College Football Predictions: South Carolina at Missouri Odds and Picks
by Trevor Whenham - 10/24/2013
Last year Missouri looked completely outclassed and out of place in their new home in the SEC. Now they look like they own it — or at least they own their division. With a win here Missouri would all but clinch a spot in the SEC Championship. That likely means a showdown with Alabama that wouldn’t go well, but getting there would clearly be an amazing accomplishment in just the second year in the SEC.
In their last two games, Missouri has won at Georgia and convincingly beaten Florida. In other words, at this point they are not going to be intimidated by the moment or the opponent. In fact, the Tigers haven’t been intimidated by much this year. Their 6-0-1 ATS record shows that they have consistently exceeded the expectations of the betting public. They haven’t been covering spreads by just a little bit, either — they have covered by an average of more than 20 points per game in their last two huge SEC contests. Combine their comfort in big games and their strength against expectations, and you can expect Missouri to give their best in this one. The question, then, is whether their best is going to be good enough.
South Carolina at Missouri Betting Storylines
This should have been a matchup between two impressive and accomplished quarterbacks playing very well. The injury bug has kicked both Connor Shaw and James Franklin in the teeth, though, so what we are left with is a battle of the backups. South Carolina junior Dylan Thompson is 2-0 as a starter over his career, and he has logged significant time in mop-up duty because Shaw is so fragile. He’s the definition of a journeyman player, though, and it’s tough to rely on him for much more than basically competent play. Missouri, meanwhile, will be sending out raw redshirt freshman Maty Mauk. He was impressive for the most part while beating Florida in his first career start last time out, but he had attempted just seven passes before that. He has far more upside than Thompson but also far less experience. He’s not that easy to trust here. No matter what pick you make in this game, then, you are going to have to deal with some nerves around the quarterback situation.
Defensively, the storyline that will be foremost in the minds of the general betting public is Jadeveon Clowney. His year has been tumultuous and mostly disappointing, but he was a beast against Florida and has the ability to make it a long day for Mauk. For handicappers, though, the bigger story is probably Missouri’s impressive ability to create turnovers. No team has a longer current streak of consecutive games with a turnover than the 37 that Missouri is in the midst of. This season the team has 14 interceptions — the best in the country. Thompson has thrown interceptions in each of the two games he saw the most action in this year, and his accuracy is suspect. The Tigers are going to be very aggressive on this front, and they could have the success that could make the difference.
The two biggest games that South Carolina has played this year have been on the road — at Georgia and at Tennessee last time out. They have lost both games. Mental toughness was the biggest question about this team heading into the season, and it has pretty much been answered — they are lacking. The crowd is going to be ferocious in this one — Missouri has not had success like this very often, and the fans are making the most of it. That’s a definite knock against the Gamecocks.
South Carolina at Missouri College Football Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with the Tigers favored by two points. A strong majority of bets have been on Missouri — about 80 percent. That has pushed the line up to the key number of three, and it could potentially climb higher. The total sits at 52.5.
South Carolina has gone “over” the total in eight of their last nine conference games. The Gamecocks have covered just once in their last six games. Missouri is 3-0-1 ATS in their last four home games and 4-0 ATS in their last four against teams with winning records.
College Football Predictions: South Carolina at Missouri Betting Picks
I wouldn’t have thought it would be possible at the beginning of the year, but I am a real believer in this Missouri team. They are defensively sound and offensively explosive. They are designed well enough to take advantage of this opportunity here against a South Carolina team that has depth issues and, more significantly, doesn’t have the confidence that they need. As I write this, the game can still be found at 2.5 points in spots. I would jump all over that if it is still available, but at three points the Tigers are still an attractive play.
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