We have the SEC Conference to consider for Saturday afternoon when the sixteenth ranked Tennessee Volunteers meet the South Carolina Gamecocks for the season opener for both schools. Tennessee finished with an 8-5 record including a 23-22 Gator Bowl victory over Indiana. South Carolina finished with a 4-8 record last season and they’ll have their work cut out for them in this matchup.
The line has ticked up slightly as the week has worn on. Tennessee opened as a 3-point favorite and the line has moved to Tennessee favored by 3.5 or 4 points depending on the sportsbook. 64 percent of the picks ATS are backing the Volunteers.
The total has declined steadily during the week. After opening at 48 points, it has trended down to 43.5 or 44 points depending on the sportsbook. 72 percent of the bets on the total are backing the under.
Game-time Weather: Temperatures at kickoff are expected to be in the high-70s with clear skies. The temperatures will drop into the low-70s as the game wears on. Humidity could prove to be a bit of a factor in this one. Winds are expected to be from the northwest at about five miles an hour while gusts are expected to stay under 10 miles per hour.
Tennessee Looking For Big Things in 2020Tennessee finished the season as a champion should and is currently ranked sixteenth in the country. The offense averaged 366 total yards with an average of 24 points per game and that was much better than their last two seasons.
LIVE NOW: Head coach Jeremy Pruitt is at the podium for his weekly press conference https://t.co/kDF0bnYijw— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) September 21, 2020
Senior quarterback Jarrett Guarantano is coming off a 2158 yard passing season, completing 152 passes with 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Sophomore quarterback Brian Maurer relieved Guarantano at times last season and threw for two touchdowns with five interceptions and could see some action if Guarantano falters. Wideout Josh Palmer returns to a receiving corps that saw three of the top receivers graduate. USC transfer Velus Jones will be looked to heavily and we might get some production from freshman Malachi Wideman.
Senior running back and leading rusher Ty Chandler is coming off 655 yards, three-touchdown season, and sophomore running back Tim Gray should see plenty of touches behind an offensive line returning five starters.
The Tennessee defense allowed 335 total yards and 22 points per game and they return last season leading tackler, linebacker Henry To’o To”o. Look for junior cornerback Bryce Thompson and senior safety Shawn Shamberger to make a big impact this season.
OUT: WR Dee Beckwith, RB Carlin Fils-Ame, WR DeAngelo Gibbs, TE Austin Pope, RB Len'Neth Whitehead
Questionable: QB Brian Maurer
Gamecocks Hire New Offensive CoordinatorMike Bobo was named Offensive Coordinator and his job is to spark a mediocre offense that scored just 22.4 points per game last season. Sophomore quarterback Ryan Hilinski threw for 2357 yards with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions and he will be tasked with leading an offense that failed to score more than 27 points in any game last season. Senior wideout Shi Smith returns from a 489, three-touchdown season and junior Josh Vann could be a significant factor this season.
The rushing attack wasn’t what they had hoped for last season but freshman running back Marshawn Lloyd could be a difference-maker and is listed as the Gamecocks top running back.
The Gamecocks defense returns six of its top eight tacklers from last year’s team and leading the way should be safety Jammie Robinson, who was third in tackles last season. Linebackers Earnest Jones and Sherrod Green should also play key roles this season.
OUT: WR Jalen Brooks, WR Randrecous Davis, OL Mark Fox, RB Marshawn Lloyd, OL Jordan Rhodes, WR OrTre Smith, QB Jay Urich
- Gamecocks are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games as an underdog.
- Gamecocks are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
- Gamecocks are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games on grass.
- Volunteers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 conference games.
- Volunteers are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
- Volunteers are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 road games.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Tennessee opened as a 2.5 favorite and that line has now moved to 3.5 points. The Volunteers have the better offense of the two and I suspect this line will move once again towards the end of the week. Look for Chandler and Gray to gash the Gamecocks suspect defense and we could also see a big game from Volunteers quarterback Guarantano. Hilinski has the gun but not enough bullets in the chamber and I suspect he will have a difficult time on Saturday. I will take Tennessee to cover the spread in this contest.
Full-Game Total Pick
Vegas posted a 48 point line that has now moved to 42.5 points and that new number is likely low for this game. Tennessee has the offense to score at least four touchdowns and South Carolina might not have an explosive offense but they are good enough to score at least three touchdowns against what is likely a work in progress Volunteers defense. I will play the OVER in this contest.