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Florida State vs. Louisville: 3 key bets for Seminoles vs. Cardinals

Predicting Johnny Wilson’s receiving yards, which team scores first, and the over/under

The Florida State Seminoles defeated the Florida Gators 24-15 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville, Florida.
Charles Mays/Tomahawk Nation

A much-needed two-week hiatus.

After a 0-3 day against Miami, these last two weeks helped reset and refocus our gambling strategy. Our yearly total sits at 14/30, a shade under 50%.

With the final ACC game of the year being played Saturday night, this is our last shot to get over the hump.

As Mike Norvell yelled all week, it's time to “push yourself,” and this fortnight did wonders for me. After breaking down the film and analyzing the statistics, I have never felt better about these three picks.

Three picks. Three winners.

Here we go.

All lines are presented by DraftKings — as always, gamble at your own risk.

Johnny Wilson O/U 56.5 receiving yards

This may be the play of the weekend. Since returning from injury, Johnny Wilson has torched opposing secondaries. Against Miami, he reeled in 5 catches for 82 yards, and after being pulled early in the North Alabama game, led the Seminoles in receptions and yards last week against Florida. Last Saturday, half of Wilson’s completions came on 3rd down. Why does this matter? That trust, especially for an inexperienced quarterback, makes a difference.

The trust and production on its own make this a good play. However, this seems like the perfect matchup for a Wilson waterfall. While the Louisville pass rush stacks up with the best in the conference, the secondary has sprung a leak in their last few games. Against Miami, Xavier Restrepo took out his fury on being held without a catch the week before with a masterful eight-reception 153-yard performance. The week before, while playing a true freshman QB, Louisville allowed nine catches and 155 receiving yards to Virginia’s Malik Washington. In fact, in 75% of their games this season, a pass catcher caught 60 or more receiving yards against the Cardinals’ defense. Their top two corners, Quincy Riley and Jarvis Brownlee Jr.( remember him), struggled in the back half of the season. The oft-injured Brownlee missed the last month before returning to play last week against Kentucky. Meanwhile, Riley has not owned a PFF coverage grade over 70 in the previous five weeks. Oh, and I know it’s a different game, but these are Johnny Wilson’s highlights from the last time he played the team from Kentucky.

The pick: Over

Louisville first team to score first, -110

Like I mentioned before, I usually hate bets like this. Everything feels like a pure gamble with no rhyme or reason behind it. However, this week, I changed course.

The matchup perfectly suits the Cardinals. Louisville made a habit of starting fast during the season. Chris Nee of Noles247 dug up the stats earlier this week, and they sound like the opposite of Florida State. Jeff Brohm’s club scored on 9 out of their first 12 opening drive possessions this year. On defense, they did not give up a score on an opening drive the entire season.

Meanwhile, the struggles for Florida State are well documented. In their last two games, they went down by two touchdowns at some point in the first half. Against Florida last week, FSU went three and out with their first look at the ball and did not cross midfield against North Alabama. The last time the ‘Noles scored during their first drive was before Halloween against Wake Forest.

Florida State’s defensive shortcomings are also well-advertised. Even though they did not give up a score against Florida on their first drive, the Gators dominated the ball for six straight minutes. During his Monday morning press conference, Mike Norvell detailed some of the shortcomings of the Seminoles in their starts.

“Sometimes I think you see that in those emotional games. We’ll have an emotional game come Saturday. All we need to do is just go be us.”

Maybe Florida State will finally be able to start on time. They just have yet to prove it the entire year.

The pick: Yes

Over/ Under 46

When this line opened on Sunday, it read 50.5.

Vegas gave away the answer.

Although these can be two high-powered offenses, as Mike Norvell said Wednesday, these are “two teams that are going to lock it up for three and a half hours.” To start, the weather on Saturday will be abysmal. 8 P.M. in Charlotte calls for low 50s and rain. Gross.

Besides the weather, these two teams practice similar ideas on offense. Mike Norvell and Jeff Brohm do not make it a secret. They want to run the ball. In the last three weeks, Florida State has had an equal number or more run plays than pass plays. Dating back to the end of September, the Cardinals ran the ball over 30 times a game. Jawhar Jordan and Isaac Guerando are just as good as a running back duo as Florida put on the field last week. When Akeem Dent was asked who the Louisville offense reminded him of, he said their rushing attack looked like the Gators.

