Free Expert NCAA Football Picks: Missouri Tigers at South Carolina Gamecocks Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 9/24/2014
Missouri Tigers at South Carolina Gamecocks, Saturday Sept. 27, 7 p.m. ET
The most interesting challenge here in the Missouri Tigers at South Carolina Gamecocks matchup is not deciding which team is going to win the game or cover the spread. It's trying to figure out which coach is more pissed off heading into this game - and it's a serious contest.
Gary Pinkel is coming off a loss to Indiana at home - Indiana! - when he was favored by 14 points, so he obviously and justifiably won't be pleased. South Carolina has won three in a row, but Steve Spurrier may actually lead the country in coach rage despite the wins. He called the most recent win over Vanderbilt embarrassing and had less-than-flattering things to say about everyone from his quarterback on down. He's a crusty old guy at the best of times, but he has rarely been in better form than he has been this week. Given how the two guys are feeling right now, you can only imagine - with gleeful anticipation - how irrationally insane one of the guys will be after this game.
This is only the third time that the teams have played since Missouri joined the SEC in 2012, but it has already turned into a pretty intense and entertaining rivalry - with a decided edge to South Carolina. They destroyed the Tigers 31-10 in 2012 and found themselves down by 17 last year before coming back to win 27-24 in two overtimes.
Missouri at South Carolina Betting Storylines
As is so often the case already by this time of year, Missouri is facing a lot of injury issues on offense. They will have two new starters on the offensive line - including one making his first career start - and a third guy shifting positions. They also are down a key wide receiver. The offense hasn't been a real concern up to this point, but they were out-rushed significantly by Indiana last time out, and the offensive line woes won't help them correct that issue.
While the Missouri offense could be a concern, the good news for them is that the South Carolina defense has rarely been good and at several times has been just awful. They just don't seem to care, and that is especially evident through the air - they have made every quarterback they have faced look significantly better than they are. Maty Mauk is surely as excited about this game as he has been about any in a while.
When a team like Indiana pulls off a big upset like they did last week, you often assume that they must have figured out some incredible secret that neutralized the opponent and allowed them to emerge victorious. In Indiana's case, though, all they had to do was run a balanced offense. They didn't even do it particularly well - especially on third down - but they stuck to it, stayed creative, and found ways to do enough to win. It shouldn't have worked, but it did. It's not like South Carolina can learn a lot from that matchup that will advise their game-planning, but it will certainly give them hope heading into this one.
Missouri at South Carolina NCAA Football Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with the Gamecocks favored by six points, and that has fallen slightly to 5.5 as the week has progressed. South Carolina has drawn more than 70 percent of the bets in this one, so sharp money has clearly been directed towards the Tigers. The total opened at 63 points and has fallen slightly - it can be found as low as 61.
South Carolina is 6-1 ATS in their last seven against teams with winning records. They are just 1-5 ATS, though, in their last six games in September. The Tigers have gone over each of the last four times that they have played on grass.
Missouri Tigers at South Carolina Gamecocks Expert Predictions and Picks
I really don't like this South Carolina defense. They should be better than they are, though - they have the capability to be. Steve Spurrier knows a thing or two about winning games, and the fact that he has been so ridiculously over the top with his emotions leading up to this game is clearly at least partially a ploy to get his team fired up. I expect it will work here. They keep finding ways to win despite their issues, and they are going to be able to cause some issues with the Missouri offensive line. South Carolina wins by enough to cover this spread.
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