Florida State Seminoles' 2014-15 College Football Betting Preview

Steve - CollegeFootballWinning.com

Thursday, July 31, 2014 2:31 PM GMT

Thursday, Jul. 31, 2014 2:31 PM GMT

For a team that should have inflated betting lines all season long, third-quarter Florida State betting might be the smartest FSU bet out there.

The Florida State Seminoles’ 2014-2015 College Football Betting Preview
They say it is hard to follow a legend. Florida State’s Bobby Bowden was just that- a legend. From a betting perspective, the cliché holds true. Consider these 12 college football coaching legends of the past 30 years: Barry Alvarez, Lloyd Carr, Pete Carroll, Lavell Edwards, Hayden Fry, Jimmy Johnson, Urban Meyer (after Florida), Tom Osborne, Joe Paterno, Nick Saban (after LSU), Bo Schembechler, and Barry Switzer. The season immediately following each of these legends’ final year of coaching was profitable against-the-spread (ATS) for just 4 of the 12 coaches succeeding those legends. Jimbo Fisher followed Bobby Bowden at Florida State with an ATS season that won at a rate of 57.14%. Coach Fisher overcame the odds (so to speak) to be profitable after FSU’s legend, and he and his 2014 Seminoles will have to overcome even more unfavorable betting trends to be profitable ATS this year. This article will discuss some of the most important betting conditions and tendencies facing the Florida State Seminoles this 2014-2015 college football season.

 

Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher Against-the-Spread
In his last four seasons, Bobby Bowden’s Florida State teams averaged just 42.55% ATS, with just one of those four seasons being profitable. In Jimbo Fisher’s first four years, his FSU teams averaged 56.36% ATS, with three of those four seasons being profitable. Fisher’s real ATS windfall, however, occurred last season. In his first three seasons (head) coaching at FSU, the average margin of victory (MOV) ATS was 1.7 points. Last season, that ATS MOV jumped to an unbelievable 11.68 points, which means that the Seminoles of 2013-2014 beat the spread by an average of MORE THAN a touchdown and a field goal in every game. Coach Fisher’s real success has been in Home games: Under Fisher, in games played in Tallahassee, FSU is a very profitable 60.71% ATS with an average ATS MOV of 5.73 points. In games played away from Home under Fisher, FSU is just 51.85% ATS, with an average ATS MOV of 2.69 points. Even with his excellent ATS beginning to his head-coaching career, Jimbo Fisher is now a defending National Champion, and that brings with it the most dreaded of ATS obstacles: expectations.

 

Expectations in College Football Betting
As an admitted oversimplification, betting lines are driven by expectations. Expectations, in many cases, can be quantified. For example, at both Pinnacle and Bovada, Florida State has the shortest futures odds to win the 2014-2015 National Championship. In addition to being considered the best team in college football entering 2014, the Seminoles have three significant strikes against them. The following points summarize FSU’s three strikes:

1.They are defending National Champions. Over the past 20 seasons, defending National Champions have beaten the spread at the unprofitable rate of 49.85%.

2. They have a returning Heisman Trophy winner. Since 2003, teams playing with returning Heisman Trophy winners have beaten the spread at a rate of just 47.62%.

3. They were double-digit ATS winners last season. The last 20 teams to win at least 10 games ATS in a season, followed that impressive year, quite unimpressively, by beating the spread the next season at an average rate of merely 45.45%.

Aside from Florida State’s specific three strikes, a previous article of ours outlined general preseason predictive principals. We discussed three conditions for a profitable ATS season:

1. Be unranked in the preseason polls. Florida State is all but guaranteed to be the #1 team in the AP (Associated Press) Top 25 Preseason Poll. Preseason polls often serve as amplifiers for overvalued ATS seasons. Over the past 20 seasons, blindly betting $110 on each game played by the AP Preseason #1 team would have left you $620 poorer today. For Florida State, specifically, they have been ranked in the AP Preseason top 10, three times in the last decade. Their average ATS winning rate for those three seasons was 42.11%.

