Tennessee vs. South Carolina NCAAF Week 12 Top Picks: The Dog Days Are Back

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Hendon Hooker #5 of the Tennessee Volunteers celebrates a touchdown by Jaylen Wright #20 of the Tennessee Volunteers. Donald Page/Getty Images/AFP.

While the Tennessee Volunteers paid out last week, it’s the South Carolina Gamecocks who firmly belong in your Week 12 NCAAF picks.

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Tennessee Volunteers vs. South Carolina Gamecocks

Saturday, November 19, 2022 – 07:00 PM EST at Williams-Brice Stadium

Week 11 was a fantastic week for our college football picks here at the home office. We even nailed both the spread and the total for last Saturday’s game between the Tennessee Volunteers (-18.5 home favorites at the close) and the Missouri Tigers. Final score: Missouri 24 - 66 Tennessee (Over 57.5).

Very nice, but we’ll be switching sides for this Saturday’s SEC matchup between Tennessee and the South Carolina Gamecocks.

The Vols are just too chalky as 22.5-point road faves on Bookmaker’s NCAAF odds board; we’ll also recommend the usual Under to pair with the underdogs, although there’s substantially less value with that 66.5-point total at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review).

Will Tennessee Make the CFP?

Probably not. The Volunteers (9-1 SU, 8-2 ATS) are still No. 5 on this week’s AP rankings, and will presumably stay that way for the College Football Playoff after the 4 teams ahead of them all won in Week 11. But we’re saying there’s a chance.

Or at least FiveThirtyEight is; they project Tennessee’s playoff probability at 46% with 2 games left to go in the regular season, both of them very winnable for the Vols. They’ll visit the 4-6 Vanderbilt Commodores next week after taking on South Carolina.

It doesn’t look like Vols QB Hendon Hooker will be winning the Heisman, either. After briefly taking the top favorite spot from C.J. Stroud, Hooker has slipped back into 2nd place at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review):

  • C.J. Stroud (+135)
  • Hendon Hooker (+350)
  • Blake Corum (+500)
  • Drake Maye (+500)

This is despite Hooker unleashing 3 TD passes last week against Missouri on an efficient 25-for-35 passing for 355 yards, plus 8 carries for 50 yards and another major. Beating up on opponents like the Tigers may boost Hooker’s numbers, but that Week 10 loss to the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs may have sealed his Heisman fate.

Is That Fair to Tennessee?

Not entirely. Tennessee ranks No. 4 overall on the updated F+ charts at Football Outsiders, with the No. 1 offense in the nation and just the No. 33-ranked defense, which is part of the reason we’re going with South Carolina for this matchup.

The Vols also rank 3rd overall according to the Simple Rating System at Sports Reference:

  • Georgia (plus-24.05)
  • Ohio State (plus-22.88)
  • Tennessee (plus-19.41)

Unfortunately for Tennessee, the TCU Horned Frogs (10-0 SU, 8-1-1 ATS) have yet to lose a game this year, and the CFP computers aren’t about to let an undefeated Big 12 team miss the playoff, even if the Frogs are No. 8 on the F+ charts and No. 6 in SRS. Sorry about your damn luck.

Why Bet the Under?

Here’s the thing with the Gamecocks (6-4 SU, 5-5 ATS): They’re not very good at offense. Granted, they’re not very good at anything, but their offense only ranks No. 64 in F+, while their defense checks in at No. 53.

That mediocre ‘Cocks defense is still girthy enough to make South Carolina an easy college football pick at +22.5. Jeff Sagarin’s models at The USA Today have Tennessee winning Saturday’s matchup by 17-20 points, except for his “Recent” formula, which has the Vols up by 23.43.

Sagarin also has these 2 teams combining for 65.08 points, which is pretty close to the other models we’re following here at the ranch, as is that 17-20 range on the point spread. That leaves us with plenty of room for a chunky bet on South Carolina, but only a fun-sized bet on the Under.

Expect Cloudy Skies

We also don’t have the necessary weather conditions to pour more money into that total. Saturday’s forecast calls for partly cloudy skies over Columbia with game-time temperatures in the low 40s and not much wind to speak of.

If you’re looking for another way to bet at least a single unit on this contest, there might be some value with the Total Passing Touchdowns prop, which we took advantage of 2 weeks ago.

Final Picks

Betting on big-name quarterbacks like Hooker to go Under seems like a good idea; Hooker had zero TD passes against Georgia to comfortably miss his total of 1.5 (+105).

Alas, that prop has yet to hit the Week 12 college football odds board as we go to press. So we’re sticking with the ol’ underdog-Under combo.

Parlay them as you see fit, and may the prolate spheroid be with you.

NCAAF Pick: South Carolina +22.5 (-110) at Bookmaker (visit our Bookmaker Review)

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South Carolina +22.5 (-110)
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NCAAF Pick: Under 66.5 (-108) at Heritage Sports

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Under 66.5 (-108)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.