Tennessee Volunteers at South Carolina Gamecocks Football Predictions

Tennessee Volunteers at South Carolina Gamecocks
Saturday, 10/30/2010, 12:20 PM EST; TV:  ESPN3
Opening Point Spread:  South Carolina -17.5
Current Betting Line:  South Carolina -17.5
Opening Total:  49
Current Total:  49
Current Moneyline:  South Carolina -1000 / Tennessee +700

The South Carolina Gamecocks may be a bit overpriced as a 17.5-point home favorite against Tennessee

Tennessee returns to the road after suffering a 41-14 blowout loss to Alabama last week and the level of competition doesn’t get any easier against South Carolina.  The Volunteers are 2-5 on the season and first-year head coach Derek Dooley certainly made headlines with some recent comments.  “Right now, we’re like the Germans in World War II, all right?  Here come the boats.  It’s coming,” he said.  “The binoculars, like ‘Oh my God, the invasion is coming.”  The team will be playing its fifth ranked opponent of the year, going 0-4 in those games by a combined score of 136-54.  Tennessee owns a commanding 22-4-2 all-time record in this series, including an 8-3-2 edge in Columbia, winning last year’s meeting in Knoxville 31-13 on Halloween.  Dooley’s army is 1-5 ATS this season and the NCAA football lines page has them as a 17.5-point underdog.

The Volunteers have won seven out of eight in Columbia, but dropped a 27-6 contest to the Gamecocks in their last meeting at Williams-Brice Stadium.  Tennessee has played 16 true freshman this season, which ranks tied for third in the country.  Including seven redshirt freshman, the program has played a total of 23 freshmen.  Saturday’s game marks the second road game versus an SEC Eastern Division rival this season and the Volunteers have lost four of their last six such games.  However, Tennessee is 14-6 in its last 20 games on the road versus division rivals.

South Carolina returns home for the first time in three weeks and is coming off a 21-7 road win over Vanderbilt.  The Gamecocks will be playing their third straight SEC East foe, as they currently sit atop the division.  Head coach Steve Spurrier knows that he must keep a close eye on the team’s focus down the stretch due to the program’s 4-11 mark in the final five games of the regular season the past three years.  “We’ve been 5-2 a bunch of times, as we all know,” Spurrier commented.  “Whether or not we can finish strongly remains to be seen.”  He has faced Tennessee more than any other opponent in his 21-year collegiate coaching career, posting an 11-8 all-time mark against the Volunteers, including a 2-3 record at Carolina.

The Gamecocks are led by junior quarterback Stephen Garcia, who currently has 5,375 passing yards for his career and is second in the SEC and fifth in the nation with a pass efficiency rating of 170.2.  “The formula on any good offense is a great runner, great receivers and a quarterback who’s playing really well,” Dooley stated of his opponent.  “And they’ve got all three.  Defensively, South Carolina can get after teams on defense and lead the conference and rank fifth nationally in the nation with 24 sacks (3.43 per game).  In winning 12 of its last 13 home games, the team has outscored its opponents by a 372-203 margin, with an average victory of 13 points per game.

Bettors may step out a bit and play the Volunteers aggressively due to their 8-1 ATS mark as a road underdog of 10.5 points or more, while the favorite is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings of this series.

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