College Football Pick
No one wants to win the SEC East at the moment, but if Florida loses its lead on top, they’ll only have themselves to blame. Before traveling to LSU, the Gators host a South Carolina team that has suddenly come upon a winning streak. The Gators were -11.5 point home favorites early in the week at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
Florida still doesn’t have an impressive win yet this season, unless beating up on weaker teams is considered impressive. The Gators fell apart at Tennessee and most recently were handled quite easily by Arkansas. With two tough road Games to close the season, it wouldn’t be surprising if they finished with Four losses.
South Carolina is in a different situation since no one expected this team to be good. The Gamecocks started slow as expected, but at the least have competed in every Game. That competition has led to wins in the last three, beating UMass, Tennessee and then Missouri. No one expects much of this team, but they stayed tight to teams like Georgia and Texas A&M, so there’s no reason to expect a Florida blow out here.
This Game could easily be a repeat of last year when Florida won 24-14. The Gators didn’t get much from the passing Game, but ran for 148 yards and that was all they needed. South Carolina couldn’t do anything offensively and that could be the case again.
The surprising thing for the Gamecocks is that freshman quarterback Jake Bentley, who became starter at the beginning of this three-Game winning streak, has led them. While the competition is different, Bentley has looked much better than previous South Carolina QBs. He’s completing 73% of his passes, has six touchdowns and doesn’t have an interception yet. If he can continue that rate against Florida, the Gamecocks will be in business of at least getting a cover in this Game.
But doing so will be far from easy. One thing they’ll need against the Gators is freshman running back Rico Dowdle to build on what he’s done as of late, running for 120-plus yards in two straight.
Florida has a good defense, but they probably aren’t good enough to hold this team below 10 points. South Carolina won’t go off, but the Gamecocks should be able to move the ball.
With that being the case, that means Florida will need 20-to-30 points to get the cover. The first problem is that regular starting QB LUke Del Rio is out due to a shoulder injury. Backup Austin Appleby was fine in replacement earlier in the season, but trusting a former Purdue quarterback is rough. The main thing for the Gators will be to get some kind of ground Game going between Jordan SCarlett and LAmical Perine. Sure, they’ll have more success than a week ago at Arkansas, but this is still an offense that has had trouble moving the ball all season long.
The Gamecocks are 4-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record, while the Gators are 2-6 ATS in their last eight home Games, but 8-3 ATS in their last 11 Games following an ATS loss. All trends point to the under for both teams with it hitting in South Carolina’s last Four on the road and going 6-1 in the last seven meetings between these teams.
Our Pick – South Carolina +11.5