Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:30 AM EST.
Williams-Brice Stadium – Columbia, SC
Streaming: ESPN in the Sports Group or TSN4 in the 3PM Kickoff/Soccer Group
SOUTH CAROLINA +125 ML over Auburn
12:00 PM EST. On paper this should be a titanic mismatch. Historically speaking the Tigers have dominated this series. It is these types of sentiments that greatly influence the market to get behind teams like Auburn. War Eagle has been a perpetual player in the SEC West race, entering the season as a top-10 team while their opponent failed to make a bowl game in 2019. Opening as a ranked -3 point road favorite spotting a short price to an unranked home underdog, Auburn has decent market appeal but we have often warned about playing favored ranked teams on the road against unranked foes.
South Carolina comes in off its first win this season when it thumped Vanderbilt on the road 41-7 last week after closing as a -14½-point favorite. However, the market will place little stock in that result because Vanderbilt is considered the dregs of all dregs. Furthermore, the Commodores were besieged by all sorts of troubles associated with COVID-19. Preceding this victory, South Carolina was riding a five-game skid that trailed back to last season. We are now the beneficiaries of the Gamecocks results because the market puts way too much emphasis on results as opposed to performances.
South Carolina’s five losses were to Appalachian State, Texas A&M & #1 Clemson in 2019 followed by losses to #12 Tennessee, and #3 Florida this year. In their two losses this season against Tennessee and Florida, the Gamecocks by no means were an easy out, as they did not look a bit out of place against either. Against Tennessee, South Carolina could have won outright. Against Florida, South Carolina managed to curtail the Gators’ offensive operations in the second half but unfortunately could not generate enough scores to draw closer to Florida. Against the Gators, South Carolina generated more first downs, and virtually matched Florida in terms of total offense. USC actually outplayed Florida but the final tally suggested otherwise.
Auburn could very easily be riding a two-game losing streak coming into this contest had in-game variance not gone their way last week against the Razorbacks. The Tigers closed as a 13½-point favorite but were trailing 28-27 late in the fourth quarter when the Hogs scored a go-ahead touchdown with just 5:29 remaining. Auburn would put together a drive but in the final 20 seconds of play, what could have easily and rightfully been called a fumble as a result of botched snap and spiked ball that was thrown backwards, was instead ruled intentional grounding enabling War Eagle to kick a late field goal with :07 left and escape.
Auburn also had an abysmal performance at Georgia on October 3rd. it is hard to see how the Tigers could warrant laying points on the road to any SEC team other than Vanderbilt, at this point but their pedigree has market influence and so does some of their useless trends.
Now, we’re not scientists or anything like that but we’re curious as to how a game from 26 positions ago (Tigers are 19-7 ATS vs. a team) can affect the point-spread outcome in this game? This is an open question for anyone that uses trends to influence their choice. Seriously, how does a 30-10 win in November of 2014 affect or influence the outcome of this game? It is beyond absurd to think that these trends mean anything. Thousands of games are played every year and so “trends” will develop over time. Some will stick out and some will not. For every trend that a prognosticator uses to support his/her choice, we can find just as many useless trends on the exact same game that will not support it. Tigers are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games as a road favorite is fucking useless information and if you use it to bet a game, you might win but if you do win, it won’t be because of a result in 2007. It’s fucking absurd but prognosticators have to write about something so that’s their useless fodder of choice.
In any event, had Auburn lost to Arkansas, perhaps they wouldn’t be ranked. Heck, they may not even be spotting points but because they have kept their ranking and they have been the prominent figure in this series and conference for that matter, the Tigers are the slight chalk here this week. The price reflects Auburn’s pedigree, not their quality. In spite of all of this, we have to wonder as to whether the wrong side is actually favored here. As such, we will play it accordingly and take the Gamecocks outright.
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SOUTH CAROLINA +125 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.50)