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Missouri opens as 4.5-point favorite over South Carolina

NCAA Football: Missouri State at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Before the season began, my preseason S&P+ ratings gave Missouri about a 0.3-point projected advantage over South Carolina once home field advantage was taken into account.

With the Tigers’ defense-light win over Missouri State and South Carolina’s strange win over NC State (the Gamecocks were doubled up in yardage but won anyway), I would have expected something close to a pick ‘em line for this one, with one team or the other favored by a point or less. I would have been incorrect.

Missouri opened as a 4.5-point favorite. Consider me surprised.

Now, I’ll say this: if Missouri wins, it’ll probably be by more than 4.5 points. If the Tiger offense clicks, they are going to score a lot of points, and it might be hard for the South Carolina offense to keep up. Still, this very much feels like a 50-50 game. Expect the line to come down.

Mizzou and South Carolina will kick off on Saturday evening at 6:00 p.m. CT on ESPN2. This could be the most important game of the season for the Tigers; a win would give them tremendous odds of reaching bowl eligibility for the first time in three years. A loss, however, would leave them scrambling, especially with a Purdue team that looked solid and volatile against Louisville visiting the next week.