Louisville vs Florida State Pick, Odds: Bet Saturday’s Short Underdog
Justin Casterline/Getty Images. Pictured: Louisville’s Jawhar Jordan (left) and Ahmari Huggins-Bruce (right).
Louisville vs Florida State Odds
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Louisville and Florida State meet in the ACC Championship game on Saturday with the Seminoles likely just one win away from a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Louisville laid an egg in its rivalry game against Kentucky last weekend, blowing a 10-point lead in the second half to lose, 38-31.
That loss ended all hopes of potentially sneaking into the playoff, but winning the ACC in Jeff Brohm's first season as head coach would still be a massive accomplishment.
Florida State survived against Florida last week, 24-15, but it was a pretty poor showing offensively with backup quarterback Tate Rodemaker running the show for the injured Jordan Travis.
There's a lot of conversation swirling as to whether or not Florida State deserves to be in the playoff with Travis sidelined, but the truth is the committee is unlikely to deny the Seminoles a spot if they beat Louisville on Saturday.
So, where does the betting value lie here? Let's dive in.
Brohm's offense has been outstanding this season with Jack Plummer at quarterback.
The Cardinals rank 11th in Passing Success Rate because of how good Plummer is in the short passing game. Mike Leach always said that the point of an Air Raid offense is to use those short and horizontal passes as an extension of the rushing attack. If teams can consistently hit receivers for 5-6 yards at an incredibly high percentage, there's less of a need for a consistent ground game.
Louisville is no different. Close to 70% of Plummer's pass attempts this season have gone less than 10 yards in the air, and he an adjusted completion percentage of nearly 90% on those throws.
Consistently using those short passes brings the secondary further up on the receiver so the offense can eventually hit the defense over the top, which is something Plummer is excellent at. On throws over 10 yards in the air, he's averaging 12.2 yards per attempt and has a PFF passing grade of 90.6.
However, Brohm's "Air Raid" is a tad different at Louisville because the Cardinals are running the ball on 56.7% of their offensive plays with the elite running back combination of Jawhar Jordan and Isaac Guerendo.
Both backs are averaging over six yards per carry, helping Louisville to a top-20 mark in Rushing Success Rate.
45-YARDS TO THE HOUSE!@JaJo_25 😤
— Louisville Football (@LouisvilleFB) October 8, 2023
Louisville's defense doesn't really have any weaknesses. Kentucky threw the ball on the Cardinals last weekend, but a lot of those passes were incredible throws from Devin Leary that Rodemaker or Brock Glenn is unlikely to make.
For the season, Louisville is allowing only 5.2 yards per play while ranking 14th in Success Rate Allowed. The Cardinals are outstanding against both the run and the pass, sitting inside the top 20 in both EPA/Pass and EPA/Rush Allowed.
The biggest thing for Louisville in this game is that it has to defend better in its own territory. The Cardinals rank 83rd in Finishing Drives Allowed, but things will be a bit easier facing someone other than Travis.
We got our first glimpse of what Florida State would look like without Travis, and it didn't look very good. The Seminoles averaged just 3.9 yards per play against Florida and couldn't run the ball against the Gators' front seven.
Before his start Saturday, Rodemaker had started only one game in his time at Florida State (against Jacksonville State in 2020), and his performance showed why he was a backup for so long. Rodemaker went 12-for-25 for 134 yards with no touchdowns. He had a 68.0 PFF passing grade with a -1.49 EPA on his 25 pass attempts.
Rodemaker took a huge hit in the game against Florida, and even though he came back into the game, his status for Saturday is now a "game-time decision," according to Action Network's Brett McMurphy.
Florida State QB Tate Rodemaker is “game-time decision” for Saturday’s ACC title game w/Louisville, FSU spokesperson told @ActionNetworkHQ. “We are working through the process w/Tate & we’ll see what that means for (Saturday).” Rodemaker, back-up to injured starter Jordan Travis,…
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) December 1, 2023
If Rodemaker is unable to go, then Florida State has to turn to freshman Brock Glenn, who has only taken a handful of snaps this season.
Outside of the quarterback situation, perhaps the most concerning sign for Florida State was its poor performance on the ground. Sure, Trey Benson had three touchdowns on the ground, but the Seminoles averaged only 2.9 yards per carry.
That's a big problem because they really haven't run the ball effectively at all this season. The Seminoles sit outside the top 50 in Rushing Success Rate, Offensive Line Yards and EPA/Rush.
They're basically relying on big plays on the ground to get by, which worked when Travis could bail them out with his arm. But without Travis' playmaking ability, the Noles could have real problems against Louisville.
On the other side, Florida State's defense has been elite this season, especially against the pass, which is big in this game. The Seminoles come in at seventh in Passing Success Rate Allowed and first in passing explosiveness allowed.
Not only do they have fantastic players in the secondary, but they've been an elite team at putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, owning a top-10 pressure rate in the country.
However, teams have been able to run on Florida State's front seven. The Seminoles have faced a lot of bad rushing attacks, so their numbers are a tad inflated, but Duke — the last good rushing team they faced — ran wild for 5.6 yards per carry.
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Louisville and Florida State match up statistically:
Louisville Offense vs Florida State Defense
Florida State Offense vs Louisville Defense
Pace of Play / Other
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The pressure is all on Florida State in this game, but with Rodemaker or Glenn under center, it's pretty clear that its once-dynamic passing attack is very limited. That's a really big problem considering FSU hasn't run the ball effectively this season.
Going up against a defense that's top-20 against both the pass and the run makes it hard for me to see how the Seminoles are going to move the ball effectively in this game.
Plummer has been an effective passer for the Cardinals this season, but they're going up against one of the best secondaries in the country in this one. The good news is Jordan and Guerendo have been very effective on the ground this season.
Plus, teams have proven it's possible to run all over Florida State, which gives Louisville a good matchup offensively.
Not to mention, Brohm has profiled well as an underdog throughout his career.
With a limited Florida State offense, it's hard to see the Seminoles covering as a favorite in this game, so I like the value on Louisville +2.5.