Can Florida State beat UF?

I sure hope so.  If we do, we could see something like this:

Florida Fan Gets Upset After Florida Loss (via DRS10538)

Florida is currently a 17 point favorite.  That makes the Noles roughly a 7-1 shot to win this ballgame.

I decided to take a vegas style approach with this.  As most of you know, I've absolutely killed the lines this year.  Any of you lucky enough to live in a jurisdiction where wagering is legal and smart enough to follow have made a killing.  

I'm trying to go back and remember games in which a favorite of this size won... or came close.  Help me out if you remember any.

Troy almost beat LSU 2 weeks ago as a 16 point underdog.  

Tennessee lost to Wyoming as a 26 point favorite... at home

Missouri escaped Baylor with a 3 point win after being favored by 21

Auburn lost to Arkansas as a 17 point favorite

Michigan lost to Toledo as a 15 point favorite

Texas Tech went to overtime against Nebraska as a 21 point favorite

Nevada lost to New Mexico State as a 20 point favorite

Fresno State lost to Hawaii, at home, as a 21 point favorite

Bowling Green lost to Eastern Michigan as a 19 point favorite

Tulane lost to Army as a 17.5 point favorite

Toledo lost to Florida International as an 19 point favorite (Note: Toledo has been notorious for throwing games).

Florida lost to Ole Miss as a 23 point favorite

Southern Cal lost to Oregon State as a 24 point favorite.

2007:

USC lost to Stanford as a 40 point favorite

Michigan lost to Appalachian State as a 36 point favorite.

 

I think that's enough.  The point here is that upsets like this do happen.  I've yet to see a legitimate expert pick FSU to win.  To be honest, they shouldn't.  UF is the better team.  They have the trophy winner at QB.  So, does FSU have a shot to pull this off?  Surprisingly, yes.

There is an interesting gambling theory known as Double Digit Home Dogs (DDHD).  DDHD's cover really often, as high as 70% in some years.  Why?  They are often taken for granted.  The road favorite is almost always HOT.  The Gators are absolutely on fire.  Teams often read their own press clippings.  They see that FSU plays in the ACC, while they play in the mighty (allegedly, this year) SEC.  They will be overconfident.  DDRF's almost always are.   

So, is this line inflated?  Undoubtedly yes.  Why?  First, consider that UF has benefited from some insane mistakes by their opponents.  Now, credit UF for taking advantage of these, but if you watched these last few games, you saw their opponents playing dumb AND crazy football, UF taking the lead, and then snowballing.

Against Miami: 35 yard TD Drive, and a safety, both early.  Then 6 punts.  

Against Tennessee: 44 yard TD Drive, and 1 yard FG drive, both early.  Then, a punt return TD.

Against Ole Miss: ZERO scoring drives of fewer than 40 yards.  They made UF drive.

Against Arkansas: early 16 yard TD Drive

Against LSU: Pick-6

Against Kentucky: UF was up 14-0 after a 1-yard TD Drive, 3-yard TD drive.  they also had a Pick-6 after being up big.

Against UGA: 1-yard TD drive early, then a 25yd TD drive late and a 30 yard td drive late.

Against Vandy: 2 early short TD drives of 32 and 29 yards.

Against South Carolina: This was easily the best example of what I am talking about.  UF's first 3 drives: PICK-6 (7-0), 26 yd TD Drive (14-0), 5 yd TD drive (21-0).  After this point, SC's defense took crazy chances and gave up big yards, but up until this point, their defense looked decent while their offense and special teams took crazy chances, and lost.  

It sounds ridiculous to say this, but all the pick-6's and short fields aren't as repetable a skill as you might believe.  

UF is a lot like Mike Tyson.   Mike_20tyson_20pigeon_medium

via www.derok.net

 They want to knock you out early.  They jump on you and swing for the fences from the word go.  They make people get away from their game plans.  South Carolina was a team built on playing passable offense and great defense (they are really good on D).  Instead of doing that, they tried crazy passes and formations that they were clearly not comfortable in.  They had a huge special teams turnover as well, in the early going.  

But, do we know how Florida reacts when a team hits them in the mouth?  How does this team do against an Evander Holyfield-- someone who will make them fight all 12 rounds?  How does UF do in a tight game?  What if they don't get multiple opportunities in short fields in the early going.  Do they lose their cool and bite an ear off?  

Don't get me wrong, UF would have scored on long fields against many of those teams as well, had they not been given short fields.  They would not had as inflated totals, however.  How do I know?  Ole Miss forced UF to go on long marches.  Sometimes they succeeded, other times they did not.  

Now UF has to go on the road to face a much improved FSU team.  UF has played nobody on the road.  Tennessee and Arkansas aren't even bowl teams.  Vanderbilt is a joke as well.  Now they must go on the road into a very hostile environment, against a team that is extremely content sticking to their game plan of running the ball, playing great defense, and keeping reasonable field position.  

This is the largest line of the season for a ranked team going to face another ranked team.  This line is too high.  UF could easily cover this line, but 13, not 17, is much more reasonable.  The value is clearly in FSU+17, especially given UF's questionable road competition to date.  Now that I've talked myself into thinking FSU can win (not that we will win, but can), I'll work on how to do just that.

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