Free Expert NCAA Football Picks: Florida State Seminoles at Louisville Cardinals Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 10/29/2014
Florida State Seminoles at Louisville Cardinals, Thursday Oct. 30, 7:30 p.m. ET
Thursday night games are a good thing in principle - more nights of college football is never bad. When those Thursday night games are as intriguing and important as this one, though, things really get good - especially because Thursday night's NFL offering is nothing to write home about.
Florida State would have a berth in the new College Football Playoff if it were to start today, but people have not been overwhelmed by their play or the strength of their schedule. They need to keep winning to stay above the crazy logjam of one-loss teams. Louisville won't be playing in the playoff barring a crazy series of miracles because they already have two losses, but they can keep their very slight chances of a conference title alive with a win here. They also get to put their top-ranked defense on display against a very good team on a national stage. That's an opportunity that will motivate them tremendously.
Florida State at Louisville Betting Storylines
The Seminoles have not been consistently as good as they can be, but the one thing they unquestionably lead the country in is controversy. Jameis Winston is a one-man wrecking crew on that front this year, but now he has company, Starting running back Karlos Williams is being investigated by the police for an assault incident, but the team has downplayed it and anticipates having him available. They are not planning to take any action against Williams on their own initiative. The whole situation stands as a distraction to team and player, but that would be far more of a concern for most teams than it is for this one - they are veterans of these situations.
When you think of Louisville football you think of a lot of positive things over the years, but outstanding defense isn't one of them. They lead the country in both total yards and rushing yards against, though, and are second in the country in interceptions with 15. Of course, they haven't played an overwhelming schedule by any means. The closest to an elite team they have seen is Clemson, and they are far from elite. This will be a massive test for them - Winston's accuracy and his number of weapons make this a whole different game. It is unreasonable to expect Louisville to shut down the Seminoles like they have other teams, The challenge for handicappers is to determine just how far off of their typical performance they will be and what that will mean for the outcome of the game.
With Virginia, Miami, Boston College and Florida remaining on the schedule for Florida State, this game against a (marginally) ranked team represents their biggest remaining challenge and the last significant hurdle between them and an undefeated season and playoff berth. There are two big risks in this situation. First, it would be easy for a team in this situation to get complacent and to think ahead to when games are actually challenging and significant again. Louisville is good enough to test them if that is the case. There is also a real chance of rust. Both teams have been out of action since Oct. 18. That's more of a concern for the Seminoles, though, because they last saw the field in that brutal, emotional win against Notre Dame.
Florida State at Louisville NCAA Football Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Florida State favored by 6.5 points on the road. They have drawn more than 70 percent of all bets in this game, yet the line has dropped significantly to four. That's a good sign that sharp money has been hitting Louisville aggressively. The total sits at 50.5.
Florida State is 0-4 ATS in their last four on the road and 0-7 ATS in their last seven games following a game in which their defense allowed at least 450 yards. The under is 6-0-1 in Louisville's last seven conference games. The under has gone 3-0-1 in their last four on turf, while Florida State has gone over in their last four on the surface.
Florida State Seminoles at Louisville Cardinals Expert Predictions and Picks
The Seminoles have won the games that have mattered this year, but they have not done it overwhelmingly - and those games against Oklahoma State, Clemson and Notre Dame have all been at home. Now they have to head on the road into what will be a tough environment. There is no doubt which is the best team here, but which one is the toughest is an entirely different issue. I don't trust the Seminoles mentality, so I don't see value in taking them to win convincingly. I also can't help but note the significance of this line move given the betting pattern. Louisville is a comfortable pick.
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