South Carolina at Vanderbilt Odds & Pick: Prepare For the Gamecocks to Control Pace (Saturday, Oct. 10)

South Carolina at Vanderbilt Odds & Pick: Prepare For the Gamecocks to Control Pace (Saturday, Oct. 10) article feature image
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Streeter Lecka/Getty Images. Pictured: Jabari Ellis (99).

  • Like many states in the southeast, Hurricane Delta is expected to have an impact on Saturday's matchup between South Carolina and Vanderbilt.
  • Does an ugly game favor the Gamecocks or Vandy?
  • Darin Gardner gives his full game preview, including a betting pick.

South Carolina at Vanderbilt Betting Odds

South Carolina Odds -13.5 [BET NOW]
Vanderbilt Odds +13.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -590/+425 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 40.5 [BET NOW]
Time Saturday, noon ET
TV SEC Network

 


We have a battle of two 0-2 teams on our hands as South Carolina heads to Nashville to take on Vanderbilt.

A new wrinkle has been thrown into this matchup with Hurricane Delta forecasted to cause some bad weather. Our Sports Insights weather tool is projecting rain in the Nashville area on Saturday from kickoff through 3 p.m. ET. What will be more influential, however, is the wind: Sustained winds above 7 mph are expected, which could influence the game plan for each team and is assuredly an unwelcome hurdle for both as they search for their first wins of 2020.

That said, there’s still betting value to be had despite the weather considerations. Let’s take a closer look.

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South Carolina Gamecocks

South Carolina is not held in high regard by the public after starting the season 0-2, especially finishing the 2019 season 4-8. However, not all 0-2 teams are created equal.

South Carolina was competitive against a strong Tennessee team in Week 1, and the Gamecocks’ second loss came against a potential playoff team in the Florida Gators. But I’m not ready to give up on the Gamecocks quite yet.

Despite the daunting opening schedule, they rank 32nd out of 74 teams in offensive success rate, and where they really excel is on the ground with a seventh overall rank in rushing success rate. Add in what tends to happen when the forecast calls for bad weather, and this matchup should feature a heavy ground attack for both teams, which absolutely favors South Carolina.

Meanwhile, the South Carolina defense hasn’t quite lived up to expectations thus far, but there’s still reason for optimism.

Despite facing arguably the hardest schedule of opposing offenses in 2019, the Gamecocks still finished in the 61st-percentile in success rate allowed, and in the 75th-percentile in limiting explosive plays. Expect a much better performance against a dreadful Vanderbilt offense on Saturday.


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Vanderbilt Commodores

It is hard to overstate how badly Vanderbilt has struggled so far.

In its first game against Texas A&M, the Commodores averaged 3.8 yards per play and managed only a 33% success rate. And for context, there were only two teams out of 130 in 2019 that averaged a success rate lower than 33%. Its defense also allowed Texas A&M to average 6.8 yards per play.

Then in its second game against LSU, Vanderbilt had a 32% success rate and averaged only 3.9 yards per play while the defense allowed the Tigers to average 7.2 yards per play and a 56% success rate.

Quarterback Ken Seals has struggled in the passing game, averaging 2.3 adjusted yards per attempt, which ranks dead-last among 65 qualifiers.

Additionally, among the 74 teams that have played in 2020, Vanderbilt’s offense ranks 73rd in yards per play, 70th in success rate, 72nd in Expected Points Added and 73rd in finishing drives. On defense, the Commodores rank 72nd in yards per play allowed, 65th in success rate and 66th in havoc.

Betting Analysis & Pick

The weather has cast some uncertainty on this game, but I still believe there’s value on South Carolina here.

Vanderbilt has really struggled to move the ball on offense, and the defense’s performance has been one of the worst in the nation despite facing two mediocre offenses. Just look at how LSU’s and Texas A&M’s offenses performed in their games that were not against Vanderbilt — compared to their matchups against the Commodores, the Tigers offense averaged 2.1 fewer yards per play against Mississippi State (5.1) while the Aggies averaged 1.0 fewer yard per play against Alabama (5.8).

If the weather does force South Carolina and Vanderbilt to focus on a ground-heavy attack, I have much more faith in the Gamecocks to find success than I do in the Commodores.

I played South Carolina on Sunday afternoon when the line opened at -12.5, and I still feel good about it even with the developments regarding the weather. It moved in my direction early in the week, but has since come down slightly. I would bet this up to -13.5, but make sure to check out our odds page for the best prices across the market.

Pick: South Carolina -13.5 (wouldn’t bet past this number)

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