Outback Bowl – Michigan Wolverines vs. South Carolina Gamecocks
Date and Time: Monday, January 1, 2018, 12:00 p.m. ET
Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
Opening Outback Bowl Odds: Michigan -9.5, O/U 43
Outback Bowl TV Coverage: ESPN 2
The Wolverines won eight games this season for Harbaugh but very few of the wins meant anything. Michigan lost the four games that mattered, as they were beaten by Michigan State, Penn State, Ohio State and Wisconsin. This will be the sixth time that Michigan is playing in the Outback Bowl and they have a 3-2 mark in the previous five games.
Michigan averaged about 26 points per game and gave up about 18 per contest. Their top offensive player is running back Karan Higdon who ran for 929 yards and 11 touchdowns. Neither quarterback inspires any confidence but at least Brandon Peters played a little better this season than John O’Korn and Peters figures to get the start in this game.
Michigan has a solid defense, led by fifth-year senior defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, and defensive linemen Rashan Gary and Chase Winovich. Not to be left out is linebacker Devin Bush who led the team with 94 tackles. Michigan went over the total six times this season, under five times, with one push.
South Carolina is led by quarterback Jake Bentley who is 12-7 in his career as the starting quarterback. The Gamecocks scored about 24 points per game and gave up 21 per contest. The Gamecocks feature Bryan Edwards (59 catches for 705 yards and 4 TDs) and Hayden Hurst (41 catches for 518 yards and 2 TDs). The offense has never been any good under Muschamp and it will now have a new offensive coordinator as gone is Kurt Roper and in is wide receivers coach Bryan McClendon. The Gamecocks are led on defense by senior linebacker Skai Moore who was a second-team All-SEC player. South Carolina went under in eight of their 12 games this season.
Michigan is 21-24 in bowl games and they have lost three of their last four bowl games. South Carolina is 8-13 in bowl games. The Wolverines are 4-10 ATS in their last 14 games on grass. The Wolverines are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games. The Gamecocks are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games. The Gamecocks are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 bowl games. The Gamecocks are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 non-conference games.
The Over is 6-0 in the Wolverines last 6 vs. the SEC. The Over is 6-1-1 in the Wolverines last 8 non-conference games. The Over is 8-2 in the Wolverines last 10 bowl games. The Under is 8-3 in the Gamecocks last 11 games overall.
Outback Bowl Free Picks
Bettors have been taking South Carolina at top online sportsbooks. This number opened with Michigan a 9.5-point favorite and that number is down to 7.5. The total has moved from 43 to 42.5. This matchup is one of the most unappealing of the bowl season and one that won’t get much attention on New Year’s Day. Michigan is an overrated team with an overrated head coach, but South Carolina is a dull team with Muschamp in charge. I sure want nothing to do with Michigan laying this many points but I have no confidence at all in a Muschamp team doing anything. I think the better option is to avoid a side and play the total. Both teams have solid defense and neither offense has done anything that makes you fear them. I think this will be a defensive battle that ends up going under the total.
Outback Bowl ATS Pick: Under 42.5 at BookMaker.eu
Outback Bowl Score Prediction: Michigan 20, South Carolina 17