South Carolina May Be Lively Dog vs. Michigan
A lot of people remember the last time the South Carolina Gamecocks met up with the Michigan Wolverines in the Outback Bowl, because that’s where Jadeveon Clowney made his nationwide reputation with a monster hit that was replayed over and over again in highlight reels. Well, here they are again, in Tampa, for a game on New Year’s Day (Monday), which is scheduled to begin at Noon ET at Raymond James Stadium. If you are a BetAnySports customer, you can place wagers in real time, utilizing the state-of-the-art software from Life Betting Ultra.
2017 Outback Bowl Odds:
In the college football betting odds for this Outback Bowl preview, as they are established at BetAnySports, Michigan is laying points:
Michigan Wolverines -8
South Carolina Gamecocks +8
Over 43 points -110
Under 43 points -110
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2017 Outback Bowl Odds – CJ’s Take:
For South Carolina (8-4 straight-up, 7-4-1 ATS), this is an opportunity to redeem themselves for a horrible performance in their regular-season finale, when defending national champion Clemson beat them pillar to post in a 34-10 final. On balance, however, the Gamecocks did pretty well for themselves, probably exceeding expectations for head coach Will Muschamp.
As for Michigan (8-4 straight-up, 5-6-1 ATS), the expectations were probably much greater, but they look like theymay have stagnated under head coach Jim Harbaugh, who was expected to produce a national championship contender by now. In all fairness, the Wolverines have suffered some attrition at the quarterback position this season, losing their starter, Wilton Speight, in the fourth game of the year, and then having to endure the choppy performance of John O’Korn, before settling on redshirt freshman Brandon Peters, who will make this start after having been cleared from concussion protocol.
To Peters’ credit, he has not thrown an interception, but he is not the most accurate passer in the world, hitting on just below 58% of his attempts. Where the Wolverines will have their chance is with the defensive unit, which puts pressure on the quarterback – to the tune of 39 sacks – and has allowed only nine touchdowns through the air.
South Carolina does not have the most imposing offensive attack in the world, averaging just a little over 24 points per game, and they failed to crack the top 100 with their ground game. So a defense like Michigan is likely to be able to make them one-dimensional. It looks as if USC will have to travel through the air, and Jake Bentley certainly gives them an edge at quarterback over Michigan, although his eleven interceptions are something of a worry. But Bentley was 62% accurate and has some bowl experience, throwing for 390 yards and three touchdowns against South Florida last year in the Birmingham Bowl. Whether South Carolina, even with the services of a top-notch tight end like Hayden Hurst (41 receptions) can put sufficient pressure on the Michigan defense is something that remains to be seen.
But interestingly enough, the Gamecocks have covered their last eight games as an underdog, and with Peters at the controls, were not sure the Wolverines are exactly poised to pull away here. So our instinct is to grab the points with the SEC entry here.
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By Charles Jay