Last season, South Carolina pulled off a surprising upset against Tennessee and will try to do it again in Week 5. No. 21 Tennessee is not as highly ranked as last season, but it will still be a considerable upset in college football picks if South Carolina finds a way to win.
Both teams are coming off wins, with the Gamecocks beating Mississippi State to improve to 1-1 against SEC opponents. The Volunteers’ offense got on track last week, scoring 45 points against UTSA.
South Carolina QB Best Chance for Upset
A big reason for South Carolina’s upset over Tennessee last season was the play of quarterback Spencer Rattler. After struggling for most of the 2022 season, he threw for 438 yards and six touchdowns against the Vols. That one game turned things around for the Gamecocks quarterback, now making this team a solid option in NCAAF picks after covering their last three spreads.
Rattler has carried over his success in the last three games from 2022 to this season. He has thrown for 1,242 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions with a completion percentage of 74.2%. So far, he has been the player that Oklohama thought they would get when it recruited him before Rattler transferred to South Carolina.
Spencer Rattler has already proven he has elite arm talent. On display every week.
And now he’s shown he can improvise under pressure and play with pace and control at an NFL level. @SpencerRattler to @XavierLegette has proven to be one of the best duos in college football.… https://t.co/xZRxY7ILCe pic.twitter.com/aFzhyk8OFi
— Eric Galko (@EricGalko) September 25, 2023
Last week, Rattler had another stellar week, throwing for 288 yards, three touchdowns and completing 18 of 20 pass attempts in a 37-30 win over Mississippi State. He found his favorite receiver, Xavier Legette, for five receptions, 189 yards, and two touchdowns.
Plus, the Gamecocks finally got their ground game going, bringing some balance to the offense. On the season, they averaged 75.8 rushing yards per game, but last week against Mississippi State, they put up 144. It wasn’t efficient at 3.1 yards per carry, but South Carolina stuck with it, opening up more passing lanes for Rattler. That could continue in this week’s game, giving the Gamecocks a chance to cover in the college football predictions.
Tennessee Running Game Keeps Going
The strength of the Tennessee offense has been the run game. The Vols are averaging 229.5 rushing yards and had another big day against UTSA in their 45-14 win.
Tennessee managed to rush for 303 yards last week, 9.2 per carry. Dylan Sampson led the way with 139 yards and two scores off 11 carries. Quarterback Joe Milton III also had success with his legs, rushing for 89 yards on five carries and a touchdown, but also did damage with his arm. He threw for 209 yards and two more touchdowns. The Volunteers’ leading carriers, Jaylen Wright and Jabari Small, didn’t get much work due to how well Sampson was running.
While South Carolina has been solid against the run, allowing 117.5 yards per game, Tennessee should still be able to find enough running lanes to keep the offense on track. That is why college football lines favor the Volunteers to win.
The big question is, can Tennessee’s defense slow down Rattler and South Carolina’s offense? It may seem possible since the Vols allow 190.8 passing yards per game and the third-lowest yards per attempt in the SEC. On top of that, the Volunteers are leading the SEC in sacks (16), having the ability to put Rattler under contrast pressure.
South Carolina vs Tennessee Best Bet
Both schools got big wins last week after losing in Week 3. However, those losses are a big reason why South Carolina covering the spread against Tennessee is one of BetUS’s free college football picks.
The Gamecocks covered a 26-point spread against the top team in the country, Georgia, losing 24-14. However, the Volunteers lost to unranked Florida. Tennessee needed last week’s win to get back on track while South Carolina used it to keep momentum. The Gamecocks will keep trending in the right direction by covering the spread against the Volunteers.
College Football Best Bet: South Carolina +12½ (-110)
South Carolina vs Tennessee Betting Odds
South Carolina vs Tennessee Game Information
• Game: South Carolina (2-2) vs Tennessee (3-1)
• Location: Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN
• Day/Time: Saturday, Sept. 30, 7:30 p.m. ET
• South Carolina vs Tennessee Live Stream: ESPN