David Purdum of ESPN Chalk joined us this week to talk about how South Carolina can be a 21-point favorite against UMass this week despite not having scored more than 20 points in any game this year. We also talked about how Jake Bentley might affect the betting line.
The State: How does a team averaging 14 points per game end up favored by more than 20?
Purdum: That’s a good question. That’s a funny nugget. You know, they are just looking at their power ratings. They have South Carolina power rated this much higher than UMass. Obviously, South Carolina is in the midst of maybe a quarterback change, maybe a scheme change, but it doesn’t seem to be impacting the numbers much on either of these teams. They could have completely switched quarterbacks and that number probably would be the same.
The State: The Gamecocks looks like they are going to start a brand new freshman quarterback this week in Jake Bentley. How does Vegas figure in such an unknown when it’s setting the line?
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Purdum: (The Gamecocks) are not getting a lot of production out of the quarterback position going into it, so a change to a guy that is talented and hyped but nobody has seen any game footage at this level, they don’t know so they are not going to make any drastic changes on a quarterback. Now if this was a star quarterback – a Ben Rothleisberger dropping down to a Landry Jones – there would be a significant adjustment to the line, but when there’s two quarterbacks who weren’t producing anything and now they are going to try a third guy that they don’t know anything about, they are not going to make any drastic adjustments.
The State: How do experienced gamblers handle non-conference games like this with so many question marks?
Purdum: They will pinpoint some of these under-the-radar games that may not be getting a lot of attention. They think maybe that the bookmakers might have missed some injuries. UMass has several injuries. They do try to follow some of these under-the-radar games. Compared to an Alabama-Texas A&M game where everybody probably is very familiar with exactly what both teams have to present, this game might be a little bit under the radar with maybe an injury situation or a change at quarterback.