The point spread for this weekend’s South Carolina-Kentucky football game saw some serious movement last night amid a rumored injury to the Wildcats’ starting quarterback.
No. 13 Kentucky was a consensus 10.5-point betting favorite against USC as of Wednesday, but that line has dropped down to six points with Kentucky quarterback Will Levis questionable for the contest, according to multiple media outlets.
The 4.5-point drop on the spread presents a major opportunity for South Carolina (3-2, 0-2 SEC), which is trying to engineer a midseason turnaround after uninspiring conference losses to Arkansas and No. 2 Georgia.
Levis will be a game-time decision against South Carolina with an injury that “isn’t long term serious but could leave him out,” according to Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio.
Kentucky would turn to redshirt freshman quarterback Kaiya Sheron if Levis can’t play. Sheron is a former three-star recruit who’s thrown zero career passes for the Wildcats (4-1, 1-1 SEC).
South Carolina’s 6.5-point underdog status against Kentucky marks its lowest point spread against an SEC opponent this season. USC was a nine-point underdog at Arkansas (lost by 14) and a 25-point underdog at home against Georgia (lost by 41).
South Carolina has lost seven of its last eight games to SEC East Division opponent Kentucky, with its only win in that stretch coming at home in 2019. USC has also lost a series-worst four straight road games against Kentucky at Lexington’s Kroger Field.
The Gamecocks have also struggled to cover against Kentucky. They’re 2-8 overall against the spread in their last 10 games against the Wildcats, and they’ve failed to cover in their last three trips to Kentucky as an underdog (2020, 2018 and 2016), according to Odds Shark’s database.
Coach Shane Beamer’s squad is 2-3 overall against the spread after covering against Georgia State as a 12.5-point favorite (won by 21) and against Charlotte as a 23.5-point favorite (won by 26) and failing to cover against Georgia and Arkansas.
South Carolina also fell just below its 40.5-point spread in its 50-10 win against FCS South Carolina State last Thursday, marking the first time USC failed to cover at home.
A fair chunk of bettors expect South Carolina to pick up its first win against the spread this weekend, though, according to VegasInsider.
Levis’ status has only fueled those trends.
As of Thursday, South Carolina has picked up 40% of bets against the spread and 77% of money against the spread on VegasInsider, which means a smaller percentage of gamblers are betting more money on South Carolina to stay within six points or win on Saturday.
USC also has just 19% of the bets but 64% of the money on money line bets, or straight-up win-loss bets, against Kentucky. South Carolina is +320 on the money line, so a $100 bet on a USC victory would win another $320 and net you $420.
Kentucky’s money line status, like its point spread, has also faded with the news of Levis’ injury. Kentucky was -370 on the money line Wednesday and is down to -232 on Thursday.
USC and Kentucky are set for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff Saturday on SEC Network.
SEC football odds this week
No. 8 Tennessee (-3) at No. 25 LSU
Arkansas at No. 23 Mississippi State (-9.5)
Missouri at Florida (-11)
Auburn at No. 2 Georgia (-29.5)
No. 9 Ole Miss (-17) at Vanderbilt
South Carolina at No. 13 Kentucky (-6)
Texas A&M at No. 1 Alabama (-24)