LSU Tigers (4-1), -3.5, 45 O/U at South Carolina Gamecocks (5-2), +3.5, 45 O/U
Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, S.C., 8:00PM Eastern, Saturday
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
The South Carolina Gamecocks (5-2) host the #13 ranked LSU Tigers (4-1) primetime Saturday night in Columbia, SC. The Gamecocks are coming off two straight wins on the road in the SEC while LSU comes in after an embarrassing 51-21 defeat from Florida. The Tigers were ranked as high as #4 entering last weeks matchup against Florida, but after a very poor performance the Tigers dropped to #13 in the polls. The Tigers must find a way to penetrate a potent South Carolina defense to avoid dropping two in a row. For the Gamecocks, they have been improving every week and hope to get their first big win of the season.
LSU looks to rebound after a tough loss in the swamp against Florida which was also their first loss on the season. The Tigers must bounce back and get a win at South Carolina to keep their hopes alive for playing in the SEC Championship. Last weeks defeat leaves the Tigers one game behind Alabama in the SEC West. LSU takes their team on the road to South Carolina before hosting 5 straight games at home in the following weeks with a big matchup against Georgia on the horizon.
The Gamecocks have knocked off 4 straight wins with the last two being at Ole Miss and Kentucky. South Carolina has not looked extremely impressive in their last two outings on the road. However, in each matchup the Gamecocks were able to pull out a victory by 7 points. South Carolina has supported very strong defense all year but must get the offense clicking to stage an upset Saturday night. The problem has been inconsistency at the QB position. The Gamecocks will have their 3rd Quarterback get to start this season when redshirt freshmen Stephen Garcia gets his first start of his career.
A year ago this was a very good matchup down in Baton Rouge, L.A. South Carolina gave a valiant effort to thwart an upset last year against the Tigers. In a tight game, LSU coach Les Miles called a fake field goal that went for a touchdown at the end of the first half that derailed the Gamecocks hopes of a win. The Tigers went on to win by a score of 28-16. Perhaps those were two different teams that met last year. LSU went on to win the National Championship lead by their juggernaut defense. South Carolina struggled the rest of the season. This year both teams are again lead by defense and again will look for offense and special teams to be the deciding factor.
Vegas has the opening line favoring the LSU Tigers by 3.5 points over the Gamecocks. Early action has over 80% of bettors siding with #13 ranked Tigers. The over/under total for the contest has been posted at a starting mark of 45. Last years matchup resulted in a 28-16 win for LSU putting that total right at 44, so the lines are anticipating a similar scoring game. Moneyline numbers have LSU at -150 and South Carolina standing at +130.
LSU will look to find a way to score points against perhaps the toughest defense they will face all year. The Tigers defensively have another solid unit, but not as good as last years defense. LSU is allowing nearly 308ypg ranking them in the top 35 in the nation. Their defensive numbers would have been a lot better if not for allowing 475 yards against the very talented Florida offense a week ago. Offensively LSU has looked mediocre, at times scoring quick and efficient and struggling at times as well. QB Jarret Lee has been the starter in recent week completing 59% of his passes for 852 yards, 8 TDs, and 4 picks. Lee looked very good off the bench vs. Auburn and is trying to get in rhythm of the offense. Brandon Lafell is the big play-maker on offense for the Tigers at the wide receiver position. Lafell has started 4 games this year catching 29 receptions for 407 yards with 3 touchdowns. Lafell could very well be the difference maker in Columbia Saturday night.
South Carolina has struggled tremendously this year on offense mainly with turnovers. The Gamecocks have turned the ball over an amazing 20 times in just 7 games. Last week starting QB Chris Smelley threw 3 interceptions and lost a fumble in the opening first quarter against Kentucky. Smelley was later pulled and replaced by Stephen Garcia a redshirt freshman who has had very limited playing time this year. However, Garcia would not disappoint going 10-14 with 169 yards and a TD. Garcia has been named the early starter against LSU and looks to add a spark to a struggling offense. Defensively the Gamecocks have been outstanding ranked #3 in the nation in total yards allowing 240ypg. The defensive secondary is ranked #1 in the nation for the 2nd year in a row. The South Carolina defense has held teams to a low 15 points per game and they will have to play big again this Saturday night to keep the score close if the offense continues to struggle.
LSU has not exactly been a money maker for bettors this year going 1-3 in their last 4 games ATS. LSU is also a staggering 1-4-1 ATS being the away team in their last 5 games. Bettors might expect more from LSU considering they are 22-3 SU in the last 25 games. South Carolina has been up and down for bettors so far as well going 3-3 ATS in 6 games this season and is 4-1 in their last 5 games SU. One considerable statistic shows that LSU has went on the over side of the total in 5 of their last 5 games on the road.
Jays Pick Under 45.