Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, December 31, 2014 at 11:00 AM
We begin two days of coverage for college football’s National Semifinals today in the NOTEBOOK with a look at Thursday’s Rose Bowl featuring #2 Oregon and #3 Florida State. After running those numbers today…we’ll come back tomorrow for the New Year’s nightcap.
Oregon is a 9-point favorite, which might seem at first glance to be a very high line against last year’s National Champion! Let’s see if JIM HURLEY’S key indicators stats confirm that superiority or not. Yes, Oregon is explosive and dynamic. But, NINE points against a Heisman Trophy winner (Jameis Winston) and loads of athletes from the talent-rich Southeast?!
Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)
Florida State: 13-0 (#36 schedule in USA Today)
Oregon: 12-1 (#34 schedule in USA Today)
Can’t justify the high price there. Florida State had the better won-lost record against a schedule that was rated almost dead even in toughness by Jeff Sagarin of USA Today. Looking ONLY at those numbers, FSU should be a slight favorite. Maybe you could call it pick-em if you give Oregon any “home turf” considerations on the West Coast in a stadium they’ve seen once already this season.
Florida State: 6.4 on offense, 5.3 on defense
Oregon: 7.4 on offense, 5.4 on defense
This is where Oregon starts to pull away. Both teams had comparable defenses…which graded out as “soft” vs. offenses who knew what they were doing…but acceptable most of the time. Oregon’s offense was a full yard-per-play better while running a zillion plays. Remember, this is fast-break football from the Ducks. They really pile on the yardage because 7.4 is amazing at high speed. Combining this with the category up above…Oregon’s yardage and scoring differential at 12-1 was more impressive than FSU’s at 13-0. The Seminoles kept winning nailbiters vs. mediocre opposition. Oregon usually ran away and hid.
Florida State: -3
And, now we get to the stat that could even suggest Oregon is a value bet at -9! Florida State was very mistake-prone this year for a big name team. That had to keep overcoming mistakes from Winston and the offense. FSU lost the ball 27 times this season. Oregon only lost the ball eight times! That means this year’s Heisman Trophy winner (Marcus Mariota) is better positioned to have the more impactful game. He’ll be making plays in a clean, fast-running offense…and then may also be cashing in cheap points off FSU turnovers.
Florida State: 3-10 ATS
Oregon: 9-4 ATS
Here’s another reason the market has drifted so high. Oddsmakers and sharps weren’t skeptical enough about Florida State this season. The Seminoles were one of the most overrated teams in all of football. Oregon managed to make a run at 70% covers even though everyone knew they were very good…and the lines were stacked against them. HUGE difference here in terms of the market’s continuing efforts to find equilibrium with the two programs. Handicappers have to determine if -9 is finally too much…or if it’s still not enough!
Current Line: Oregon by 9, total of 72
That’s a very high Over/Under for a college football game. But, given how soft these defenses played vs. quality…how potent the offense are…and how likely it is that we’ll see a very fast pace…that 72 is reasonable. Just within the past few days college football fans have seen Nebraska/USC play to 87 points, and Texas A&M/West Virginia play to 82. Better weapons here than in those games.
JIM HURLEY knows that it’s vital he find the right side and/or total plays in Thursday’s National Semifinals. Yes, the whole New Year’s Bowl Blitz is critical. But…Oregon/FSU and Alabama/Ohio State are the two final games of the day…and are the matchups that EVERYBODY will be betting. For a handicapper, these are MUST-WIN games!
And the full NETWORK team of experts has been working around the clock since the matchups were announced to find meaningful edges. Our computer programmers have been running simulations to account for every possibility. Our scouts and sources are shaping the picture with reports from the field. Our statheads have crunched every number from this year and all relevant tests from the past for the teams involved. Our Wise Guy connections in Las Vegas and offshore are keeping us posted on smart money moves. It’s all going to come together in a CHAMPIONSHIP PARLAY that will highlight JIM HURLEY’S annual NEW YEAR’S DAY EXTRAVAGANZA!
You can purchase game day BEST BETS through the bowls right here at the website with your credit card. Be sure you use Wednesday’s Tripleheader to build your bankroll for Thursday’s 5-game barrage. If you have any questions, call the office at 1-888-777-4155 before the early games kickoff on either day. Be sure to ask about our NFL playoff package that takes you all the way through the Super Bowl when you call.
Back with you tomorrow in the NOTEBOOK for Game Two of the Final Four showcase. Then, it’s onto Wildcard Weekend!
New Year’s Day: Sugar Bowl Preview…#1 Alabama vs. #4 Ohio State
Friday: NFL Wildcard Preview…Baltimore at Pittsburgh Saturday night on NBC
Saturday: NFL Wildcard Preview…Cincinnati at Indianapolis Sunday on CBS
Sunday: NFL Wildcard Preview…Detroit at Dallas Sunday on FOX
Have a great NEW YEAR’S EVE! Be sure you bet and celebrate responsibly. We’ll be back with you soon to wish you a HAPPY NEW YEAR and talk ‘Bama/Ohio State. Ring in the new year with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!
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