Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:15 AM EST.
7:00 PM EST. The Gamecocks went on the road last week and beat N.C. State 35-28 as a 7½-point pooch. After making it to a bowl game in his first season, South Carolina coach Will Muschamp's program is getting some buzz in the SEC East. This morning, Tim Tebow, who is now an analyst on ESPN, said he thought the 'Cocks were ready to contend in the SEC. Maybe Timmy had one too many cups of coffee this morning because SC is more likely to be hovering around the Bowl game cut line than making a run in one of the nation's toughest conferences. Even a top-3 finish in the SEC East might be a little generous. Even though they got the win, the Gamecocks were badly outgained by N.C. State to the tune of 504-245, giving up 415 yards through the air in the process. The difference in the game was two lost fumbles by the Wolfpack, but turnovers won or lost is not a skill and the results of those plays have inflated the value of South Carolina’s stock coming out of Week 1.
Missouri, on the other hand, decided to take things easy with a home date with Missouri State. The Tigers failed to cover as a -36 point favorite and while they did put up 72-points, it's the 43 allowed that has the Mizzou defense facing some criticism this week. The Tigers had the worst defense in the SEC in 2016 so that has only added fuel to this early season fire. Head coach Barry Odom decided not to make any changes to his defensive starting lineup, which adds even more fuel to this fire. We're not going to put too much stock into last week's performance, as it was basically a walk through before the Tigers real season starts.
The Gamecocks won this SEC East battle last season 31-21, so that combined with recent form and results has driven this line down from -5½ to just -3. With Hurricane Irma looming, the mid-Atlantic area is also preparing for the worst. You can break down the X's and O's all you want but it's impossible to tell where the Gamecocks players and coaches heads are at. The school is already making contingency plans in case the storm hits as planned while they are in Missouri. Muschamp has downplayed Irma's impact on his teams' preparation but we're not willing to do the same. With a 7:00 PM start, South Carolina players and coaches figure to be watching CNN updates all day, at least out of the corner of their eye. One cannot take the human element out of anything and this therefore becomes a major distraction for the Gamecocks, who have family and friends back home and in danger. Playing football at a high level takes 100% focus, which the Gamecocks will not have in this contest and they’re not that good to overcome a major distraction to begin with.
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#374 MISSOURI -3 -102 (Risking 2.04 units - To Win: 2.00)