Louisville vs Florida State Predictions, Picks: Bettors Debate Friday Night’s Spread (Sept. 16)

Louisville vs Florida State Predictions, Picks: Bettors Debate Friday Night’s Spread (Sept. 16) article feature image

Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: A Louisville Cardinals football helmet.

Louisville vs Florida State Odds

Louisville Odds
-110 / -110
Florida State Odds
-110 / -110
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Why You Should Bet Florida State

By Mike Ianniello

The Florida State Seminoles are off to a 2-0 start this season, much like I am against Tanner in this recurring debate piece. Apparently, Tanner didn’t learn his lesson because he’s back to betting against the Seminoles again.

As I mentioned before the FSU-LSU game, I don’t think we can fairly judge Mike Norvell’s coaching tenure to this point. He took over a new team during the 2020 COVID-19 season. He had to deal with limited practices, cancellations, social distancing and quarantining. It was impossible for him to implement his culture and bond with his team.

After going 5-3 with Jordan Travis under center last season, Travis is officially the guy in Tallahassee and has continued to improve each year. He played terrific against LSU, going 20-of-33 for 260 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also added 31 yards on the ground.

In two games this year, Travis has five big-time throws and zero turnover-worthy plays. He recorded just 11 big-time throws all of last season and has doubled his big-time throw rate.

Last year’s leading receiver Ontaria Wilson is back and continues to develop great chemistry with Travis. He was a monster against LSU, catching seven passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns.

This Florida State offense ranks eighth in the country in Success Rate this season. Meanwhile, this Louisville defense sits 109th nationally in Success Rate.

Louisville’s defense ranks 131st in the country in defending rushing success. Considering this is the first season with 131 teams, that means it has the worst rushing defense in the history of college football. Literally, no team has ever ranked this low.

Travis will be able to use his arm and his legs to dice up this Louisville defense, and speedster running back Treshaun Ward should have a monster game out of the backfield.

Why You Should Bet Louisville

By Tanner McGrath

I believe in this Louisville team.

I believe in its moxie. I believe in its ability to walk into the Bounce House — where UCF is 30-2 straight up and 17-15 against the spread in the last five seasons — and steal a win from a very talented Knights squad.

Mostly, I believe in Malik Cunningham — the electric Louisville quarterback who can steal any game in any situation. He ran for over 1,100 yards last season while throwing for close to 3,000 and scoring 39 total touchdowns with just six picks.

I don’t think this game will be hard to steal, however.

Not when the Florida State defense ranks outside the top 75 in Defensive Standard Downs Success Rate and Passing Downs Success Rate. The defensive line won’t be the same without former ACC Defensive Player of the Year Jermaine Johnson and teammate Keir Thomas.

Not when Louisville is 4-2 SU and 5-1 ATS in its last six meetings against FSU.

Not when Louisville gets this game at home, where the home team has covered in five of the last seven games in this series.

Not when Florida State is playing its first true road game of the season, wherein the Seminoles have lost four straight road openers by 23 points per game.

Not after Louisville walked into Tallahassee last season and came away with an eight-point win.

This game should be a pick’em, and I’ll take the points with the Cardinals.

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Seminoles Refutation

Ianniello: You believe in a Louisville team that got blown out, 31-7, to a below-average Syracuse team? A Louisville team that got outgained, 449-334, and allowed 5.2 yards per carry in that game?

You believe in the moxie of a team led by Scott Satterfield? The same guy who got caught flirting with other teams all offseason and had to write a letter to his current team begging for forgiveness when he got caught?

The drama surrounding this program caused an exodus to the transfer portal that included running back Hassan Hall, wide receivers Jordan Watkins, Tyler Harrell and Justin Marshall, and cornerbacks Kani Walker and Greedy Vance, who is now with Florida State.

I’ll fully admit, I love Cunningham. I think he’s a college football star. But he has also been pretty bad this season, especially passing the ball. He’s completing just 58% of his passes with no touchdowns and two interceptions.

You say the defensive line won’t be the same, and yes, Jermaine Johnson is a big loss. But the Noles brought in FCS All-American Jared Verse, and he quickly lived up to the hype of the next stud transfer in Tallahassee.

