The South Carolina Gamecocks can lock up a bowl spot this week when they host the Vanderbilt Commodores. Game time is 4:00 EST on Saturday, October 28 at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina. The game can be seen on the SEC Network.

Oddsmakers have the Gamecocks as 6.5-point favorites at home. The over/under is set at 45.5 points. Click here to check out a full list of Week 9 betting odds and links to game previews.

Vanderbilt vs South Carolina Vegas Game Preview & Betting Odds

South Carolina has flown under the radar this season, but the Gamecocks are having a nice season under Will Muschamp. To be fair, South Carolina still has to play Georgia, Florida, and Clemson, so some huge challenges are still ahead of them. But the Gamecocks still have an outside chance of winning the SEC East and they can solidify a bowl appearance for a second straight year with a win over Vanderbilt.

The Commodores, meanwhile, have lost four in a row after a bright start to the season in which they beat both Middle Tennessee and Kansas State. Vanderbilt lost to both Alabama and Georgia in blowout fashion, as expected. But the Commodores struggled to keep things close against both Florida and Ole Miss. However, the hard part of their schedule is behind them, and Derek Mason is hopeful that his team can get back on track after a bye last week.

College Football Free Pick Against the Spread: South Carolina -6.5

Early in the season, I believed in Vanderbilt, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, but not so much anymore. The talent gap between the Commodores and the rest of the SEC has been evident over the past month. I’ll side with South Carolina to win by at least a touchdown and cover.

To be fair, no one expected Vanderbilt to keep up with Alabama or Georgia. Even Ole Miss and their high-powered passing game was a tough task. But giving up 38 points to Florida last month was enough to make me jump off the Vandy bandwagon. If the Gators can score against you, anyone can score against you. If Vandy can’t play good defense against South Carolina, the Commodores don’t have much of a chance.

Click on the link for more free NCAA football picks against the spread and total.

South Carolina sophomore quarterback Jake Bentley has started to come into his own over the past month. He had some ups and downs early in the year, but over the last three games, he’s thrown five touchdowns and no interceptions. His numbers haven’t been eye-catching, but as long as Bentley can take care of the football, the Gamecocks have a chance to win.

Defense is the real key for South Carolina. On the season, the Gamecocks are allowing less than 20 points per game. Meanwhile, the Commodores have had little success moving the ball against quality defenses this season. Even in their win against Kansas State, they only managed to score 14 points. Vandy just doesn’t have the athletes, especially in the trenches, to keep up with most SEC teams. That will be a problem this week and for the rest of the season.

I’m not expecting South Carolina to run away with this game. However, I believe the Gamecocks do have a talent edge on both sides of the ball. The defensive side of the ball is where I expect South Carolina to take control of this game. I’d be surprised if the Commodores can break 20 points. That should be enough to win by at least a touchdown and cover the spread.