ESPN.com gambling writer David Purdum joined us this week to talk about South Carolina’s game against Tennessee, how Steve Spurrier’s no-holds-barred offensive approach might affect future lines, and the surprising money coming down on Thursday night’s Florida State-Louisville game.
The State: Coming off a stronger-than-expected showing against Auburn, the Gamecocks are favorites again this week, right?
David Purdum: They are. The line opened up at minus-8 over Tennessee. Little early action on the Volunteers got it to 7, not a huge numerical move but dropping it to that key number of 7 does say something. At least some people who have influential money at the books like the Vols early.
The State: That’s a trend that we’ve seen for at least a month now, that the money is going against the Gamecocks no matter the spread, but last week South Carolina made folks pay by covering that large spread against Auburn.
David Purdum: They looked good, too. I was impressed. I think a lot of people were. I liked the aggressive play calling and just hanging it out there approach.
The State: That brings up another interesting question because Steve Spurrier said after the Auburn game that he told his team he was going to call the game to win and that if that meant they lost by five touchdowns, so be it. How does Las Vegas factor in that kind of “To heck with it,” approach?
David Purdum: It’s a great nugget. It would be tough for an odds maker I would think. That means he’s going to go for it on fourth down like he did against Auburn, maybe we will see some onside kicks. You throw it out there and odds makers could say, “Hmmm, that approach could make this team a better football team down the stretch.” It’s tough to call.
The State: Steve Spurrier has reversed a lot of trends around South Carolina football, and the Tennessee series is as big an indicator of that as anything. What are his numbers against the spread versus the Vols?
David Purdum: They lost 12 games straight against the Volunteers prior to Spurrier. Since he’s been there, he’s 5-4 straight up against them so he’s completely reversed it straight up. He’s 3-5-1 against the spread, so they are not covering the spread but they have been the favorite a couple times against Tennessee, which was never the case a long time ago.
The State: Outside of the Gamecocks, the most interesting line out there is probably the Thursday night game between Florida State and Louisville, right?
David Purdum: Very interesting line. It’s really going down toward Louisville. Offshore it opened up as high as Florida State minus-8.5. Today, pretty much across Vegas it is down to 3.5. Some casinos have taken five limit bets so far on that game, all of them on Louisville.
The State: So, do they think there is a shoe waiting to drop or is this just the notion that all the drama is going to catch up with the Seminoles on the field?
David Purdum: I think they just frankly believe Florida State is overrated. People have been betting against Florida State all year. The sports books have needed them in several games, more games than they haven’t, which is pretty rare for the No. 1 team and defending champion. People are just afraid they are overrated.