2. Be unprofitable the prior ATS season. Already mentioned, Florida State’s 78.57% ATS rate in 2013-2014 made them one of the most profitable teams of the season.

3. Increase the straight-up wins from the prior season. The Seminoles went 14-0 (SU) last season. Technically, it is possible for them to increase their SU wins from last season: FSU would have to go 12-0 for their regular season, win the ACC Championship Game, be one of the four teams selected in the inaugural College Football Playoff, win that first playoff game, and then win the National Championship. Failing to win all 15 games for any reason, however, would leave FSU with either the same or fewer SU wins as last season. Over the past decade, Florida State has equaled or decreased their SU wins (from the prior season) six times. Their ATS average for those six seasons was 43.06%. Going 15-0, quite literally, leaves no margin for error, and college football has a lot of “errors” (e.g. suspensions, dismissals, injuries, eligibility, officiating, weather, etc.).

 

Schedule Notes
Utilizing the NCAA’s method of determining strength of schedule, Florida State ranks 47th. Take a look at their 2014 schedule below:

DATE

OPPONENT

LOCATION (STADIUM)

NOTES (Florida State Under Jimbo Fisher)

08/30/14

Oklahoma State

Arlington, TX

(AT&T Stadium)

FSU is 4-0 ATS in season-openers. In those four season-openers, they beat the SPREAD by an average of 14.75 points. FSU is 4-2 ATS in neutral site games (including Bowl games). The Seminoles are 8-4 ATS vs. non-conference FBS teams (not including Bowl games).

09/06/14

The Citadel

Tallahassee, FL

(Doak Campbell Stadium)

The last time FSU played The Citadel was in 2005. Although the game had no betting line, the Seminoles won by 52 points. FSU is 4-0 ATS in Home-openers. They are 3-2 ATS vs. FCS schools, and 6-3 ATS as favorites of five TD’s (35 points) or more.

09/20/14

Clemson

Tallahassee, FL

(Doak Campbell Stadium)

FSU is 1-3 ATS vs. Clemson, including going 0-2 ATS in Tallahassee. In FSU’s three ATS losses, they failed to cover the SPREAD by just 2.5, 3, and 3.5 points. FSU is 3-1 ATS in ACC-openers, but that one ATS loss was against Clemson. The Total went Over in three out of the four contests. FSU is 2-3 ATS after a bye week.

09/27/14

NC State

Raleigh, NC

(Carter-Finley Stadium)

FSU is 1-3 ATS vs. NC State, including going 0-2 ATS in Raleigh. In those Raleigh games, NC State beat the SPREAD by an average of 13.25 points. The game went Under the Total both times, and the line direction (from the opening to the closing betting line) suggested the wrong side in each game. FSU is 2-2 ATS in ACC road-openers.

10/04/14

Wake Forest

Tallahassee, FL

(Doak Campbell Stadium)

FSU is 3-1 ATS vs. Wake Forest, including going 2-0 ATS in Tallahassee. The Seminoles beat the SPREAD by an average of 17.75 points in those two Home games. The game went Over the Total in three out of the four matchups.

10/11/14

Syracuse

Syracuse, NY

(Carrier Dome)

FSU beat the 38-point spread by 18 points in 2013’s matchup. It was the first year in the ACC for Syracuse. The Seminoles are just 44.44% in ACC Away games.

10/18/14

Notre Dame

Tallahassee, FL

(Doak Campbell Stadium)

Despite having played each other seven times, only one game was played in Tallahassee (and it was before Fisher, in 2002). The one true Home contest for FSU was a SU and ATS loss. The only time these two met under Fisher was the 2011 Champs Sports Bowl. FSU beat the spread by a single point, and the Total went Under by 15 points.

10/30/14

Louisville

Louisville, KY

(Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium)

UL is new to the ACC in 2014. The last time these two schools played each other was in 2002 (before Fisher). UL won the game both SU and ATS as 14.5-point underdogs. FSU is 54.55% as an Away favorite. They are 2-3 ATS after a bye week.

