Michigan vs. South Carolina Bowl Pick
Will the Michigan Wolverines cover the point spread on New Year's Day when they take on the South Carolina Gamecocks at 12:00 p.m. ET in the Outback Bowl?
ODDSMAKERS LIKE: Michigan. According to oddsmakers from online sports book Bovada.lv, the Wolverines are 8.5-point favorites to beat the Gamecocks, who opened as 7.5-point underdogs. The total, meanwhile, hit the board at 42 and that's where the number currently sits at most sports books.
THE PUBLIC LIKES: As of Monday morning, public bettors are split on this game. The Wolverines are receiving 50% of the bets and the Gamecocks are receiving the other 50%. That said, 52% of the money is currently on the Wolverines.
INJURY REPORT: Rico Dowdle is doubtful for South Carolina due to a leg injury and offensive lineman Zack Bailey (undisclosed) is questionable. For Michigan, Brandon Peters (concussion) is probable while Wilton Speight remains out with a back injury. Ben Redeson (undisclosed) is questionable, while Grant Newsome (knee) and Tarik Black (foot) are out. Running back Ty Isaac (undisclosed) is probable.
WHO WE LIKE: Michigan. The Wolverines have had a revolving door at quarterback this season but Peters did provide the offense with a small spark at the end of the year. He was forced to sit out the matchup with Ohio State after suffering a concussion in his previous game but he has been given the green light to return today. Peters gives Michigan its best chance to move the ball.
The key reason I'm fading South Carolina, however, is the team's offensive coordinator situation. Kurt Roper was let go on December 6 after the Gamecocks finished 98th nationally in points per game (24.1). Bryan McClendon, who also doubles as the team's wide receiver coach, will take over play-calling duties, but the team has had less than a month to prepare for the change.
We've seen even prolific offenses like Missouri struggle this bowl season when a change occurs at offensive coordinator. This was already a Gamecocks offense that was struggling to move the ball and now they'll have a different person calling plays against a Michigan defense that ranks third nationally in yards allowed 12th in points allowed. This is a fair amount of points to lay but Big Ten teams have fared very well at the betting window this bowl season so I'm rolling the dice on Michigan.
OUTBACK BOWL PREDICTION: MICHIGAN WOLVERINES -8.5