Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#315 Kentucky vs.
#316 South Carolina
Saturday, September 25, 2021 at 7:00pm EDT
Written by David Delano

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The South Carolina Gamecocks will host the Kentuck Wildcats on Saturday in the second SEC game of the season for both teams. Kentucky is 3-0 overall and 1-0 in the conference, and the Gamecocks are 2-1 overall but 0-1 in the SEC.

Last season Kentucky beat South Carolina 41-18 as an 11.5 point home favorite.

Kentucky gets a scare from Chattanooga

Last week, Kentucky struggled as a 33-point favorite, narrowly beating the Chattanooga Mocs 28-23. The Wildcats trailed the Mocs 16-14 early in the fourth quarter, but the Kentucky offense went on a seven-play 77-yard touchdown drive to regain the lead at 21-16. The Mocs still had an opportunity to take the lead, but Kentucky would get a 95-yard interception return from senior defensive back Tyrell Ajan with 7:40 left in the game to give them a 28-16 lead on their way to a victory. The Wildcats outgained the Mocs 356 to 339 in total yardage but did lose the turnover battle 3 to 1.

Before last week's close call, the Wildcats beat Louisiana Monroe 45-10 as a 31-point favorite in the opener and Missouri 35-28 as a 5.5 point favorite on September 11. All three of Kentucky's wins have been at home.

The Wildcats are averaging 36 points and 479.7 yards per game. The passing game is led by Will Levis, who has completed 64.6% of his passes for 266.7 yards per game, with seven touchdowns and four interceptions. The running game has picked up 195.7 yards per game, led by Chris Rodriguez Jr. with 377 yards on 6.4 yards per attempt and four touchdowns. On defense, Kentucky has held its opponents to just 20.3 points and 274.7 yards per game. Teams have rushed for 97.3 yards and passed for 177.3 yards per game against the Wildcats.

South Carolina coming off a loss to the No. 2 team in the country

South Carolina opened up the season with two non-conference wins, beating Eastern Illinois 46-0 as a 31.5-point favorite and East Carolina 20-17 as a three-point favorite. Last week the Gamecocks were walloped 40-13 against the No. 2 rated Georgia Bulldogs 40-13 as a 31.5-point dog. South Carolina was outgained 491 to 296 in total yardage against Georgia but did win the turnover battle 3 to 2. Starting quarterback Zeb Noland has completed 57.4% of his passes on the season for 491 yards and five touchdowns but was knocked out of the game against Georgia after only attempting two passes. Noland is listed as probable for Saturday's game.

South Carolina is averaging 26.3 points and 356.3 yards per game, 208 yards per game passing, and 148.3 yards per game rushing., but were held to 82 rushing yards on 34 attempts against Georgia. Defensively the Gamecocks have allowed 289.3 yards per game. 179 yards per game passing and 110.3 yards per game rushing

Best Bets for this Game

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This will be a challenge for the Wildcats, who will play their first road game of the year. Expect the atmosphere in Williams-Brice Stadium to be electric as the Gamecocks will be playing their first home game since an opening win against Eastern Illinois. After being beaten by one of the best teams in the country last season, I expect South Carolina to elevate their level of play this week as they don't want to drop to 0-2 in conference play. The Gamecocks also have not forgotten the 23-point loss they suffered at Kentucky last year. Expect South Carolina to be ready to get revenge and cover as a home dog.

Prediction: South Carolina Gamecocks +5

Full-Game Total Pick

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It's hard to judge the Gamecocks off of the games against Eastern Illinois or Georgia. Still, during Week 2, South Carolina shut down a dangerous East Carolina offense holding the Pirates to just 17 points and 268 total yards. Kentucky's offense struggled against Chattanooga, and I expect them to struggle again on Saturday against a tough defense in their first road test.

The Wildcats have played well defensively this year and will face a South Carolina offense that has only averaged 16.5 points over their two games against FBS teams Georgia and East Carolina.

The under has cashed in five of the last six head-to-head meetings between these schools, and is the best play here.

Prediction: Under 48.5

Written By David Marotta , "David Delano"

David Delano is a Bowling Green State University graduate with a passion for sports, traveling, and music. David loves to handicap MLB, NFL, NCAAF, NCAAB, NBA, WNBA, and is also a big fan of boxing and track and field. Over the years, David has worn several hats in the sports world, from being behind the camera to writing, filming, editing, scouting, and coaching, along with servicing his clients as a sports handicapper.  He is also an expert sports bettor. We are glad to have David on our Winners & Whiners team, and we recommend that you follow along with him every day.