College Football Odds, Picks for Florida State vs. North Carolina: Your Betting Guide for Saturday’s ACC Contest (Oct. 9)

College Football Odds, Picks for Florida State vs. North Carolina: Your Betting Guide for Saturday’s ACC Contest (Oct. 9) article feature image
Credit:

David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Kalen DeLoach.

  • The Florida State Seminoles and North Carolina Tar Heels meet in ACC college football action on Saturday afternoon.
  • Kody Malstrom is extra aware of the damage Florida State can cause to a team's postseason hopes, and he's backing it to keep it close today.
  • Check out Malstrom's full betting preview, complete with odds and picks below.

Florida State vs. North Carolina Odds

Florida State Odds +17.5 (-115)
North Carolina Odds -17.5 (-105)
Moneyline +600 / -900
Over/Under 64
Time 3:30 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

North Carolina at Florida State in 2020. I remember it like it was yesterday.

Sitting at my friend’s bar, championship aspirations with only one loss at the time, wearing my UNC sweatshirt with a beer in each hand — all to end with tears in my eyes at the realization the season was over when FSU won.

As soon as the wide-open fourth-down pass was dropped, I remember everything blacking out while my buddy played “Hurt” by Johnny Cash over the speakers in the bar to kick me while I was down.

It was all over. But that was last year.

This season, the Tar Heels came in with ACC Championship aspirations. Stumbling out of the gate, they look to get back on track after routing rival Duke. Florida State, meanwhile, started looking great in a close loss to ND but hasn’t found its form since.

Will Sam Howell and the Tar Heels exact revenge? Or will I once again be leaving the bar with tears in my eyes and a hefty tab?


Florida State vs. North Carolina Betting Preview

Saturday, Oct. 9
3:30 p.m. ET
ESPN

Florida State Seminoles

Florida State Offense

After keeping pace with Notre Dame in a thriller, Florida State has looked like a shell of its former self. The air attack has been atrocious, ranking near 100th in Pass Success.

Not all is lost, though, as the rushing metrics have been above average nationally.

Florida State boasts rushing ranks of 20th in Rush Success and 23rd in Line Yards. This is in large part due to running back Jashaun Corbin, who has been running wild. Corbin has racked up 504 yards on 8.1 yards per carry to go along  with four rushing touchdowns.

The Noles will look to once again lean on the rushing game, especially when they get past the 40. While Florida State’s Finishing Drives rank is nothing special, it will hope to exploit a UNC defense that ranks 112th in Def. Finishing Drives.

If it can limit the turnovers, Florida State should be able to move the ball with ease on the ground as the game goes on.


Florida State Defense

While the FSU offense has been alarmingly bad, the defense has held its own for the most part. It catches a break with its biggest weakness, Defensive Havoc, as the Tar Heels have been shooting themselves in the foot all season.

The Seminoles will need to rely on turnovers and stopping drives early, as the Sam Howell-led offense is once again one of the best in the nation. If it wants to avoid this game getting out of hand early, FSU will need to get into the backfield and force Howell to make mistakes.

While FSU may not be able to stop UNC from charging down the field, it may find better success limiting the scoring past the 40. This will be a key part to monitor, as both the UNC offense and FSU defense are near even in Finishing Drives.

If FSU can limit the scoring in its own end, it will go a long way in staying within the number.

The must-have app for college football bettors

The best NCAAF betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

North Carolina Tar Heels

UNC Offense

While quarterback Sam Howell’s Heisman chances vanished, he still is a force to be reckoned with under center. Widely regarded as one of the best quarterbacks going into this year’s draft, he has led this offense to another successful year in offensive production.

So far this season, Howell has thrown for 1,494 yards, 14 touchdowns, and four interceptions at a completion rate of 62.1%.

He will look to torch the FSU defense with his favorite target at wideout, Josh Downs. Downs has been a lethal target for Howell, hauling in 40 receptions for 620 yards and six touchdowns.

Ranking near the top 20 in both Pass Success and Rush Success, the Tar Heels offense is nothing short of spectacular.

If they want to take the next step in success, they will need to limit Havoc. This has been an Achilles heel for them, as turnovers and disruptions have brought drives to a screeching halt.


UNC Defense

While UNC’s offense is constantly keeping it in games, its defense is taking it out of them.

So far, the Heels have not shown the ability to keep opponents from putting points on the board once they enter scoring position. This is a result of their 112th ranking in Def. Finishing Drives.

Another glaring weakness for the Tar Heels defense is they do not cause any disruptions for opposing offenses. With a Havoc rating of 97th, they are allowing offensives to get in a rhythm and stay in it.

On top of not being able to generate any pressure or disruptions, UNC also is poor at tackling — a disastrous trifecta of problems across the board.

North Carolina will get a chance to right the ship, as FSU litters itself with problems on offense with a Havoc rating of 121st.


Florida State vs. North Carolina Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Florida State and North Carolina match up statistically:

Florida State Offense vs. North Carolina Defense

Offense

Defense

Edge

Rush Success 20 34
Line Yards 23 84
Pass Success 99 43
Pass Blocking** 45 96
Big Play 51 54
Havoc 121 97
Finishing Drives 92 112
**Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

North Carolina Offense vs. Florida State Defense

Offense

Defense

Edge

Rush Success 19 31
Line Yards 22 63
Pass Success 21 52
Pass Blocking** 36 46
Big Play 10 52
Havoc 117 80
Finishing Drives 52 50
**Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 7 83
PFF Coverage 89 85
Middle 8 62 118
SP+ Special Teams 41 109
Plays per Minute 19 45
Rush Rate 55.% (62) 54.9% (65)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.


What sticks out to me, as a whole, is the Finishing Drives matchup. FSU’s offense is bad at Finishing Drives, while UNC’s defense consistently concedes points. Both the UNC offense and FSU defense are dead even at Finishing Drives as well.

This will be a matchup of what breaks first. With both teams underwhelming to start the season, this will be a get-right game for both squads.


Florida State vs. North Carolina Betting Pick

Last season, FSU played spoiler to UNC’s season and ruined any chance for it to get back into playoff contention. This season, FSU has the chance to play spoiler again and ruin UNC’s chance to get to the ACC Championship.

Will the Noles pick up the upset win once again? I don’t think so. But I do believe FSU will cover.

UNC’s defense has too many problems to make me think it can confidently cover a large spread. It can’t tackle, it doesn’t generate pressure or disruptions, and it can’t keep teams from scoring past the 40.

While the Heels did cover a 20-point spread against Duke, Florida State will be a step up in talent. This presents value for FSU to cover the large number, as I believe it will be given chances to score and stay within the number against this Tar Heel defense.

The spread isn’t the only bet that has my attention, though.

While the FSU offense is nothing special, especially in the passing game, it can run the ball. This will also bleed the clock, which is always beautiful for an under.

Take the points with Florida State and sprinkle a little on the under. I’d play this down to FSU +17 and under 64.

Pick: FSU +17.5 (Play to +17) | Under 65 (Play to 64)

How would you rate this article?