College Sports

Was USC’s win over Georgia the biggest upset in school history? The numbers say yes

South Carolina football’s 20-17 double overtime win over then-No. 3 Georgia on Saturday not only changed the buzz around both programs in one fell swoop — it also had a significant impact for sportsbooks.

When the line first opened this past week for the Gamecocks’ road contest, they were 25-point underdogs, the highest in the past 30 years of the UGA-USC rivalry. As game time approached though, the spread steadily fell, first to 23.5 points, then all the way to 21 points on Saturday morning.

“Significant, line-moving money came in on the Gamecocks late and drove it down,” veteran gambling reporter David Purdum, of ESPN Chalk, told The State.

“It dropped pretty quickly on Saturday morning. All of a sudden I got a text or tweet from somebody asking, ‘What’s going on with the Georgia line?’ It went down from 25 to 21. William Hill, they have 100 sportsbooks in multiple states across the nation. They actually ended up with more money on South Carolina plus the points. I think it was like 62%. So there was belief in the Gamecocks and they delivered.”

Still, as three-touchdown underdogs on the road, the Gamecocks were facing long odds — FiveThirtyEight gave them just an 11% chance of winning.

Per ESPN Stats & Information, the upset was South Carolina’s first win as an underdog of 20-plus points in 40 years. That’s as far back as their data goes.

According to OddsShark’s database, it was only USC’s third win when an underdog of two touchdowns or more after the past 20 years.

And according to Purdum, the Gamecocks are now the third SEC team to win when underdogs of 21 or more points since 2005 — teams with spreads against them that large had been 2-69 before Saturday.

TOP 5 USC WINS AGAINST THE SPREAD SINCE 2000

1. 2019, No. 3 Georgia (Georgia favored by 21 points), 20-17

2. 2016, No. 18 Tennessee (Tennessee favored by 14.5 points), 24-21

3. 2005, No. 23 Tennessee (Tennessee favored by 14 points), 16-15

4. 2017, Michigan (Michigan favored by 12 points), 26-19

5. 2000, No. 9 Georgia (Georgia favored by 10 points), 21-10

TOP 5 USC WINS BY OPPONENT’S AP RANKING

1. 2010, No. 1 Alabama (Alabama favored by 7 points), 35-21

2. 2019, No. 3 Georgia (Georgia favored by 21 points), 20-17

3. 1989, No. 3 North Carolina, 31-13

3. 2009, No. 4 Ole Miss (Ole Miss favored by 4.5 points), 16-10

4. 2013, No. 5 Missouri (Missouri favored by 3 points), 27-24

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Greg Hadley is the beat writer for South Carolina women’s basketball and baseball for GoGamecocks and The State. He also covers football and recruiting.
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