South Carolina Gamecocks vs. LSU Tigers Odds, Trends, Free Pick
The LSU Tigers were unwillingly held out of action last week after their game against Florida was postponed. Several Gators players and staff tested positive for COVID-19, which caused the game to be postponed until later this season. In some ways, the postponement could be a blessing for LSU, who became the first defending National Champion to lose two of their first three games. The Tigers have talent but lack the experience needed to compete with the top schools across the SEC. Still, LSU should get better as the season progresses, and that is why having an extra week of preparation likely did not hurt the Tigers' efforts moving forward. On Saturday, LSU returns home for the first time since the season opener when they host the South Carolina Gamecocks at Tigers Stadium.
At the beginning of the year, I thought South Carolina might be the worst team in the SEC East. I'm still not a big believer in Coach Will Muschamp; however, the Gamecocks have put together two straight impressive performances. After blowing out Vanderbilt 41-7, the Gamecocks arguably scored their biggest win of the Muschamp era last Saturday with an upset over no. 15 Auburn 30-22. Despite trailing early, the Gamecocks found big plays in the running back behind running back Kevin Harris and had a tremendous 2nd half defensive performance by keeping Auburn out of the end zone. Now with a struggling LSU team next on the docket, the Gamecocks may have a chance to score another unexpected victory.
Gamecocks offense vs. LSU defense
The bulk of LSU's problems this season have resided on the defensive side of the football, where they gave up point totals of 44 against Mississippi State and 45 against Missouri, which both resulted in losses. To be specific, LSU's pass defense has been flat awful, allowing 380 yards per game, which is the 2nd worst mark in college football. The good news for LSU, if there is any, is that South Carolina is primarily a run-heavy offense, and they do not attack vertically often. South Carolina's offense style is geared to between the tackle running and short-intermediate passing, which should help limit LSU's struggles.
The question for this game is, can South Carolina's offense take advantage of the match-up? Head Coach Will Muschamp was nearly fired at the end of 2019 for the offense's performance, and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo has not exactly made much improvement this year. Still, this week's match-up against LSU's defense offers one of the more promising opportunities of the year. The Gamecocks will obviously feed the ball to running back Kevin Harris, but they also must come up with plays in the passing game to exploit LSU's weakness. Transfer QB Collin Hill has been decent throwing the football this season but again has rarely been called on to attack down the field. WR Shi Smith is an underrated playmaker for the Gamecocks, and it will be interesting to see if the Gamecocks send plenty of targets his way due to the match-up.
Despite all of LSU's struggles on defense, the Tigers offense has actually moved the ball fairly well, and a lot of the credit should go to QB Myles Brennan and WR Terrace Marshall Jr. Brennan has averaged over 350 passing yards per game with 11 touchdowns and three picks. Marshall has been the main target in the air attack with 21 catches for 424 yards and seven touchdowns in just three games. Marshall has been the best guy on the field for LSU thus far in 2020 and will likely be heavily focused again on Saturday. In fact, the critical match-up when LSU has the ball will be Marshall's match-up against South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn. Most teams try to avoid throwing in Horn's direction. Auburn attempted to do so last week, and it resulted in two interceptions, including a pick-six from the Gamecocks' top cornerback. On Saturday, Horn will be matched against Marshall often, and the winner of that match-up could have a big role in determining how this game unfolds.
South Carolina vs. LSU Betting Trends
South Carolina is 4-1-1 ATS in its last six games against SEC opponents. South Carolina is 2-4 ATS and 0-6 SU in their last six meetings against LSU. LSU is 5-2 ATS in their last seven games but just 1-2 ATS on the season LSU is 8-1 SU in their last nine home games The "over" has hit in four of the last six games between South Carolina and LSU.
- Get more details: South Carolina at LSU Week 8 Match-up Stats
South Carolina vs. LSU Prediction 10/24/20
Say what you want about South Carolina, but they compete very well. From a match-up standpoint, the Gamecocks have a lot of opportunistic paths to victory by establishing the run and getting help from the defense, which we have seen play really well in recent weeks. I think this game is more of a toss-up, so I will gladly take the points.