This game should be a low-scoring cage match because of the offensive principles and the defensive opposition. FSU’s rotation of defeneisve linemen paid off. Jared Verse and Patrick Payton look fresh and are playing the most snaps of the season late in the year. The defensive line’s performance in the 4th quarter proved they are up for any challenge. Ashton Gillotte has been a game-wrecker for the Cardinals all year, and I expect he will be unleashed in the ACC title game. Expect a dogfight Saturday night.

The pick: Under


Florida State Seminoles vs. Louisville Cardinals: How to watch

Date

Saturday, December 2nd

Time

8:00 p.m.

Watch

ABC

Stream

ESPN

Listen

Seminoles Radio Network, SiriusXM RADIO FSU Broadcast: CH. 136 or 193

Florida State vs. Louisville: Game notes

» Florida State is 12-0 for the fourth time in program history, joining the 1999, 2013 and 2014 teams, and completed a perfect regular season for the seventh time. FSU is one of five remaining undefeated FBS teams in 2023. » FSU is making its sixth ACC Championship Game appearance and first since 2014. The Seminoles are 4-1 all-time in the conference title game and have won three ACC Championship Game appearances in a row. Florida State’s wins and appearances are both the 2nd-highest totals in the ACC since the championship game debuted in 2005.

» The Seminoles are No. 4 in this week’s Associated Press poll. It is the 13th consecutive week FSU has been ranked in the top-5, the program’s longest streak since 2013-14 when Florida State was in the top-5 for 27 consecutive polls. » The win at Florida completed an unbeaten season on the road for the 11th time in program history and extended the Seminoles’ overall winning streak to 18 games, the longest active streak in the ACC and 3rd-longest active streak in the country. During its streak, which is also the 2nd-longest in program history and 3rd-longest ever by an ACC program, Florida State has outscored its opponents 718-310.

» FSU has held every opponent this season to fewer than 30 points. The 12-game streak is the longest active in the ACC and the 3rd-longest active streak in the country. The last time Florida State held 12 straight opponents to fewer than 30 points was a 12-game streak in 2015, which also covered every game of the regular season. » The Seminoles boast one of the nation’s best pass defenses, leading the country in opponent completion percentage (47.6) and pass breakups (67). FSU’s defense also ranks 2nd nationally in total passes defended (76), 4th in fewest passing touchdowns allowed (8) and 5th in opponent passing efficiency (100.32).

» Florida State (47.6%) is the only team in the nation forcing more incompletions than completions allowed. The last time a P5 team held its opponents below 50 percent completions in a season was 2018, when Michigan and LSU posted marks of 49.5 and 49.7 percent, respectively, and the last time FSU held its opponents below 50 percent completions for a season was 2012.

» FSU leads the ACC in both scoring offense (38.8, 10th nationally) and scoring defense (16.8, 11th), and is the only team in the ACC and one of four nationally ranked in the top-12 in both categories.

» Florida State is one of five teams in the country ranked in the top-30 in both pass defense (175.3, 10th) and passing offense (276.5, 26th).

» The Seminoles rank 5th nationally in 3rd-down defense (28.5%) and pass efficiency defense (100.32) and are 7th in the country in sacks per game (3.17). » Florida State’s offense leads the ACC in fewest turnovers (5, 1st nationally), fewest interceptions thrown (2, 2nd), turnover margin per game (+0.92), touchdowns scored (60, 9th), passing efficiency (155.64, 21st), yards per completion (13.71, 21st) and red zone offense (89.8%, 26th). » FSU leads the ACC and ranks 3rd in the country with a kickoff return average of 27.08 yards, and their net punting average of 43.54 yards per punt is 4th nationally.

» Florida State’s defense has faced 59 plays inside their 10-yard line this season and allowed just 15 touchdowns. In the 45-24 win over No. 5 LSU, the Seminoles faced 10 snaps inside their own 5-yard line and allowed only two scores. On LSU’s first drive of the game, the Tigers had six plays inside the five-yard line, including four snaps from the 1-yard line, and the FSU defense forced a turnover on downs with a 13-yard sack on 4th-and-1.