The South Carolina Gamecocks own the recent rivalry with the Vanderbilt Commodores, winning the last seven meetings straight up. But in keeping many of those games close, Vandy is 5-2 against the spread over that span. The Gamecocks and Commodores kick off the 2016 season, and their SEC slates, Thursday night in Nashville.
Point spread: The Commodores opened as 3.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)
College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 22.4-20.2, Commodores
Why the South Carolina Gamecocks can cover the spread
Following the departure of coach Steve Spurrier and a lost 3-9 campaign in 2015, South Carolina now moves forward under Will Muschamp, who went 28-21 in three seasons at Florida from 2011 to 2014. And while there’s plenty of work to do, with just eight starters back, the cupboard isn’t totally bare.
South Carolina returns a pair of quarterback candidates with starting experience, plus a top-10 freshman recruit in Brandon McIlwain. Meanwhile, half of last year’s top eight tacklers are back, so the hope is that under Muschamp‘s guidance, the defense will improve upon the 28 points per game it gave up last year. The Gamecocks are also 3-1 ATS their last four times out as underdogs.
Why the Vanderbilt Commodores can cover the spread
Vanderbilt returns 14 starters from a team that went 4-8 last year. Seven starters are back on offense, led by running back Ralph Webb (1,152 yards rushing last year), so the Commodores figure to improve upon the measly 15 points per game they averaged last season. On the other side of the ball, seven starters return on a defense that held opponents to just 21 points per game last year.
The Commodores are only 7-17 in two seasons under head coach Derek Mason, but programs often make big strides in the third season of a new coaching regime. And while Vandy hasn’t been favored much over the last few years, it’s won its last five times out when giving points.
South Carolina owns a seven-game winning streak in this series, but this looks like Vandy‘s chance to snap that run. The Commodores can run the ball, they can play some defense and they should be motivated. Plus, they catch the Gamecocks in full-blown rebuilding mode. The smart play here is Vanderbilt, the home team at a manageable spread.
The total has gone under in six of Vanderbilt’s last seven games at home.
South Carolina is 7-0 SU in its last seven games against Vanderbilt.
The total has gone under in seven of South Carolina’s last nine games against Vanderbilt.
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Source: Bleacher Report -SEC Football