The South Carolina Gamecocks (7-5) face the Virginia Cavaliers (7-5) on Saturday afternoon in the 2018 Belk Bowl from Charlotte. Kickoff is set for 12:00 PM EST on Saturday, December 29th at Bank of America Stadium. The game will be televised on ABC.
Taking a look at the full list of college bowl betting odds, South Carolina is currently listed as a 4.5-point favorite. The total for the game is sitting at 54.5 points.
Belk Bowl Vegas Odds Preview: Virginia vs South Carolina
South Carolina certainly waited until the very last minute to clinch a spot in a bowl game, beating Akron 28-3 at home to pick up their seventh win of the season. The Gamecocks started their season 3-3 before going 4-2 over the final half of their schedule. They also turned in quality performances against both Florida and Clemson, losing by a combined 25 points. QB Jake Bentley has had a strong season, throwing for 2,953 yards and 27 touchdowns. RB Rico Dowdle leads the way on the ground, rushing for 633 yards and four touchdowns on 117 carries. The biggest threat through the air for South Carolina has been WR Deebo Samuel, who has caught 62 passes for 882 yards and a team-high 11 touchdowns. As a whole, the offense is currently averaging 32.6 points per game (37th overall).
The Gamecocks have been below average on the defensive side of the ball during the regular season, allowing opponents to score 27.2 points per game (65th overall).
Virginia will try and win their first bowl game in 13 years on Saturday afternoon, as the Cavaliers locked up a spot in the Belk Bowl despite losing three out of their last four games. They certainly played well enough to win both of their last two loses of the regular season, as they fell just short against Georgia Tech (30-27) and Virginia Tech (34-31) in overtime. QB Bryce Perkins has had a decent year so far, passing for 2,472 yards and 22 touchdowns while also adding 842 rushing yards and another nine scores on the ground. RB Jordan Ellis has also been a big contributor on offense, rushing for 920 yards and nine touchdowns on 189 carries. WR Olamide Zacchaeus leads the way in the receiving game, catching 81 passes for 958 yards and six touchdowns. Overall, Virginia is currently averaging 28.5 points per game (67th overall).
The Cavaliers have played quite well on defense for most of the season, giving up just 21.8 points per game to opponents (27th overall).
2018 Arizona Bowl Free Betting Pick & Predictions: South Carolina -4.5
Despite the fact that Virginia has looked like a much better defensive team this year, I’m still going to take the Gamecocks in this matchup. The Cavaliers simply don’t have the talent on offense to keep pace with a very strong South Carolina attack. The Gamecocks were competitive against both Clemson and Florida, scoring 30+ points against both schools despite the fact that they rank 2nd and 21st overall in scoring defense respectively. In other words, I’m not at all worried about a Virginia defense that is currently 27th overall heading into the Belk Bowl.
Click on the link for more free college bowl picks from our experts on staff.
The Gamecocks are a perfect 6-0 ATS over their last six neutral site games. They are also 4-0 ATS in their last four bowl games and 4-0 ATS over their last four games against opponents with a winning record. Virginia is only 1-4 ATS in their last five games away from Scott Stadium.
While both teams have identical 7-5 records heading into this showdown, it is definitely worth looking into how strength of schedule impacted both programs. South Carolina could easily be 8-3 if they had avoided Florida and Clemson, while their loss against Akron was a bit of a fluke. They also beat #23 overall Missouri back in early October and stayed within a field goal of #19 Texas A&M. Virginia didn’t beat a ranked opponent all year long and lost by double-digits against both Pitt and NC State. All things considered, I’m going to take a shot with the Gamecocks on Saturday afternoon, as they should be able to win this game by at least five points.