College Football Picks: Florida State vs. Clemson

Steve Merril - Steve@prosportsinfo.com

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 3:49 PM GMT

The biggest game on Saturday’s college football schedule will be played at 8:00 pm ET on ABC when #3 Clemson hosts #5 Florida State.

by Steve Merril

Sportsbooks have Florida State listed as a 3-point road favorite on the betting line with the Over/Under total currently sitting on 64 at the majority of shops.

When these two teams met last season in Tallahassee, the Seminoles were ranked #4 in the country and Clemson was ranked #10. Florida State was a whopping 14.5-point home betting odds favorite; they failed to cover the pointspread in their 49-37 win over Clemson. The teams return basically in tact from that game except Florida State has a new quarterback in Jameis Winston.

Florida State comes in with a perfect 5-0 SU record and a 4-1 mark ATS. The Seminoles have dominated their opponents, and they are #2 in the country with an average scoring margin of +40 per game. Their offense is averaging an incredible 53.6 points per game on 549 yards of total offense per game. Florida State is well-balanced as they are running for 228.2 yards per game and passing for 320.8 yards per game.

The Seminoles’ defense has been lights out this season. They are holding opponents to just 12 points and 276.8 yards per game. Florida State is only allowing 4.5 yards per play which ranks them #16 in the country. Opponents are converting on just 22% of their third downs against the Seminoles which is the 3rd best defensive percentage in the country.

Granted, Florida State hasn’t played a tough slate of opponents by any stretch of the imagination. But the numbers they are putting up are legitimate; they’ve done it for the past few years and they pass the eye test. The Seminoles have a ton of team speed and their talent is incredible.

Clemson comes into this game at 6-0 SU but just 3-3 ATS. Their 50% pointspread record is a concern because like Florida State, the Tigers have played a weak schedule aside from their season opener against Georgia. They were at home for that game and they were 1.5-point underdogs and squeaked out a 38-35 win.

Let's pop over to check out Joe Freda's pick on this very same game~

The Tigers also have strong seasonal numbers, but they are not as dominating as Florida State’s numbers, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Clemson’s offense is potent as they are averaging 40.8 points and 514.5 yards per game. But despite those gaudy numbers, Clemson only has an average scoring margin of +21 per game. That’s a 19-point difference per game when comparing Clemson to Florida State.

Clemson’s defense has been unable to stop the run this season. The Tigers allow 172.8 rushing yards per game on 4.4 yards per rush. Florida State has a very strong running game that averages 228.2 yards per game on a whopping 6.1 yards per rush. Clemson owns a -2.0 rushing margin per game on the season; Florida State owns a +104.6 rushing margin. That is a major advantage for the Seminoles and those numbers suggest that Florida State will dominate the line of scrimmage in this game. 

The Seminoles also have a major scheduling advantage as they come into this game off their bye week. They’ve had two weeks to get ready for this game while Clemson will be playing for the fifth consecutive week. The Tigers last had a bye after Week 2, and Clemson simply looked like a tired team in their unimpressive 24-14 win over Boston College last Saturday. 

[gameodds]6/247127/?r-1=19-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

Clemson looks very tempting as an undefeated home underdog in this spot. But based on the way these teams have played this season and the huge scheduling edge in favor of Florida State, we actually think this line is cheap for our college football picks. The Seminoles are better on both sides of the ball, and despite Clemson playing on a strong home field, we’ll lay the field goal with Florida State in this game on Saturday night.

Free Picks: Play FLORIDA STATE (-).