David Purdum of ESPN Chalk joined us this week to talk about the history being made in Saturday’s South Carolina-Clemson game, how the Gamecocks and Tigers have done against the spread this season and why Alabama is the “value” pick to win the national title.
The State: What does this line look like?
Purdum: Clemson is favored by 23.5. It’s the largest spread in this series in at least the last 30 years, going back to 1995. That’s pretty telling about the state of where these two programs are.
The State: I feel like Clemson was on more of a roll last year and the Gamecocks were in worse shape, but I guess the fact that last year’s game was played at Williams-Brice Stadium caused the spread to be closer?
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Purdum: I think they were 20-point dogs last year and of course they covered in a high-scoring game, the only one of these that’s gone over the total in the last six South Carolina-Clemson games. The other ones have all stayed below. There have not been many high spreads in this series. I see 20, 20.5 last year, 14.5 in 1999. Other than that, it’s all been single digits.
The State: How have these two teams done against the spread this season?
Purdum: Very mediocre, which is the most common thing to do against the spread. The vast majority of teams will end up with a record one or two above or below the spread. South Carolina is 5-5-1 against the number this year. Clemson is 6-5. The teams have kind of lived up to their point spread expectations.
The State: That’s where the books want them to be, right?
Purdum: Yeah absolutely, and I’ll ask you. Who do you think has the best record against the spread this year? They are 10-1. … Colorado. It kind of makes sense, a team kind of under the radar, but what happens when these teams start doing that and going on these huge runs, the public bettors see that and they will start piling on and piling on so you will end up getting lopsided action. Usually, the numbers will get inflated by the end of the year so betting against Colorado in the next couple weeks is probably a good move.
The State: With all the jockeying to be in the Final Four, is there somebody right now who looks like good money for a national championship pick. Everyone thinks Alabama will win it, but are there odds out there that make you tempted to take a chance on somebody?
Purdum: Yeah, I think Alabama. They are minus-120 to win it, odds-on favorites, which is pretty incredible but at that time they are a 7-point favorite over anybody they would play in the championship game, and a 7-point favorite is more than a minus-120 so taking Alabama I know is a cop out answer, but I do believe that’s the best value right now. You get them now for a better price than you will get them in the championship game.