College Football Betting: Texas A&M at South Carolina

College Football Betting: Texas A&M at South Carolina

The wait is over. College football is back. The 2014 campaign kicks off tonight when No. 21 Texas A&M battles No. 9 South Carolina in a key SEC matchup. Both teams watched their signature star players jump to the NFL. No Johnny Manziel and Mike Evans for the Aggies, and no Jadeveon Clowney and Connor Shaw for the Gamecocks. However, the lack of celebrity media darlings doesn’t lessen the importance of tonight’s showdown. The loser will dig an early season hole in the conference standings, while the winner builds some much-needed momentum. This is also the SEC Network’s inaugural broadcast, so there’s that. Which of these preseason contenders holds the edge? Here’s a preview.


Sophomore signal-caller Kenny Hill steps into the towering shadow left by Manziel. Hill played sparingly as a freshman, so he enters the season a relative unknown. He has the athleticism to run Kevin Sumlin’s up-tempo attack, but primetime nerves could get the best of him. Redshirt freshman wideout Ricky Seals-Jones saw his season end in the first game of 2013 due to a knee injury; he is fully healthy and at 6’5″ 225 lbs, is a Mike Evans clone. Look for Hill to feed him the ball early and often. The defense is chock-full of questions, but freshman defensive end Myles Garrett is a potential stud. Sumlin has a lot of unproven talent to mold, so this will be a major test under the lights in a hostile environment.

The Gamecocks turn to senior quarterback Dylan Thompson after losing Connor Shaw and his 27-5 career record to graduation. Thompson is no stranger to being under center, having engineered victories over Missouri and Clemson in the last two years. Helping his efforts will be junior running back Mike Davis, who rumbled for 1183 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2013. The defense will be hard pressed to fill the gaping void left by Clowney’s departure, but Darius English is poised to breakout as an outside speed rusher. Replacing the likes of Kelcy Quarles, Victor Hampton, and Jimmy Legree won’t be easy, either; all three were experienced and productive leaders for the last two years.

This is a lot of points for a Week 1 matchup, but the home field advantage and South Carolina’s skill on offense gives them a significant advantage. Both rosters have question marks at several positions, but Texas A&M is the greener of the two. The Aggies went 0-4 ATS on the road in 2013. Gameocks were 4-3 ATS at home in 2013. Steve Spurrier is a perfect 9-0 at South Carolina in season openers, including 7-0 on Thursday night.

Bet the Gamecocks -10.5