ESPN.com sports gaming writer David Purdum joined us this week to talk about the South Carolina-Vanderbilt game and why a slight difference in the betting line could make a big difference. We also talked about how the return of Deebo Samuel might affect how odds makers look at the Gamecocks.
What’s the line look like this week?
It opened up at seven at the Wynn in Las Vegas on Sunday night. Some other books put up 6.5, and it has kind of stayed still on both of those numbers, so if you like South Carolina, you want to find a book that has 6.5, and if you like Vanderbilt, you want to kind of look around and get the seven.
The difference between 6.5 and seven is not insignificant, right?
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Absolutely. Three and seven and the key-est numbers. They are not as important as they are in the NFL where scoring is lower. In college football, with the higher scoring, sometimes you get a little bit more wonky scores where seven and three may not be the most common margins of victory or at least it’s not as common as they are in the NFL. Something to note about the points here is that in this series, South Carolina and Vanderbilt, eight of the last 10 games have stayed under the over-under so there’s been lower scoring games, which makes the points more important obviously.
What’s the recent history of this line from Las Vegas’ point of view?
South Carolina has won eight in a row, but the Gamecocks are only 4-4 against the spread so the odds makers have done a good job of putting the line out there, and the points have come into play in these games. We will see how it plays out this week. Obviously, Vanderbilt has not looked good. South Carolina seems to be playing a little bit better.
South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp has said recently that wide receiver Deebo Samuel could return from injury this season. How would that affect the Gamecocks in the eyes of the sports books?
I think they will follow it a little bit. It’s certainly not going to be a significant adjustment to the power rankings or the point spread. You are not going to see a three- or six-point adjustment by any means. He’s probably worth a half point, maybe a point, maybe nothing at all. They will pay attention. They are following the beat writers on Twitter, and they probably know he’s a spark plug for that offense so if he gets back here for the November stretch, you will probably see some slight adjustments in both South Carolina’s point spreads and the over-under total thinking he will generate some points.