South Carolina comes into Fayetteville, against Arkansas this week after beating Georgia State in a Week 1 tuneup. Arkansas also looked pretty impressive against Cincinnati in its first game of the year as well. This is the SEC opener for both teams and should go a long way to see where each team is at, especially, South Carolina. So let’s take a look at the odds for this game, and make some picks and predictions too!
South Carolina vs. Arkansas Odds
Arkansas is an 8-point favorite at home and is at -345 on the moneyline. The over/under sits at 52.5. These odds jump out because Arkansas was seen as a potential sleeper contender in the SEC while there’s some potential with South Carolina, they seem like more of a mystery. The Arkansas offense and defense should be able to get the job done on their respective sides of the ball, but we don’t know much yet about South Carolina’s defense, but we know a little more about their offense, so the total does make sense.
South Carolina vs. Arkansas Prediction & Pick
I think the spread is a little random of a number, but I still like Arkansas -8 to cover the spread. I think the Razorbacks just have more going for them than South Carolina. They are also going to have the best player on the field in KJ Jefferson at quarterback. This is going to be a big test for the South Carolina defense because the Arkansas offense should be one of the best in the SEC, especially with the backfield tandem of KJ Jefferson and Raheim Sanders. The receivers for the Razorbacks are unproven, but Jadon Haselwood is a standout transfer to use in passing game too. The Arkansas defense should also be able to slow down the South Carolina offense just because it’s more proven, even though Spencer Rattler could potentially be an x-factor for the Gamecocks not just in this game, but in order for the Gamecocks to have a successful season in general. Rattler played decent in Week 1, but at times seemed to be doing too much, and because of that ended up with two interceptions. He can’t get away with that or any other sloppiness against Arkansas. I think home-field advantage also plays a big factor here, as it does all over the SEC. I love the Razorbacks this year overall, so go ahead and take the spread here. I think this game continues to set up a good year for Arkansas, with the key to their season being KJ Jefferson.
Prediction: Arkansas covers -8
South Carolina vs. Arkansas Key Matchups
I think the biggest matchup in this game is if the Gamecocks can do anything on defense to stop the Arkansas rushing attack. They allowed 200 yards to Georgia State last game and Arkansas got 224 yards on the ground against Cincinnati, which is most likely going to have a better defense overall than South Carolina. KJ Jefferson and Raheim Sanders are a great backfield tandem, and should be dangerous no matter who they play. Sanders got 117 on the ground and Jefferson added 62 for the pair to get 179 last week combined. I think this is a matchup that the Razorback offense is going to exploit early and often, and think it’s ultimately going to decide the game.
Another interesting matchup to watch is if Spencer Rattler can get going at all, against a good Arkansas pass defense. Rattler’s career has been full of inconsistency and even missed opportunities, but he could be the difference between a bowl game and a losing record at South Carolina, and a good place to start is against an Arkansas defense that has a really good secondary.