Florida State Head Coach Jimbo Fisher has yet to beat a top-10 team, either SU or ATS. Will 2013 be any different? Let's examine Florida State’s 2013-2014 college football betting prospects.
The Florida State Seminoles under Coach Fisher have gone 31-10 (75.61%) straight-up (SU), but just
20-21 (48.78%) against-the-spread (ATS). Fisher’s Seminoles have not faired
well against good competition, going 4-6 SU and 3-7 ATS versus teams that
finished the season ranked in the top-25.
Are you prepared for the upcoming college football season?
The Seminoles Against-the-Spread
Predicting any team’s ATS success
or their college football odds in the off-season is a challenge, but we have
discovered some correlations worth examining. In general, a team’s ATS season record usually stems
from the difference between expectations and actual results. Those expectations
can be measured by their preseason ranking, their variation in straight-up (SU)
wins (from the previous season), and an extreme (either very good or very bad)
ATS season immediately prior to the one in question. Expectations are usually
quite high for Florida State. In fact, FSU has been ranked in the top-25 of the
Associated Press (AP) Preseason Poll in 10 of the last 11 years. That is, in
part, why the Seminoles have only won a fraction above 45% of their games ATS over
the past 11 years. The chart below illustrates how FSU’s numerically low
preseason rank (a lower numerical rank means higher expectations) generally
translates to fewer ATS wins than losses.
Florida State’s best ATS year was
when they had a preseason ranking of 20th (in 2010). Three of FSU’s
worst ATS years were when their preseason ranking was in the top-10 (2002,
2004, and 2012). Since the Seminoles rank 11th in the Associated
Press (AP) Preseason Poll for 2013, this season appears to be another year of
reasonably high expectations. In total, when ranked in the preseason top-15
(like this year), Florida State had two profitable and five unprofitable ATS
Over the past 11 years, five out of
the six seasons that Florida State registered the same or fewer SU season wins
than in the prior season, they were unprofitable ATS. The Seminoles had 12 SU
wins in 2012, tying the school record for most wins in a season. Improving on
that number seems unlikely, especially with Away games against #8 Clemson and
In 2012, Florida State won less
than 40% of their games ATS (35.71%, to be exact). In the 10 years prior to
2012, FSU won less than 40% of their games in a season, four times. In three
out of the four cases, Florida State bounced back the following year with a
profitable ATS season.
Betting Trends for
Florida State Under Jimbo Fisher
- Unlike many college football powerhouses, the
Seminoles do better at Home when the spread is great. They are 9-3 ATS at Home
when the spread is greater than 17 points.
- Conversely, FSU is 2-7 ATS at Home when the
spread is under 18 points.
- FSU is 1-5 ATS in Away games when the spread is
greater than 14 points.
- Public Betting Percentage: Florida State is 9-2
ATS at Home when the public betting percentage is GREATER THAN 50%. When less
than 50% of the public is betting on FSU at Home, they are 2-6 ATS (and 0-4 ATS
when FSU is backed by less than 40% of the betting public). Public Betting
Conclusion: When it comes to FSU at Home, bet WITH the public.
- Judging from opening to closing betting lines,
the line direction was correct 8 out 10 times in FSU’s Home games, when the line
movement was greater than a single point.
- Conversely, the line direction was WRONG 8 out
of 10 times in Away games, when the line movement was greater than a single
- FSU is 8-18 (30.77%) ATS when held under 200
rushing yards, including an 0-6 ATS mark in 2012.
- FSU is 6-11 (35.29%) ATS when allowing over 100
rushing yards, including a 1-4 ATS mark in 2012.
- Combining the two, when FSU was held under 200
rushing yards AND their defense allowed over 100 rushing yards, they were 2-10
2014 BCS National
Championship Futures Betting
As this is being written, Bovada
has Florida State at 20-to-1 to win the 2014 BCS National Championship, giving
them the 9th shortest odds on the board. In a previous article, we outlined our 60%
Rule, where all BCS National Champions had at least three of the following five
criteria before starting their championship seasons:
1) An upperclassman quarterback:
As this is being written, redshirt
freshman Jameis Winston appears to have won the starting job at quarterback.
Even if it were not so, sophomore Jacob Coker would not change Florida State’s
status in this category, as both QB’s are underclassmen. Only one underclassman
out of 15 BCS Champions ever won the National Championship. Despite having a
couple of talented QB’s, FSU does not meet this first criterion of the 60% Rule.
2) A top-20 scoring defense one year prior:
Of the 15 previous BCS National Champions, 13 (86.67%) had top-10
scoring defenses the year they won it all. As a predictive criterion, 12 out of
15 teams (80%) had top-20 scoring defenses the year before winning the BCS. Florida
State’s scoring defense ranked 6th in 2012, so the second predictive
criterion of the 60% Rule is met. It is important to note here that Florida
State had 11 players selected in the 2013 NFL draft, 7 of whom were from the
defense- including 4 defensive linemen! Consequently, FSU returns just 64% of
their tackles (as in people who bring down ball carriers, not the position)
from 2012. That is the 72nd most returning tackles in the FBS and
the 9th most in the ACC. Despite returning less than the national
and conference averages for tackles, that “new” defensive line boasts two
#1-ranked guys at their respective positions, and another couple of guys who
(combined) had 57 tackles in 2012. This Florida State defense should still be
quite good in 2013.
3) A preseason top-10 ranking:
The third criterion of the 60% Rule
is having a preseason top-10 ranking. Mentioned above, Florida State ranks 11th
in this year’s AP Preseason Poll- just missing the required mark in this
4) Membership in the Southeastern Conference (the SEC):
The fourth criterion calls for
membership in the Southeastern Conference. Although residing in SEC country and possessing a
defense that could hold its own in the SEC, Florida State is not an SEC team.
5) A head coach who had been at the school for two to four years:
The final criterion of the 60% Rule
calls for the head coach to be at his institution for two to four years. Jimbo
Fisher enters his fourth season as the head coach at Florida State, therefore
placing him inside of that predictive range for head coaches.
In total, Florida State meets just two of the five
predictive criteria for winning a BCS title, disqualifying them as good
candidates for that 2014 BCS National Championship futures bet.
In terms of college football picks,
bet on Florida State games at Home as the public majority does. Doing so under
Jimbo Fisher has resulted in an amazing 15-4 (78.95%) ATS record. Pay attention
to line movement. Under Fisher, line direction has provided the correct side
80% of the time at Home, while it has indicated the wrong side 80% of the time in
Away games. (In both cases, remember to look for line movement that is greater
than a single point.) As the season unfolds, look to bet on FSU opponents that
can run the ball well on offense AND stop the run on defense. As for the 2014 BCS National Championship, Florida State falls short of meeting the 60% Rule. We,
therefore, recommend against placing that futures sports pick on the Seminoles.
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