Profit Off Underdogs in Week 14 College Football Betting

Kevin Stott

Tuesday, November 25, 2014 8:30 PM GMT

Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014 8:30 PM GMT

Florida is down this year and Florida State is up, but the Seminoles have had a number of close calls and against their instate rivals Saturday afternoon, laying more than a TD is  just too many making Florida the bet.

Florida Looking to Knock Off FSU in Sunshine State Showdown Saturday
Florida at #1 Florida State
Always a great game, this year’s meeting at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee has some luster with host and top-ranked Florida State (11-0 SU, 3-8 ATS, 8-0 ACC) actually having something to lose against semi-rival Florida (6-4 SU, 5-5 ATS, 4-4 SEC) here on Saturday afternoon. Most college football odds opened up Florida State as big 10-point Favorites (Pinnacle)—it was quickly bet down to 7½ and 8 in most places by Monday evening—and even though the Gators are down this season somewhat, getting 7½ points still in a rivalry against a team that’s needed 5, count ‘em, 5 comebacks in either the late 4th Quarter or OT to stay unblemished this season.

The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook’s 2014 Games of the Year lined this game at Florida State -16 over the summer, so, you can see how little The Guys In The Know thought about Florida back then, and what they think about both teams now. With a double-digit opening point spread (-10), it’s a significant thing to see a number on this game now (-7½, Monday night) and nearly 10 points (from the 2014 Games of the Year’s -16) is a really significant change. Really big. And on some level, Florida State even being lined a 16-point Favorite over Florida is a little absurd in itself. Respect to anyone who grabbed the 16 points this summer in that case as that Magical Monster Middle you may have been seeking just widened a bunch.

SEC East Division representative Florida hasn’t exactly been dynamic on offense this season, as the Gators rank a pathetic #107 in Passing, #40 in Rushing but are still averaging 31.6 ppg (#48). Florida has avoided major embarrassment though by playing good enough defense—as the Gators are known to do—and have allowed only 20.9 ppg (#23). To stay in this game against high-powered Florida State (35.5 ppg), Florida will have try to pound its running game to try to slow the game down and keep possession as much as possible while hoping its defense has a big day and hopefully (sort of) then shock the nation. And they very well could. QB Jeff Driskel (106 completions, 9 TDs, 10 INTs) has only attempted about as many passes (195) as Baylor does in an average entire game but RBs Matt Jones (157 rushes, 788 yards, 6 TDs) and Kelvin Taylor (99 rushes, 528 yards, 6 TDs) have given the Gators enough of an offense to stay in games while WR Demarcus Robinson (43 completions, 703 yards, 7 TDs) is Driskel’s main target.

The ACC Atlantic Division’s Florida State are almost the polar opposite of Florida offensively as the Seminoles are an eye-opening #107 in Rushing but rank in #12 Passing (314.9 ypg). On defense, Florida State is almost just as tough as Florida is, where the Seminoles rank #29 in Points Allowed (22.3 ppg). So, this could very well turn into a gridiron chess match and it’s worth noting here that the Under is 8-2 L10 in this series with the Gators averaging just 26.0 ppg in those 10 and the Seminoles an even more surprising 18.6 ppg—but those were lesser FSU teams and stronger Florida teams.

The Over 5-1 in the L6 Gators games and 4-2 in Florida’s L6 on the Road, but the Under 6-2 L8 in this series in Tallahassee, so handicapping the Total is hard but this column is always about trying to find the quality Underdogs to bet on every weekend in College Football so you know from the headline and the title that taking Florida and the now just 7½ points is the call here. The Gators are 7-3 SU L10 against Florida State (1-6 ATS L7 at Home) and it seems the Seminoles have been overrated just a tad in both the polls and by oddsmakers as if any one of those five times FSU escaped with a win this season actually was an L, the Seminoles would have to fight like everyone else to be in the CFP conversation—FSU is ranked #3 in the College Football Playoff ratings heading into Tuesday’s new rankings—and sooner or later this team will meet its match and that little garnet-and-gold bubble will burst. And that day could be this Saturday against a Florida (8-14-1 ATS L23) team everyone has almost taken for granted, and maybe rightfully so with its sputtering offense. But the Gators can play good defense and if they can establish the run and keep this a low-scoring affair, Florida can change the CFP Landscape more than most ever thought with a big upset here (Moneyline: Florida +250, William Hill; FSU -300) on Saturday afternoon. And taking the Gators and the 7½ points here seems does seem to be the best choice here although getting them at +10 and +9½ and +9 and +8½ and +8 with of all that theoretically early “smart” money on Monday morning would have been a little bit sweeter.

College Football Underdog Pick: Florida +7½

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Cougars & the Points the Pick Against Golden Bears in Berkeley
BYU at California 
Independent BYU (7-4 SU, 4-7 ATS) travels to Berkeley and California Memorial Stadium to face the Pac-12 West Division’s California (5-6 SU, 7-4 ATS) in the last regular season game for both schools. The Cougars (3-6 ATS L9 Road) have been nothing that special this season—especially when compared to past seasons—but getting 4 points here against a California (3-13 ATS L16 at Home) team which is just 1-5 SU in its L6. BYU is 2-1 lifetime against California, averaging 36.7 ppg to Cal’s 26.3 ppg, but those stats are from old games (1999, 2001, 2005) and are absolutely meaningless and can’t really be applied here. Head coach Sonny Dykes’ (9-13 ATS) Golden Bears, behind QB Jared Goff (278 completions, 3,580 yards, 22 TDs) are #5 in the nation in Passing so the BYU secondary will definitely be tested. Cal is just 2-9 SU L11 games at Home, but granted, that is primarily against the tough Pac-10 where the Golden Bears have slowly fallen down the pecking order over the past several seasons. The feeling here is that if BYU can go down to austin, Texas and beat Texas 41-7 as 1-point Underdogs as it did in Week 2, then the Cougars should be able to stymie the Cal pass attack enough to give themselves a chance to win outright (Moneyline +165, William Hill) and the 4 or 4½ points may end up coming in handy. BYU will need QB Christian Stewart (152 completions, 1,829 yards, 17 TDs) and WR Mitch Matthews (63 receptions, 801 yards, 8 TDs) to have big days but this is a squad used to playing as a unit and one where any number of role players like Jordan Leslie, Colby Pearson, Devina Mahina, Terenn Houk and Paul Lasike, among others, can score TDs and get the job done in the end. And don’t forget just how high-scoring this game may end up being and that a wager on the Over—when the Total Points numbers are released later this week—may also be a good idea for your college football picks as both teams should end up scoring in the mid- to high-30s and quite possibly the low-40s if the stars align here on the Matrix Turf of California Memorial Stadium.

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College Football Underdog Pick: BYU +4 (Pinnacle)

Also Looks: Texas A&M +2½ (vs. LSU, Thursday), Notre Dame +7 (at USC, Saturday)

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