South Carolina's Gamecocks should be chomping at the bit to get back on a football field after getting embarrassed by Texas A&M in their season opener, having their 18-game home winning streak snapped.
They'll try to start a new winning streak, and avoid the start of a losing streak, when they host East Carolina on Saturday night in Columbia.
Point spread: The Gamecocks opened as 15.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. The total was 63 in early wagering (line updates and matchup report).
Odds Shark computer prediction: 44-20 South Carolina
Why the East Carolina Pirates can cover the spread
The Pirates opened this season with a 52-7 victory over FCS North Carolina Central, covering as 39-point favorites. EC spotted the Eagles the first score of the game on a fumble return, then scored the last 52 points.
The Pirates led 31-7 by halftime, then later beat the spread by tacking on one last touchdown with a minute-and-a-half to go. East Carolina outgained NCCU 582-174, ran the ball for over 200 yards and threw it for 375 more.
The Pirates only return nine starters this season, but fortunately, they include senior quarterback Shane Carden and his two favorite pass-catching targets, Justin Hardy and Isaiah Jones, who combined for 18 catches for 240 yards and three scores last week.
Why the South Carolina Gamecocks can cover the spread
It's difficult to sift a silver lining out of last week's performance, other than perhaps to say that QB Dylan Thompson, in his fourth career start, threw for 366 yards and four scores. The Gamecocks should just put last week behind them, and go forward from here.
South Carolina returned 14 starters this year—including 1,000-yard rusher Mike Davis—four along the offensive line and six on defense. As mentioned above, the Gamecocks had an 18-game home winning streak going, with a 12-6 against-the-spread run. So they've been a good value at Williams-Brice Stadium.
South Carolina also beat East Carolina just two years ago 48-10, covering as 21-point favorites.
The Gamecocks might be angry heading into this one, and that doesn't bode well for an East Carolina team that has to replace three starters along the offensive line and seven starters on defense.
Last week, South Carolina ran into a buzzsaw in Texas A&M, and sometimes things like that just happen. This week, the Gamecocks hold advantages across the board. Also, the worst thing bettors can do is handicap a game based simply on what happened last week.
So in anticipation of a bounce-back effort, the pick goes with South Carolina, minus the points.
- East Carolina is 1-4 ATS in its last five games on the road.
- South Carolina is 4-2 ATS in its last six games at home and 20-1 straight up.
Note: All point spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark. All quotes gathered first-hand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury updates and line move updates and get the free odds-tracker app.