11/8/14

Virginia

Tallahassee, FL

(Doak Campbell Stadium)

The last time FSU lost an ACC Home game (SU) was the last time the Seminoles played UVA. The game was in 2011, and UVA was a 17-point underdog. Both times that Fisher’s FSU team faced UVA, the Total went Under.

11/15/14

Miami (FL)

Miami Gardens, FL

(Sun Life Stadium)

FSU is 2-2 ATS vs. The U. The line direction (from the opening to the closing betting line) suggested the wrong side in each of the last three games. The Total also went Under in the last three games (by an average of a little over a TD).

11/22/14

Boston College

Tallahassee, FL

(Doak Campbell Stadium)

FSU is 2-2 vs. BC. Last season’s ATS loss to BC was one of just three FSU ATS losses on the season. FSU failed to cover the spread by 10 points- their greatest margin of loss ATS for 2013-2014. The Total has been split: two Overs and two Unders in their four meetings.

11/29/14

Florida

Tallahassee, FL

(Doak Campbell Stadium)

Fisher has beaten FSU’s archrival three out of four times, both SU and ATS. The line direction (from the opening to the closing betting line) has NOT suggested the wrong side yet. The Total has also gone Under in three of those four meetings. The last two times this rivalry was played in Tallahassee, the betting line was not predictive: In 2012, FSU was a 7-point favorite, yet they lost the game SU by 11 points; in 2010, FSU was a 2.5-point favorite, yet they crushed the Gators SU by 24 points. FSU is 62.96% ATS as Home favorites in all games under Fisher.

The Third Quarter’s the Charm
Consider betting Florida State for the third quarter. Sure, this betting preview just took a turn for the exotic, but consider these facts: Over the past two seasons, against the spread (for complete games), FSU is 16-12 (57.14%). Over the course of those same two seasons, the Seminoles are 19-9 (67.86%) ATS in third-quarter wagers. In quarters one, two, and four last season, Florida State scored 3.83 touchdowns for every touchdown they allowed- a 3.83-to-1 TD ratio. In the third quarter, that ratio skyrocketed to 8.33-to-1. For a team that should have inflated betting lines all season long, third-quarter Florida State betting might be the smartest FSU bet out there.

 

Finding Frequency for Fisher (FSU Betting Trends Under Jimbo Fisher)

*When a majority of the public betting is on FSU at Home, the Seminoles are 81.25% ATS!

*When a minority of the public betting is on FSU at Home, the Seminoles are just 36.36% ATS.

*FSU is just 50% ATS in ACC games, but 66.67% ATS in non-conference games.

*When the Seminoles are favorites of at least three touchdowns, they are 66.67% ATS.

*Line movement (from the opening to the closing betting line) indicated the correct side in 76.92% of FSU’s Home games, but just 41.67% of their Away games.

*Reverse Line Movement (RLM): Usually an indicator of where the “sharp” money has gone when it opposes the majority of the public bets, the RLM side has been correct LESS than it has been incorrect. Therefore, RLM appears to be no indicator of the correct side in Florida State games.

*Totals: While a public majority has bet the Over in 94.23% of FSU’s games, the Over has been the correct side just 47.06% of the time.

 

Preseason Conclusions
The 2015 College Football Championship will be determined by playing-off four teams chosen by 13 people. For good or ill, this will be the most subjective method of determining the four best teams in college football since before the BCS. Given the extreme subjectivity of the selection process and the fact that we have no data on the results (since this is the first year of the process), we recommend the most conservative approach to your National Championship futures betting. Combining our conservative approach to National Championship futures bets with Florida State’s short betting odds, we recommend against wagering anything on a Florida State National Championship futures bet.

Although Jimbo Fisher has been profitable ATS during his four years as the Seminoles’ head coach, there is simply too much general and Florida State-specific historical data to suggest that this will be a good ATS year for FSU. Using this article as a guide, however, should provide some profitable opportunities for Florida State bettors- both betting on and betting against the Seminoles.

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