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South Carolina

vs.

Missouri

College Football

Pick

10/26/13

Missouri is undefeated, two games ahead of anyone else in the SEC East, No. 5 in the BCS Standings and is still getting underrated. This week the Tigers get another home game against a perennial Top 25 school. They have already beaten Vanderbilt and Georgia on the road and Florida this past weekend. They are currently -3 point favorites at 5 dimes sportsbook.

South Carolina hasn't been a model of perfection and will be without starting quarterback Connor Shaw. The Gamecocks are coming off a loss at Tennessee where they were 7-point favorites. On the year, they are just 2-5 ATS with one of those covers coming in the first game of the year.

The Tigers have been the opposite, getting underrated all season. They are 6-0-1 ATS this season and even though starting QB James Franklin was lost for the season two weeks ago, Maty Mauk stepped in for the 36-17 win over Florida last weekend. The bookmakers could still be doubting what Mauk can do, hence the small line.

The freshman Mauk is definitely a downgrade from Franklin, but after throwing for 295 yards against the Gators, one of the best pass defenses in the nation, he deserves some respect. Receivers L'Damian Washington and Dorial Green-Beckham may be the best duo in the SEC, both providing plenty of size and speed. The two have combined for 990 yards and 11 touchdowns this year. Their running game can also get it done versus bigger teams as seen against Florida. Henry Josey (494 yards, eight TDs) and Russell Hansbrough (438 yards) are largely underrated much like the rest of the team.

South Carolina's defense is studly with Jadeveon Clowney back on the field, but they weren't great against Tennessee. The Vols rushed for 146 yards and didn't turn the ball over, en route to a game-winning field goal as time expired. Mauk and company can score on this unit.

As for the Gamecocks' offense, Dylan Thompson will lead the way (Shaw is doubtful). He's played significant time in one game this year, and that was a comeback win over UCF where he only completed 47 percent of his passes and didn't manage a passing TD. It doesn't help that Thompson isn't quite the runner Shaw is, so a lot of that will fall on running back Mike Davis. That's not an entirely bad thing as Davis already has 879 yards and 10 TDs this season.

Missouri's defense doesn't get a lot of credit, but they are containing a lot of tough offenses. Giving up 26 points to Georgia is no easy feat, no matter how many injuries they have. Even last week against the Gators, Missouri embarrassed Tyler Murphy as Florida finished with 151 total yards.

South Carolina has the pedigree, but does Thompson have it in him to beat an undefeated team on the road? It's going to fall on the Gamecocks' defense to come through if they want to win this game. So far, no one in the SEC has stopped Missouri's offense, even with Mauk at QB.

In last year's game, South Carolina dominated in a 31-10 win, but it's hard to look at that game considering how different the Tigers have looked this season.

The Gamecocks are 1-4 ATS in their last five conference games and also 1-4 ATS in their last five road games. The Tigers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven conference games, but only 2-8 ATS in their last 10 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.

One useful way to use the betting trends offered by sportsbook.com is to look for lopsided betting percentages and then compare them to what the line is doing. For example, of an overwhelming amount of action has come in on one side, yet the line has moved even just a tad the other way, that's usually a good indication of sharp action on the side of the line move. In this game, a whopping 92% of the early action has come in on Missouri. Yet the line really hasn't budged as of this writing on Tuesday. So, keep an eye on the line. Anytime you see a lopsided game like this in terms of betting percentages, it's worth taking a step back before jumping in on what may seem obvious.


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