Throughout August, we'll be previewing the Florida State Seminoles with a new different format than we've used in previous years. First, though, I wanted to get into some notes and thoughts on perspective. The following things are true based on pretty much any statistical model, expert poll, and the Las Vegas oddsmakers:
-The Seminoles are the clear pick if you need to select one team most likely to make the playoff;
-FSU has a much better shot of going undefeated than any other major conference team; and
-If asked to choose between Florida State repeating and any other team winning the title, go with the field. Every time.
I think looking at some Vegas odds can help clarify just how likely some expectations are to happen.
Making the playoff
First, let's look at odds to make the playoff. As you can see, Vegas is paying out less than half the money on an "FSU to make the playoff" bet as it is with the No. 2 team, Alabama, and after that the odds get really high. Its odds are about 3X those of Ohio State and Oregon, and almost 6X those of Auburn. FSU is the only team at significantly better than even money to make the playoff.
Going 12-0 in the regular season
Next, I compared the payouts on betting a team to win over 11 games. Here again, FSU is more than twice as likely as any other major conference team to do so. Vegas thinks Florida State is 4X more likely to go 12-0 than Alabama! And again, FSU is the only team to be significantly better than even money to do so.
A similar phenomenon can be seen when wagering on FSU to win more than 11.5 games. As the table (right) shows, very few teams are even offered in conjunction with such a wager.
But here's the key: FSU is, according to the Vegas odds, a coin flip to go 12-0. At best. Some give FSU as low as a 35-percent chance of doing so.
Is there a team that really stands out as being the most likely to upset FSU on its regular season schedule? No. But the expectation is pretty evenly split between 11-1 and 12-0, both of which are excellent results. And both of which would probably get FSU in the college football playoff.
So just how likely is FSU to take home the national title?
Let Vegas put it like this: FSU is both the most likely team to do so, and yet, not all that likely at all.
A winning $100 wager on Florida State to win the national title nets a gambler $500. But the same wager on Florida State to not win the title pays just $14.28.
Think about that.
FSU's chance to go 12-0 might be close to that of heads or tails. But its chance of actually repeating as national champions is more like a roll of the dice -- one in six.
Note: the odds on Florida State Over 11 Wins have skyrocketed from -195 to -250 in the last few days since we first published the odds in our ACC Bets Piece.