Josh Kendall

What Vegas Thinks: USC an underdog but in ballpark vs. Gators

gmelendez@thestate.com

South Carolina was a double-digit underdog against Texas A&M and Tennessee. The Gamecocks covered the spread in both of those games, which was the first times this season they covered as an underdog.

Las Vegas has reacted by keeping the line for this weekend’s against Florida a little closer. The Gators are a 7.5-point favorite, and we talked to ESPN Chalk’s David Purdum this week to help us break down what that means.

Is the line of this weekend’s game a reflection of South Carolina’s progress or of Florida’s weak offense?

Both. Florida didn’t look very good against Vanderbilt last week. Sometimes there seems to be a little bit of an overreaction to that. Florida is clearly a talented football team that has played well this year. Are they capable of covering big spreads? Probably not. They are going to need some defensive touchdowns or a special teams touchdown to be able to completely shut down South Carolina. I think it’s a little bit of an overreaction. I know that South Carolina has exceeded expectations the last two weeks, but I kind of like Florida in this spot. They are going to want to rebound to show that they are a better football team.

While that line is lower than we might have expected, the line for the Clemson game in two weeks just keep going up, right?

It’s all the way up to 19.5. That’s pretty amazing. We started the year and it was a touchdown or maybe less. Now it’s 19.5. That’s the largest Clemson-South Carolina spread I have seen since 1998 on the databases I use. It might be the biggest ever.

The big national game of the week is Baylor-Oklahoma. The over/under on that game is 77 points. How has Las Vegas adjusted in setting the over/under from the days when everybody was scoring in the 20s and 30s?

We already saw the highest total ever this year. Texas Tech-Baylor was 90.5. We had never seen a total at 90. When we get up to these giant totals, the sports books actually like it because the professional players are always going to take the under on such a high number, and they know the public is going to bet under when you see these matchups, the Big 12 matchups especially. The books can always balance it out with the players who rely on their math models. And some of the book makers said they believe that if there’s not one during the bowl game there will be a total of 100 points next year.

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