South Carolina Gamecocks vs. North Carolina Tar Heels Pick

August 31, 3:30 PM EDT

Betting Odds

Point Spread: 
South Carolina -10.5

It's an SEC-ACC border battle when South Carolina battles North Carolina in the 2019 season opener for both teams Saturday afternoon on supposedly neutral ground in Charlotte. The Gamecocks are beginning their fourth season under Coach Muschamp, while the Tar Heels are starting the first season of their second stint under Coach Brown. Consequently, South Carolina is a solid favorite on the NCAAF betting odds. How are we playing this game with our free college football pick?

College Football Betting Odds

Week 1's college football betting odds opened South Carolina at -7 over North Carolina, with an over/under of 63. Early betting action then steamed the Gamecocks to -10.5.

Gamecocks vs. Tar Heels Set-Up

South Carolina returns 14 starters this season from a team that finished 7-6 last season (7-6 ATS), with a bad bowl loss to Virginia. The Gamecocks bit hard by injuries, lost close games to Texas A&M and Florida but finished just 4-6 against teams not named Coastal Carolina, Chattanooga or Akron. Seven starters are back on an offense that averaged 426 yards per game last season, including senior quarterback Jake Bentley (19-13 career as a starter, 54/30 touchdowns/interceptions), last year's top two rushers and three along the offensive line. And seven starters are back on a defense that gave up 424 YPG last season, including five of last year's top seven tacklers. So improvement is expected on that side of the ball.

South Carolina is facing a regular-season win total over/under line of just 5.5 because it's going to play one of the toughest schedules in the country this season.

North Carolina, meanwhile, also returns 14 starters this season from a team that finished a miserable 2-9 last season (6-5 ATS). The Heels, also hit hard by injuries (and suspensions), lost five games by seven points or less last year, but then again only won one game against an FBS opponent (Pittsburgh). They then canned their head coach. So the Tar Heels now move forward with their 68-year-old former coach Mack Brown. Seven starters are back on an offense that averaged 442 YPG last season, including last year's top two rushers and three along the O line. And while seven starters are back on a defense that gave up 448 YPG last season, they'll have to replace last year's top three tacklers.

It looks like North Carolina will go with true freshman Sam Howell as its starter at quarterback, which creates a big unknown when it comes to handicapping this game.

The Tar Heels are facing a wins O/U of five for this season.

Recent History

South Carolina own a three-game winning streak in this rivalry, going 2-1 ATS in the process, but these teams don't meet that often. Most recently the Gamecocks beat North Carolina 17-13 also in Charlotte in the 2015 season opener.

College Football Betting Trends

South Carolina played 5-1 SU, 3-3 ATS as a favorite last season, 2-1 ATS when giving double-digits.

North Carolina played 5-3 ATS as an underdog last season.

Totals Report

  • Overs played 7-6 in Gamecocks games last season, which averaged 57 total points.
  • Overs played 7-3 in Tar Heels games last season, which averaged 62 points.

Gamecocks at Tar Heels Prediction 08/31/2019

South Carolina owns a significant advantage in the quarterback comparison, which is probably why the line on this game moved so much. However, Coach Brown brings a little gravitas to North Carolina's situation, and the Heels were better than their record indicated last year. They only got out-gained by six YPG. North Carolina might not win this one outright, but we're taking the Heels and the points.

Free Pick: 
Take the Tar Heels +10.5
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