first bowl game, and he is building some solid momentum for the program. He’s going to be hungry to make a strong first impression, and he has the talent to make it happen. His team will be better prepared and hungrier. That’s what I like to look for in underdogs, so I’ll wait until kickoff and take the best price I can on the Seminoles.
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