Florida State-Virginia Tech Betting Guide: Will Noles’ Tempo Be the Difference?

Florida State-Virginia Tech Betting Guide: Will Noles’ Tempo Be the Difference? article feature image

Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Willie Taggart

Virginia Tech at Florida State

  • Betting odds: Florida State -7
  • Over/under: 55
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

Market Moves

By PJ Walsh

Florida State opened as a 6.5-point favorite, and the line moved up to -7 and even 7.5 at a handful of books, including Pinnacle, before ticking back down.

With no real sharp money to speak of, bettors should shop for the best line no matter which side they like, especially when it involves getting on and off the key number of seven.

The over/under has attracted two-way professional action, with early money pushing the total from 52 up to 58 before under buyback showed up over the past week, dropping the number back down to 55.

>> All odds as of 7 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and track your bets.

Metrics to Know

Florida State ranked 127th of 130 FBS teams in adjusted pace last year. New Seminoles coach Willie Taggart’s Oregon team ranked No. 8.

Florida State ranked fifth in special teams S&P+ in 2014, first in 2015 and eighth in 2017. Virginia Tech ranked 31st last season, but must replace its kicker and two excellent return men.

Trends to Know

By John Ewing

Since becoming a head coach in 2010, Willie Taggart is the most profitable regular-season coach in college football, going 59-36-1 (62%) against the spread for +19.95 units.

However, he has disappointed when bettors expect his teams to cover. When the line moves a half point or more in Taggart’s direction, his teams are 23-22-1 ATS.

Florida State has moved from -5.5 to -7 against Virginia Tech.

By Evan Abrams

In May, Florida State opened as a 5-point favorite at home against Virginia Tech. Almost four months later, the Seminoles are 7-point favorites.

In the last four seasons, home conference favorites of a touchdown or more are covering just 45.8% of games, losing bettors at least 10 units in each of the last four years (-85.2 units in total).

Since 2009, when a team plays a conference home game as a touchdown favorite in prime time (7 p.m. or later) on a non-Saturday, those teams are 59-94-3 ATS (38.6%), losing bettors 38.5 units. Stand-alone games can often create contrarian value on the underdogs.

When two Power Five teams meet under these conditions, the home team is 10-25 ATS (28.6%), failing to cover the spread by more than five points per game.

Bet to Watch

By Ken Barkley

Attrition and change are important factors in this game. Returning production, returning coaches and returning coordinators can generally mean cohesion early in a season, whereas teams that don’t return a lot, on the field or the sideline, can struggle (just look at Colorado State).

Florida State has a new coaching staff, and lost multiple defensive stars early to the NFL. Virginia Tech lost several players to the NFL, then kept losing more, for a variety of reasons — injury, eligibility or just leaving the program.

The difference is Florida State is much more equipped to reload and it recruits at a level far superior to that of the Hokies.

The key to this game is Florida State’s massive improvement in tempo, and how a very inexperienced Virginia Tech defense adapts to that style. The Hokies will have just four returning starters, and two more projected starters before the year are not on the roster.

Virginia Tech’s Bud Foster is a legend, but his co-defensive coordinator was forced to resign due to off-the-field concerns. The Hokies are less equipped in all areas.

I could see a lot of problems, especially early, with the sheer speed of how quickly the Seminoles want to run, and I think this is basically the worst type of team Foster could draw early on when roles are trying to be established.

Less ink will be spent here on the reverse matchup. Suffice it to say the talent cupboard is still very full for Florida State, and it should be able to handle a Hokie offense that ranked 96th in S&P+ last year.

I like Florida State a lot in this game, and there are 7s to be had. I will actively be looking for one of those.