The 2013 Outback Bowl from Tampa, FL features New Year’s Day (1:00pm ET) features a Big 10 – SEC- Big 10 match up of top 25 teams with the 10th ranked Gamecocks of South Carolina (10-2) taking on the 18th ranked Wolverines of Michigan (8-4). South Carolina has an 8-4 record ATS this season and the Gamecocks have failed to cover in 3 of their final 5 games this season, but they finished off the regular season by covering a 27-17 win over in-state rival Clemson as a 6.5 point favorite. Michigan has a 5-7 record ATS this season and the Wolverines have failed to cover in 4 of their final 6 games including a 26-21 loss to rival Ohio State in Columbus as a 4 point underdog.
The South Carolina offense has been missing their best player, running back Marcus Lattimore, who was lost for the season to a devastating knee injury, but the Gamecocks were still able to average 31.4 points per game (45th among FBS teams) and 372.4 yards per game (89th among FBS teams) this year. The calling card for Head Coach Steve Spurrier’s crew has been defense, and the Gamecocks rank an impressive 13th in the nation in scoring defense with 17.4 PPG allowed and 11th in total defense with 312.2 YPG allowed led by All-American defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (13 sacks, 21.5 tackles for loss).
The focal point of the Michigan offense is dual-threat quarterback Denard Robinson (1,389 yards passing, 9 TDs; 1,166 yards rushing, 7 TDs), but Robinson has been relegated to a run-only role in the last 2 games because of an injury to his throwing elbow. He hopes to be able to resume his role throwing the ball in his final collegiate game, but if he cannot line up under center Devin Gardner (1,005 yards passing, 8 TDs) will be the QB for the Wolverines. The Michigan defense ranks 16th nationally in scoring defense with 18.8 PPG allowed and 10th in total defense with 311.2 YPG allowed.
South Carolina vs. Michigan Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
South Carolina Gamecocks -5.5
@ Michigan Wolverines +5.5
Over 47.5 (-110)
Under 47.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
South Carolina vs. Michigan Pick:
South Carolina is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 non-conference games, 8-2 AST in their last 10 games against a team with a winning record and 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games overall. Michigan is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games on grass, 7-21-1 ATS in their last 29 games against a team with a winning record and 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 bowl games. The under is 4-0 in South Carolina’s last 4 bowl games and 10-4 in their last 14 games against a team with a winning record. The over is 4-1 in their last 5 games overall and 4-1 in their last 5 games on grass. The over is 5-1 in Michigan’s last 6 bowl games and 4-1 in their last 5 January games. The under is 5-2 in their last 7 non-conference games and 12-5 in their last 17 games against teams with a winning record.
South Carolina has only lost to a pair of SEC powers in top 10 LSU and Florida, while Michigan has lost to the top 3 teams in the country in Notre Dame, Alabama and Ohio State (as well as Nebraska). Both teams are accustomed to facing top competition, but the Gamecocks appear to have the edge having defeated Clemson and Georgia, and the Wolverines lacking a signature win this season. The trends for the over/under do not favor either team or point in one direction or another, so that play is too risky to recommend here. The Gamecocks should be able to focus on stopping the run against a Michigan team that will be somewhat one-dimensional on offense regardless of whether or not Robinson is able to throw the ball. Both Shoelace and Devin Gardner will be hard –pressed to put up many points against a Gamecock defense that stops the run and pass equally well. Take South Carolina to cover here.
PICK = South Carolina -5.5