Pick Florida State to Cover in ACC Showdown with Miami

Kevin Stott

Thursday, November 13, 2014 6:29 PM GMT

Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014 6:29 PM GMT

FSU has a chance to be in the first-ever College Football Playoff system but a loss here to Miami would ruin FSU’s unbeaten season and squoosh its title hopes. That won’t happen. The Seminoles are the play.

#2 Florida State vs. Miami (Fla) Hurricanes: (Florida State -1½, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook), Sunday 18:00 (ABC, 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT): Reigning Heisman Trophy Jameis Winston and #2 Florida State (9-0 SU, 2-70 ATS) head south down I-95 to Miami Gardens and Sun Life Stadium to play Miami-Florida (6-3 SU, 5-4 ATS) in a game the Seminoles will need to win to stay on track to being one of the final four teams participating in the first-ever College Football Playoff system this season. Super Sophomore Winston still hasn’t lost after 25 games in college and the Seminoles QB will be trying to lead Florida State to its 26th straight win on Saturday night in this ACC showdown against the host Hurricanes.

Oddsmakers have made the visiting Seminoles 1½- (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) to 2-point (Pinnacle) Favorites over host Miami with unbeaten Florida State -130 on the Money Line (Winner) with the Hurricanes at a modest +110 as the Underdog. The Total Points hadn’t been released at most major casinos or sports book at press time (Tuesday night), but a 62 (SIA) was showing so this is expected to be and should be a high-scoring game in one of the few regions of the United States which won’t be inundated with sudden winter-like weather and temperatures this weekend. It’s supposed to be Partly Cloudy and with a high of 78° in Miami Gardens on Saturday.

 

Florida State Seminoles
Florida State (6-0 ACC) and QB Winston (2,540 yards, 17 TDs, 11 INTs) have been playing at a level not seen at Tallahassee in quite some time and the Seminoles would love nothing better than to represent the ACC by going undefeated and winning that first-ever CFP championship. Although Winston has way more picks (11) than he did all of last season and his QB rating has dropped more than 50 points, the kid is still managing this teams to W’s and he is an unarguable 22-0 as a starter.

Helping Winston out on offense for FSU are RBs Karlos Williams (119 rushes, 520 yards, 9 TDs) and Dalvin Cook (79 rushes, 416 yards, 5 TDs) and WRs Rashad Greene (71 receptions, 989 yards, 5 TDs, 13.9 ypc) and Jesus Wilson (33 receptions, 402 yards, 4 TDs). Expect senior Greene to have a big impact on the game.

On the injury watch, Seminoles DT Demarcus Christmas (ankle), QB Sean Maguire (hand) and RB Mario Pender (ankle) are all listed as Questionable for this game, but for the most part, this team is extremely healthy and in good position and head coach Jimbo Fisher (30-29 ATS) will have his boys ready to go for this one as a victory here would mean only Home dates with Boston College (Nov. 22) and Florida (Nov. 29) would stand between Florida State (4-1 SU L5 Road at Miami) and that trip to the first-ever College Football Final Four so to speak and a shot at another unbeaten season. So, the Seminoles should be up just a little bit for this particular game. And, there will surely be fights.

 

Miami (Florida) Hurricanes
Miami freshman QB Brad Kaaya (144 completions, 2,087 yards, 20 TDs, 14.5 ypc) has had a sensational season for the Hurricanes and helped rally the team from a 3-3 mark to its current 6-3 record. But that record seems to be a mirage of sorts and this game against Florida State will tell us much about this Miami team (5-0 SU L5 Home). Despite some great stats by several key position players—including Kaaya and his 20 passing TDs—Miami (1-4 SU L5 Home vs. FSU) still ranks just 61st in the nation in Passing and 32nd in Rushing. RB Duke Johnson (158 rushes, 1,213 yards, 9 TDs) has been incredible this season running the ball while and WRs Phillip Dorsett (19 receptions, 572 yards, 30.1 ypc) and Clive Watford (29 receptions, 395 yards, 6 TDs, 13.6 ypc) are both speedy threats who can turn the simplest pass into a 60-yard sprint race in pads. But it’s important to note that a decent portion of the Hurricanes yards, stats and points were all racked up in wins against teams like Florida A&M (41 points), Arkansas State (41 points) and down Cincinnati (55 points) and North Carolina (47 points) squads. Where Miami (1-4 SU L5 vs. FSU) will have to thrive to beat the Seminoles here is on defense, where the Canes rank #26 in Scoring (21.9 ppg), and this team should be very game-planned and rested having last played 14 days (Nov. 1, NC) ago before this high-profile contest on Saturday night.

Hurricanes OL KC McDermott (leg) is listed as Questionable for this one.

 

Best Betting Approaches
The trends, in terms of the Total here, pretty much point to the Under, but all those numbers are byproducts of eras and games without the talented Winston and Kaaya at QB for these two teams. Anyway, the Under is 9-4 L13 in this series, 6-2 L8 in this series here in Miami (Gardens) and 4-1 in the L5 Hurricanes games. However, the Over is 4-2 in the L6 Florida State games and 8-1 in the L9 Seminoles Road games, so getting Over that hump of 62 points will probably be dependent on Miami’s ability to score, or not score, against Florida State (5-1 SU L6 vs. Miami).

Side-wise, the Seminoles are a pathetic 5-10 ATS L15 on the Road, just 2-8 ATS over their L10 and 2-7 ATS on the season. But all those trends are for the most part based on games with Florida State usually being high-spread Favorites and all the Seminoles really need to do here is win the game or not lose by 1 point. And that doesn’t seem like it’s asking much against a team (Miami) which has lost to Louisville, #11 Nebraska and  Georgia Tech, two teams Florida State could probably beat and one it already has (Louisville).

When considering your college football picks; in short, the Seminoles just don’t lose, this is their time in the Sunshine State spotlight, the number seems too good to be true and the better team is yours for the taking for a minimal layout, both on the college football odds point spread (-1½) and on the money line (-130). And why this line isn’t Florida State -4 or more is a mystery. Despite Miami’s improvements and the emergence of QB Kaaya, these two teams still seem to be at drastically different levels.

College football picks: Florida State -2½ at Pinnacle

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