South Carolina has covered five consecutive games. Florida is on a four-game losing streak and playing out the string for an interim coach and a staff that will be gone in less than a month.
The Gamecocks are my top play as 5½-point home favorites over the Gators.
South Carolina covered again last week in a 24-10 loss at Georgia as a 24-point underdog. That result, coupled with Florida’s 45-16 loss at Missouri, prompted me to make the Gamecocks’ 10-point favorites over the Gators.
Florida has been beaten by a combined score of 87-23 in its past two games. There’s no accountability for this team that saw its season undone before it started with the suspensions of nine players, including its best offensive weapons in Antonio Callaway and Jordan Scarlett.
The roster since has been further decimated by injuries to key players who won’t be making the trip to Columbia, including leading rusher Malik Davis, the team’s best pass rusher in Jordan Sherit and explosive playmaker Kadarius Toney.
More than anything else, this is a play against the Gators. But there’s nothing wrong with backing a team that’s 7-2 against the spread, especially when South Carolina will be sky high for coach Will Muschamp to get a win over his former team.
Four more plays (home team in CAPS):
Iowa (+12) over WISCONSIN: The Hawkeyes haven’t lost by more than seven points all season and are riding a 6-0 ATS streak as double-digit underdogs. These teams have played three straight one-possession games, and Wisconsin has beaten Iowa by double digits once in the past 11 years. The road team has won outright in the past six meetings. The Hawkeyes are getting stellar play from quarterback Nathan Stanley, who has thrown for 22 TDs and four interceptions. Iowa is 16th in the nation in scoring defense (18.1 ppg), and the Badgers lost their leading wide receiver, Quintez Cephus, to a season-ending injury last week.
SYRACUSE (Pick) over Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons allowed 710 yards of total offense to Notre Dame last week without Jessie Bates, their leading tackler. Bates and Wake Forest’s best wide receiver, Greg Dortch, will miss Saturday’s game. The Orange are on a 6-0-1 ATS tear and would have won outright at Florida State last week if not for two missed field goals. Syracuse is 4-1 straight up at home, and quarterback Eric Dungey will carry the team to victory.
West Virginia (+1½) over KANSAS STATE: We have a big advantage at quarterback with Will Grier, who bounced back from a poor performance against Oklahoma State with a stellar effort in last week’s 20-16 win over Iowa State. Grier completed 20 of 25 passes for 316 yards and two TDs. The Mountaineers will win outright to hand the Wildcats their third straight home loss.
Rutgers (+31) over PENN STATE: The Scarlet Knights have covered four straight games and six of seven. Rutgers has lost by more than 21 points only once while going 6-1 ATS as underdogs. I made the Nittany Lions 25-point favorites.
Last week: 4-2 against the spread
Brian Edwards of VegasInsider.com and BrianEdwardsSports.com is providing college football analysis for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Follow @vegasbedwards on Twitter.