After a 45-20 loss to Tennessee on the road, South Carolina returns home to take on Vanderbilt. Historically, the Gamecocks have been favored in the annual meeting — and this year, they’re a large favorite.
ESPN Chalk gambling writer David Purdum breaks down why the Gamecocks are so heavily favored and how they’ve fared against the spread in the past six outings against the Commodores.
The State: What are your thoughts on South Carolina opening as a double-digit favorite over Vanderbilt?
David Purdum: The Circa Sports book we always talk about put up the first lines and they actually opened up South Carolina at 20. Some money came in on the Commodores there, driving it down to 18, 18½, so it kind of met in the middle of those opening lines, 16 and 18. Vanderbilt’s been a very challenging team for the bookmakers to get a hold of. They just can’t figure out how bad they really are, and that sometimes is the difficult challenge for the guys that are making the odds.
TS: We’ve talked about South Carolina’s perception by the oddsmakers as well, so is it a challenge of finding who looks better on paper?
DP: That is definitely a challenge. The Gamecocks have done very well in this series recently against Vandy. In fact, they’ve covered five of the last six games against the Commodores. The only push in there is 2017. The Gamecocks have exceeded expectations against Vanderbilt over the last four or five meetings. That’s a good sign for them.
TS: What do you think factored more into the line: South Carolina being at home or Vanderbilt getting shut out by Florida this past weekend?
DP: Probably a little bit of both. They’re going to look at their power ratings and again, they’re trying to figure out what the floor for Vanderbilt is, and I don’t think they’ve found it yet, so they’re looking into that. Then South Carolina being at home, obviously you get a small home field advantage depending on what the crowd’s like in South Carolina. You will get a small home field advantage there. This is really about trying to figure out how bad Vanderbilt is and they’ve been very bad.
TS: You mentioned South Carolina covering, but how many times has Vanderbilt been a favorite against South Carolina? Or have they been a favorite in recent years?
DP: They haven’t been a favorite versus South Carolina in a while. The last time Vanderbilt was a favorite over South Carolina was 2016 and they were a 5½-point favorite. Before that, you kind of go back to 1999, so only twice since 1999 has Vanderbilt been a favorite over South Carolina. One other thing I thought was kind of interesting: South Carolina hasn’t been this large of a favorite, if you look, about a 17-, 18-point favorite with where the line is right now, since 2014, so it’s been seven years. That year, they were a 24-point favorite over Vandy, so that just really kind of shows you how porous Vanderbilt is in the presumption of the oddsmakers at this point.
TS: Other SEC games to watch this week?
DP: Of course the big one is Kentucky coming to Georgia. Kentucky’s a little bit shorthanded, especially on the defensive line, and that’s not a good thing when you’re facing Georgia, such a strong running team. That line ticked up from 22 to 24 with the news regarding the Kentucky defensive lineman being out, so that’s one. The other kind of interesting one is that Mississippi-Tennessee game. Mississippi is about a three-point favorite right now and the over/under on that game is sitting at 81. That’s one of the higher ones we’ve seen in the SEC in quite a while, and 85½ it opened, so there was a little bit of action on the under, but that’s expected to be a high-scoring game.
Source : https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/ncaafb/what-vegas-thinks-why-south-carolina-is-such-a-heavy-betting-favorite-over-vanderbilt/ar-AAPsKsl705