College Basketball Odds & Picks for South Carolina vs. Liberty: Where’s the Betting Value in Saturday’s Kansas City Showdown?
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Jermaine Couisnard.
- Coming off its first win of the season against Mississippi State, Liberty will go to battle against South Carolina on Saturday.
- Meanwhile, the Gamecocks are looking to get their season started on the right foot by putting out the Flames.
- Check out BJ Cunningham's full betting breakdown with updated odds below.
South Carolina vs. Liberty Odds
|South Carolina Odds||-7 [BET NOW]|
|Liberty Odds||+7 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-351 / +265 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||137.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, 4 p.m. ET|
South Carolina opens its season against Liberty on Saturday in Kansas City.
The Gamecocks are looking to build off of a lot of returning depth and finish in the top half of the SEC. The only real loss for South Carolina was Maik Kotsar, who accounted for 15% of South Carolina’s scoring in 2019. Other than Kotsar, South Carolina brings back the rest of its starting lineup and adds Seventh Woods from North Carolina. With pretty much all of their production returning, the Gamecocks should improve from their 18-13 record last season.
Liberty opened up its season in Florida this past week with a loss to Purdue and a win over Mississippi State, in which they knocked down 19 3-pointers. The Flames are coming off their best season in program history, going 30-4 before postseason play was canceled due to COVID-19. Liberty has won two straight Atlantic Sun titles and is poised to make it three this season.
South Carolina Gamecocks
The Gamecocks were the best defense in the SEC last season, ranking first in the conference in defensive efficiency, effective field goal percentage allowed, and 3-point percentage allowed. With most of their production returning, they are poised to be one of the best defenses in the SEC again in 2020.
South Carolina projects to have the 47th-best defense in the country in terms of defensive efficiency at 91.6, per KenPom. However, the offense is what is likely going to hold the Gamecocks back this season.
The team returns its leading scorers in Jermaine Couisnard and AJ Lawson, who combined for 25.4 points per game last season. But outside of those two, South Carolina doesn’t have another consistent scoring threat. It’s also going to struggle from beyond the arc, as it only shot 31% from deep in 2019. If Liberty can shoot from long range like it did against Mississippi State, the Gamecocks could be on upset watch.
If the Flames are going to repeat as Atlantic Sun champions, they’ll have to replace their entire frontcourt. The good news is that guards Elijah Cuffee and Darius McGhee are back to lead the Liberty’s backcourt. Cuffee and McGhee look to be the two main scorers in 2020, as they have combined for almost half of Liberty’s points through their first two games.
Even though they put up 83 points against Mississippi State, scoring is going to be the Flames’ Achilles heel for this season. They are ranked in the bottom half of the nation in offensive efficiency, according to KenPom. In 2019, Liberty was in the top 20 in effective field goal percentage (eFG%) and 2-point field goal percentage. However, those numbers are likely to drastically decrease due to its frontcourt losses.
Liberty ranked 166th entering the season, per KenPom. It does not have the talent to replace four seniors (Caleb Homesley, Scottie James, Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz, Myo Baxter-Bell), so it may be tough sledding for the Flames to start the season.
Liberty was the second-slowest team in the country when it came to pace in 2019. With both guards coming back, it’s projected to be extremely slow again. South Carolina’s pace is right around the average, so Liberty is going to need to slow the pace down if it’s are going to win this game.
Betting Analysis & Pick
For Liberty to stay in this game, it’s going to have slow the pace down to its liking and shoot well from 3-point range. On the flip side, South Carolina is going to have to dominate in the paint and on the boards against Liberty’s inexperienced frontcourt.
I have South Carolina projected as -9.08 favorites and the total projected at 138.74, so I don’t think there’s any value on the current opening lines. However, I would play South Carolina if it gets to -7 and Liberty if it gets to +11.