Two of the top teams in the SEC and in the nation face off this Saturday night (8:00pm ET) down on the bayou as the 3rd ranked and undefeated South Carolina Gamecocks (6-0) of the SEC East travel to Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, LA to take on the 8th ranked LSU Tigers (5-1) of the SEC West. South Carolina is 5-1 ATS this season, on a streak of covering their last 5 wins including a 35-7 blowout win at home over Georgia last week as a 1 point favorite. LSU is 2-4 ATS this season, dropping their last 3 games against the spread including a 14-6 loss at Florida last week as a 2 point favorite.
The South Carolina offense has employed a ground-and-pound style of play this season utilizing running back Marcus Lattimore (549 yards rushing, 9 TDs) that has averaged 36.3 points per contest (33rd among FBS teams) and 406.2 yards per game of total offense (63rd among FBS teams). The Gamecock defense has been outstanding, ranking 4th in the nation with 10.5 PPG allowed and 12th in total defense with 278 YPG allowed against outstanding competition including Georgia and Missouri.
LSU has struggled to find their stride on offense this season with quarterback Zach Mettenberger (1,174 yards passing, 6 TDs, 3 INTs) under center. The Tigers rank 42nd in scoring offense with 33.5 PPG and 78th in total offense with 394 YPG, with most of that production coming against the weak early portion of their schedule. The Tiger’s defense is still among the nation’s best, ranking 8th in scoring defense with 12.8 PPG allowed and 3rd in total defense with 221 YPG surrendered.
South Carolina vs. LSU Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
South Carolina Gamecocks +3
@ LSU Tigers -3
Over 39.5 (-110)
Under 39.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
South Carolina vs. LSU Pick:
South Carolina has a 5-0 record ATS in their last 5 games overall and a 4-1 record ATS in their last 5 SEC games. LSU is 7-3 ATS in their last 10 SEC games and 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games against winning teams. The under is 4-1 in South Carolina’s last 5 SEC games and 5-1 in their last 6 games against winning teams. The under is 5-2 in LSU’s last 7 games against winning teams and 9-3-1 in their last 13 October games. Their last meeting was in 2008, when LSU won 24-17 at South Carolina to cover a 1.5 point line.
These two teams are heading in opposite directions as South Carolina appears to be hitting their stride both offensively and defensively after their impressive win over Georgia last week, and LSU appears to be in the early stages of a free fall after losing at Florida last week and squeaking by in closer than expected wins over Towson (38-22) and a dreadful Auburn team (12-10) in their two games prior. Taking South Carolina as an underdog is not a bad play, here but with LSU at home its more risk than we need to take on. LSU will not be able to run much against the Gamecocks’ stellar run defense (83.8 YPG, 10th in the nation) and their passing game is not equipped to win the game through the air with a passing game ranked 100th in the country. South Carolina held a Georgia offense that ranks 14th in the nation in scoring to 224 total yards last week, they should be able to dominate a limited LSU group. South Carolina also will have to grind out every yard they get against a rugged LSU defense playing in one of the toughest road environments in America with a fired up crowd behind them. Points should be at a premium in this game, and the under is certainly the best play to make with both teams among the top 10 defenses in the country. Take the under in this game.
PICK = Under 39.5