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College Football Odds & Picks: How to Bet Florida State vs. Miami (Saturday, Sept. 26)

College Football Odds & Picks: How to Bet Florida State vs. Miami (Saturday, Sept. 26) article feature image

Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: Jaylan Knighton #4 of the Miami Hurricanes.

  • Florida State vs. Miami headlines Saturday night's college football slate.
  • The Seminoles will be without head coach Mike Norvell, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier this week. Miami, meanwhile, has looked strong with a new offense and quarterback in transfer D'Eriq King.
  • Get Darin Gardner's full breakdown for Miami vs. Florida State below.

Florida State vs. Miami Odds

Florida State Odds +11 [BET NOW]
Miami Odds -11 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +310/-410 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 54 [BET NOW]
Time Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET

Odds updated as of Thursday night and via PointsBet, where you can get $250 FREE instantly after signing up AND your bets automatically sync to the Action app. Learn more about BetSync here.

Miami and Florida State renew their storied rivalry on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC. The Hurricanes lead the series 34-30 all-time and are riding a three-game win streak against the Seminoles. This year’s matchup, however, has a unique twist.

Florida State head coach Mike Norvell won’t be on the sidelines for this game after he tested positive for COVID-19. Instead, tight ends coach Chris Thomsen will take over head coaching duties, and offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham will take over play-calling duties. Thomsen previously served as Abilene Christian’s head coach from 2005 to 2011.

Has Florida State’s coaching disruption created betting value on the Hurricanes? Or, has the market overreacted to Norvell’s value to the Seminoles, thereby opening up a buyback window on Florida State?

Check out our free NCAAF odds page, which automatically surfaces the best line for every game.



The addition of transfer quarterback D’Eriq King, as well as the hire of offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, has Miami’s offense looking better than we have seen from them in a very long time. The Hurricanes offense is built on a fast pace and generating explosive plays.

The Hurricanes rank ninth in points per play and first in the nation in explosiveness. In the Louisville game alone, Miami had two 75-yard touchdowns and a 47-yard touchdown.

King is a dangerous threat as a passer, averaging 10.3 adjusted yards per attempt this season, and he possesses elite athleticism and skill as a runner. His mobility has been paramount to minimizing Miami’s biggest weakness, which is on the offensive line.

Although its offense has generated a lot of explosive plays, Miami can improve on successfully moving the ball on a per-play basis. The Canes posted a low 33% success rate in their recent win against Louisville. This offense hasn’t had much time together because of a shortened offseason, so the consistency should improve as players build more chemistry.


On the defensive side of the ball, Miami seems to be picking up where it left off after finishing ranking seventh in success rate in 2019. The Hurricanes are very strong on the defensive line, which should worry a Florida State team that has not been able to solve its own offensive line issues for several years.

Miami finished third in sack rate in 2019 and still has a very strong defensive line despite star pass-rusher Greg Rousseau opting out of the season. Replacing Rousseau is not an easy task, but Miami’s offseason moves help mitigate that major loss.

The defense brought in Quincy Roche from Temple, who finished fifth in the nation in sacks a year ago. The Hurricanes also admitted Jaelan Phillips via transfer from UCLA. Phillips was the composite top recruit in the country in 2017.

Florida State


Although Florida State has only played one game, there is still ample cause to be concerned about the Seminoles heading into this matchup. The offense struggled mightily in the team’s season-opening loss to Georgia Tech. Now, it has to contend with Miami’s stout defense without head coach Mike Norvell on the sidelines.

Granted, the team’s one-game sample size is very small. Nonetheless, quarterback James Blackman ranks 46th out of 49 qualifying QBs with a shockingly low 4.0 adjusted yards per attempt. The Seminoles had six trips inside the opposing 40-yard line against Georgia Tech, and the offense only came away with 13 points.

It goes without saying, but Miami boasts a far more intimidating defense than the Yellow Jackets. That does not bode well for Florida State.

As I alluded to earlier, the Seminoles offensive line has been a thorn in the team’s side for several consecutive seasons. Last year, this unit ranked 115th in sack rate and 112th in stuff rate. It is hard to generate an efficient offense with such poor play from the offensive line.

Florida State’s offense ranked 95th in success rate in 2019 due in large part to its ineffectiveness on the offensive line. The matchup between Miami’s defensive line and Florida State’s offensive line looks like a sizable advantage for the Hurricanes.


For a defense that is considered to have a lot of talent, the Seminoles’ defensive production has severely disappointed. Florida State’s 2019 defense ranked 83rd in success rate and 76th in Expected Points Added (EPA). It also frequently put the offense in a difficult field position battle: The ‘Noles ranked 108th in average starting field position.

Miami’s offensive line struggles are largely mitigated by King’s incredible elusiveness and vision. Still, Florida State still likely wouldn’t cause much disruption even if the Hurricanes had a statue standing in the pocket. The Seminoles ranked 77th in sack rate and 86th in stuff rate a season ago.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

With King at quarterback, Miami’s offense has gone from a liability to one of the most dangerous units in the nation. And scarier still, the Hurricanes should continue to improve on offense after being granted another week to build chemistry.

On the other side of the ball, the Hurricanes defensive line should be able to cause havoc early and often. Florida State will have to take the field without their head coach, and I have concerns with how they will look at the beginning of the game without Norvell on the sidelines.

That combination of factors leads me to Miami’s side, but I don’t love Miami’s current number. So instead, I’ll gladly take the Hurricanes to cover in the first half, because the Seminoles could really struggle in communication and game flow without their dedicated offensive play-caller and head coach.

Pick: Miami -6.5 1H (-115)

[Bet Miami to cover the first half spread now at PointsBet risk-free up to $250]

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