Sure, this their first “true” road game. But they surely won’t be intimated going into Cardinal Stadium after facing off with LSU in New Orleans. Louisville isn’t exactly the most hostile environment.

Louisville won this game last year, but that was with McKenzie Milton at quarterback. Now it’s Travis under center, and he can hang with Cunningham and the Cardinals.

Cardinals Refutation

McGrath: I don’t think anybody truly believes the Cardinals are the worst rushing defense in college football. They got sliced up by a Syracuse team that looks to be one of the top rushing teams in college football, and it seems the Cardinals came out flat against an underappreciated opponent.

Louisville looked much improved against UCF. The Cardinals held UCF to a 41% Success Rate on standard downs and produced 12 Havoc plays, including six tackles for loss.

Plus, what Louisville did to John Rhys Plumlee was criminal. Plumlee finished 16-for-34 for just 131 passing yards, good for 3.9 yards per attempt. Plumlee looked lost out there, especially when UCF could only produce a 7% Success Rate on passing downs in the second half.

I think we’ll see some more improvement against Florida State at home. I think Travis should see increased trouble with Louisville than with Brian Kelly’s rebuilding defense or with whatever is happening at Duquesne.

Aint no way. What in the hell is going on at Duquesne’s football program. pic.twitter.com/C2E3YsLOYB

— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) August 28, 2022

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Seminoles Rebuttal

Ianniello: Sure the Cardinals produced six tackles for loss against UCF. That’s great. Well, Florida State produced six tackles for loss and four sacks against LSU.

I’m not sure Louisville will have the same success against the Noles that it did against UCF.

LSU was supposed to have one of the best defensive lines in the country. Granted, it did have an injury early in the game, but this SEC front seven posted zero sacks on Florida State and just two tackles for loss all game. FSU ranks 13th in the country at preventing Havoc.

When opponents do dial up the pressure on Travis, he has handled it flawlessly all season. When Travis has been blitzed this year, he’s gone 18-of-23 for 13.7 yards per attempt with two touchdowns and no picks
Last season, this offensive line dealt with a ton of injuries and players moving around positions. It struggled with continuity and performance. So far this season, that unit hasn’t allowed a sack, and four of the members have played at least 100 snaps.

Plumlee was bad… but he was literally playing wide receiver for the last two years because he isn’t a good quarterback. Travis is currently the sixth-highest graded passer in the country, per PFF. He has a 70.8% adjusted completion rate and doesn’t have a turnover-worthy play all season.

Travis will be the best quarterback this Louisville defense has faced all season. He’ll be able to avoid pressure and pick up big plays, while the running game has success similar to Syracuse.

Cardinals Rebuttal

McGrath: The Scott Satterfield forgiveness letter angle is a great one. So is the FCS All-American transfer angle.

I imagine readers feel uber-confident in your sharpness following those points!

Cunningham’s numbers are deflated from a letdown game against Syracuse. That was just a letdown game.

The Cardinals’ quarterback bounced back with a 73.8 PFF passing grade, making one big-time throw with no turnover-worthy plays and a 10.2 average depth of target against UCF.

Again, the Florida State defense ranks outside the top 90 in Passing Success Rate and Passing PPA Allowed. Meanwhile, the Louisville defense ranks top-20 in both of those stats.

Travis may be the best quarterback the Cardinals have faced this season, but they’re ready for the challenge.

Moreover, it seems Florida State may have issues with dual-threat quarterbacks this season. It allowed Jayden Daniels to rush for 114 yards at over seven yards per rush when it played LSU.

Imagine what Cunningham is going to do.

Closing Arguments

We’re now in the third season under Norvell and finally seeing his team take the step we expected. This defense is nasty, and he finally has his quarterback.

Louisville is a one-man team that dealt with a ton of drama all offseason. The Noles are for real and a much better team than this Cardinals one. Go Noles.

Louisville is going to be good. It has the horses to get the job done, especially at home.

It also features the best player on the field in Cunningham. And Cunningham is licking his lips at this matchup.

Florida State ranks outside the top 115 in Rush EPA per Play Allowed and rush explosiveness allowed. LSU’s Daniels roasted the Seminoles on the ground, and Cunningham is a more explosive quarterback with a better arm.

FSU has an exploitable defense in an exploitable first true road game environment. If that’s the case, give me the Cardinals plus the points.

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