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SEC Football Pick
Florida hosts South Carolina on Saturday in a game that has to be considered the game of the week in college football as both SEC title and national title hopes are on the line. Florida is a -3 point favorite at SBG Global with a total of 42.5. 67% of the early wagers taken at sportsbook.ag have been on Spurrier and the Gamecocks.
Each school is allowing 12.3 points per game which is good for fifth in the country. South Carolina has scored more points on average, but that is due partly to the poor defenses of East Carolina and UAB. Although, it was still impressive of them to get 21 points at LSU when their ground game averaged 1.4 yards per carry.
In that game, Connor Shaw threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter, one of which led to an LSU field goal. Shaw was still pretty impressive against the Tigers defense. Previously, he didn't have to attempt more than 21 passes in a game. Against LSU, Shaw went 19-for-34 for 177 yards and two TDs. Those aren't amazing numbers, but he showed he can get the job done when needed if their running game isn't working and that may be the case against Florida this weekend. Running back Marcus Lattimore is a stud who has 129 carries for 584 yards and 10 touchdowns on the season, but was only able to muster 35 yards against LSU. That might be the same case again in Gainesville as Florida shut down the LSU running game two weeks ago for 42 total yards. Expect Shaw to be throwing more than usual once again against the Gators.
Florida also has a run heavy offense like that of South Carolina's. The problem for the Gamecocks is that they allowed 258 rushing yards to LSU last week and Florida will look to do the same exact thing against them.
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Quarterback Jeff Driskel busted off a 70 yard rushing TD last week against Vanderbilt which just shows what he's capable of. Mike Gillislee is the work horse though who has 120 carries for 615 yards and seven touchdowns. Gillislee ran for 146 yards in their matchup with LSU which was the deciding factor to the game. The Gators will once again pound the ball against South Carolina. Driskel can throw the ball as well, but he has just 836 yards and four TDs through six games. Expect this one to go much like the Florida-LSU game (14-6) from two weeks ago, but with better QB play from Connor Shaw.
That's exactly what happened last year when the two teams totaled 357 rushing yards compared to 203 passing yards. South Carolina won that game 17-12 in Columbia. The Gamecocks have covered three straight times in this meeting including their last trip to Gainesville in 2010 when they won 36-14 as 6.5-point underdogs. The under has hit in three straight games.
Each team has been solid against the spread this year with South Carolina covering their last six games while Florida has covered their last five. The Gamecocks are also 7-3 ATS in their last 10 road games while the Gators are 7-2 ATS in their last nine games against a team with a winning road record. The home team is 7-3 ATS in their last 10 meetings.
The Gators have dominated this series, going 23-6-3 over the years, some of those with Steve Spurrier as their head coach, but the Gamecocks have turned the tables the last two years with 36-14 and 17-12 wins. The Gamecocks have their sights set on the SEC title game. In order to accomplish that, they'll have to catch undefeated Florida, making this a huge spot for them.
After initially pegging this game too close to call earlier in the week, we've had a change of heart and are making this game a key release for that very reason. Getting +3.5 in a game between, say, Oregon and Arizona State would seem miniscule. However, getting +3.5 in a game between two of the top defensive teams in the country, well, it may as well be +14. South Carolina has given up 13, 10, 6, 10, 17, 7 and 23. Florida has given up 14, 17, 20, 0, 6 and 17. There doesn't appear to be much room here for either team to create much of a margin. That's magnified further when you take into consideration Florida's run oriented offense.
The big news this week is of course the status of Marcus Lattimore for SC. That news is what pushed this game to -3.5. But Spurrier said in the beginning of the week that Lattimore would not practice a couple of times this week as he rested his bruised hip. That's exactly what he's done. No one should be surprised. Will he play? We think so. It's a bruised hip, not a broken leg. He ran in practice on Monday and looked good, according to Spurrier. He'll play.
If by chance he didn't play, we'd still like SC here. They beat the Gators last year without Lattimore and the last time we checked, Lattimore didn't play defense which is really where this game will be won. We think the Gamecocks have the edge at QB and in the passing game. They are better suited to get a balanced attack going which should open things up for them offensively. The Gamecocks also aren't the only ones with injuries. Florida has some offensive line issues and while the reserves filled in nicely last week, this is SC, not Vandy.
We like our chances with South Carolina here in a HUGE game with both SEC and national title implications. South Carolina +3.5
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