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South Carolina Vanderbilt Betting Predictions - Gamecocks And Commodores Face Moment Of Truth

Posted by Blake Frazier on 8/27/2012 6:49:20 PM

The South Carolina Gamecocks might not throw the ball as much as head coach Steve Spurrier would like, and that's a real concern as they prepare to meet the Vanderbilt Commodores.

South Carolina Gamecocks @ Vanderbilt Commodores - Thursday, August 30    
Sport betting line: South Carolina -7

Why South Carolina Will Win

Even if you don't care for online casino games, you have to be intrigued by the ways in which Steve Spurrier and Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin will handle the cards they're dealt on the opening night of the college football season. The Gamecocks enjoy a real advantage here because they have the kind of defense that can overcome offensive limitations. When these two teams met last season, South Carolina's offense scored only 14 points, but the Gamecocks' defense scored a touchdown of its own and throttled Vanderbilt all night long. South Carolina's defense was able to win at least three different games from 2011 in which head coach Steve Spurrier's offense failed to generate more than 14 total points.

With Jadeveon Clowney providing a world-class pass rush from his defensive end spot and other teammates able to stuff run gaps in the middle of the line, South Carolina has the tools on defense, with the secondary being the only slight-to-modest cause for concern. As long as the Gamecocks and quarterback Connor Shaw don't commit crippling turnovers that give Vanderbilt great drive starts while depriving South Carolina of points in crucial situations, the visitors should be able to prevail in Nashville, Tenn.
The fact that South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore is once again healthy after suffering a knee injury in the middle of the 2011 season should also boost the Gamecocks' chances. South Carolina adjusted well to Lattimore's absence last year, but the transition period lasted two to three weeks. The Gamecocks need Lattimore on the field if they want to win the SEC East, and they should get off to a good start with No. 21 in the backfield on the night of the season opener.

Why Vanderbilt Will Win

When football betting gurus assess the chances of the underdog here, they will acknowledge that South Carolina owns a very formidable defense. Yet, they can point to hope for Vanderbilt. Quarterback is very much a question mark for South Carolina. Connor Shaw filled in ably for the Gamecocks in the second half of the 2011 season, but his transition was made easier for two reasons: First, his defense bailed him out a few times.

Second, he ran the ball within a zone-read system implemented by Spurrier. This year, it is quite likely that Shaw will have to become a better pocket passer, and that's not his best skill. Vanderbilt's defense can definitely produce game-changing interceptions; the Commodores do fly to the ball and are stronger on defense than they are on offense. Vanderbilt's defense can put South Carolina on its heels and generate a season-opening upset.

Who Will Win

It’s not going to be a high-scoring game. Steve Spurrier does not have his 2001 or 1996 Florida offense on hand. Yet, if the game is 17-13 in favor of South Carolina in the final minutes, can Vanderbilt produce a long touchdown drive? Probably not. Carolina wins, Vandy covers.

College Football Betting Pick: Vanderbilt

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