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Pick with Analysis
The college football season kicks off on Thursday, August 30th, with 8 games on the main betting board and another 9 games with the added and extra games. Of those games, one that will receive quite a bit of attention from bettors will be the SEC clash between South Carolina and Vanderbilt, at Vandy. The Gamecocks opened as -6.5 point favorite at 5 Dimes Sportsbook and has since moved to -7. The game opened as low as -4 elsewhere and currently is as high as -7.5 at some sportsbooks.
It's not hard to see why the early money is favoring South Carolina here. They were 11-2 a year ago and finished off the year with a Capital One Bowl game win over Nebraska, 30-13. They return just 11 starters this year, but let's face it, the Gamecocks are always going to have better talent than Vandy.
Vanderbilt returns 8 to the offense and 7 to the defense, back from a team that performed better than expected in 2011. They won 6 games last year, enough for a minor Bowl game birth, which they lost to Cincinnati, 31-24.
South Carolina has won 3 straight in this series, the last two by wide margins. Last years game was tied 7-7 at the half, making the game seem closer than it really was. The South Carolina defense led the way, not allowing Vandy past midfield the entire 2nd half, in route to a 21-3 win.
South Carolina is the better team here but Spurrier's South Carolina teams have had a tendency to start slow. If you look back to last season, you'll notice that other than South Carolina, the only other team to really whip Vandy was eventual National Champ Alabama and there's no shame there. They performed well at home, going 5-2 straight up and 7-0 against the spread, and that includes close losses to Arkansas and Georgia.
This will likely not be a Key Release, but we're going to go ahead and buck the line move here and side with the Commodores. The potential for a South Carolina slow start, coupled with Vandy's tough play at home a year ago and the fact that this team is pretty much the same team that took the field a year ago could present us with some nice value. We'll call for this one to stay within the number. Vandy +7.5
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