College Football Playoffs Betting Preview: #3 Florida State Seminoles vs #2 Oregon Ducks

2015 College Football Playoff – Semifinal
Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual

#3 Florida State Seminoles vs #2 Oregon Ducks
Thursday, January 1, 2015, 5:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Oregon -8 (-109)
Current Line: Oregon -7 1/2
Opening Total: 71
Current Total: 71 1/2
Opening Money Line: Oregon -325 / Florida State +265
Current Money Line: Oregon -305 / Florida State +250

Oregon is an 8 point favorite against Florida State in the college football playoff game in the Rose Bowl.
Oregon is an 7.5 point favorite against Florida State in the college football playoff game in the Rose Bowl.

College football fans have waited for decades for a playoff system. Now the long wait is finally over and you really can’t ask for a better way to kick off the semifinals than the #2 Oregon Ducks taking on the #3 Florida State Seminoles in the Rose Bowl. You have the defending national champion Seminoles who are 13-0 and have won 29 straight games against the 12-1 Ducks who are looking to break through for their first national title. Throw in the fact that the two quarterbacks are the last two Heisman Trophy winners in FSU’s Jameis Winston and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and you have the makings of a great game with a lot of story lines. The winner will play either Alabama or Ohio State in the championship game January 12.  This is the first meeting between Oregon and Florida State.

Oregon went 8-1 in the Pac 12 North and beat Arizona 51-13 in the Pac 12 Championship game. Florida State was 8-0 in the ACC Atlantic Division and beat Georgia Tech 37-35 in the ACC Championship game.

Florida State is 26-14-2 all-time in bowl games. The Seminoles are playing in a bowl for the 35th straight season, the longest current streak in FBS. FSU has won six straight bowl games including 34-31 over Auburn in the BCS Championship game last season. The Seminoles are playing in Pasadena for the second straight post-season and had never played in the Rose Bowl game before then.

Oregon is 12-15 all-time in bowl games. The Ducks are playing in a bowl for the tenth straight season. Oregon has won 3 straight bowl games including 30-7 over Texas last season in the Alamo Bowl. Oregon is 2-4 all-time in the Rose Bowl.

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Florida State is coached by Jimbo Fisher. The Seminoles have a neutral site win over Oklahoma State 37-31 in Arlington, Texas, home wins over the Citadel 37-12, Clemson 23-17 in overtime, Wake Forest 43-3, Notre Dame 31-27, Virginia 34-20, Boston College 20-17 and Florida 24-19. FSU also has road wins at North Carolina State 56-41, Syracuse 38-20, Louisville 42-31 and Miami 30-26 . Florida State is 3-10 ATS and the total is 5-8 this season. The Seminoles were 3.5 point favorites against Georgia Tech and the total was 64. While Florida State won every game last year up until the championship game by double digits, the Seminoles have seven wins this season by a single possession including 4 straight.

Oregon is coached by Mark Helfrich. The Ducks have home wins over South Dakota 62-13, Michigan State 46-27, Wyoming 48-14, Washington 45-20, Stanford 45-16 and Colorado 44-10. Oregon has road wins at Washington State 38-31, at UCLA 42-30, at California 59-41, Utah 51-27, and at Oregon State 47-19. The Ducks were 14.5 point favorites against Arizona and the total was 72.5. Oregon is 9-4 ATS and the total is 6-6-1 this season.

Florida State is outscoring teams 35-23 this season. FSU is #28 in scoring and #30 in points allowed nationally. The Seminoles are averaging 435 yards per game on offense including 300 passing and 135 rushing yards per game. Florida State is #14 in passing offense nationally, but #104 in rushing. The Seminoles are #42 in total offense. FSU is allowing 378 yards per game on defense including 218 passing and 160 rushing yards per game. The Seminoles are -3 in turnovers with 24 takeaways. Florida State averages 48 penalty yards per game and opponents average 49. The Seminoles are 74/163 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 92/221. FSU has forced 17 sacks and allowed 21 this season. The Seminoles are 50/54 scoring in the red zone with 33 touchdowns and opponents are 35/48 with 25 touchdowns. FSU has 2 pick sixes and a fumble return for a touchdown this season.

FSU quarterback Jameis Winston,  the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner, has completed 65.4% of his passes for 3,559 yards with 24 touchdowns and 17 interceptions, plus 3 rushing touchdowns. Sean Maguire filled in for a suspended Winston against Clemson. He threw for over 300 yards with a touchdown and 2 interceptions.

Running back Dalvin Cook has 155 carries for 905 yards and 8 touchdowns, plus 19 catches for 179 yards.  Karlos Williams has 138 carries  for 608 yards and 10 touchdowns, plus 24 catches for 206 yards and a touchdown. He is questionable with a concussion. Mario Pender has 39 carries for 201 yards and 4 touchdowns, plus 10 catches for 56 yards and a touchdown. Receiver Rashad Greene has 93 catches for 1,306 yards and 7 touchdowns. Tight end Nick O’Leary has 47 catches for 614 yards and 6 touchdowns. Jesus Wilson has 37 catches for 455 yards and 4 touchdowns. Travis Rudolph has 32 catches for 459 yards and 3 touchdowns. Six defensive players are questionable or out for the Seminoles.

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Oregon is outscoring teams 46-23 this season. Oregon is #3 nationally in scoring and #29 in points allowed. The Ducks average 546 yards per game including 308 passing and 237 rushing yards. Oregon is #3 in total offense and #11 in passing. Even the rushing attack is #21 in the country. Oregon is allowing 414 yards per game on defense, including 260 passing and 154 rushing yards. Oregon is #105 in pass defense and #83 in total defense out of 128 teams. The Ducks are +17 in turnovers for the season with 25 takeaways. Oregon is 105/198 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 104/245. The Ducks have forced 34 sacks and allowed 29. Oregon is 62/72 scoring in the red zone with 48 touchdowns, and opponents are 41/49 with 30 touchdowns. The Ducks are averaging 73 penalty yards per game, and opponents are averaging 56. Oregon has 2 punt returns for touchdowns and a fumble return for a touchdown.

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota won the Heisman Trophy last month. Mariota has completed 68.3% of his passes for 3,783 yards with 38 touchdowns and 2 interception, and has rushed for 669 yards on 117 carries with 14 touchdowns. He set the Pac 12 record for total touchdowns.

Running back Royce Freeman has 230 carries for 1,299 yards and 16 touchdowns, along with 14 catches for 149 yards and a touchdown. Byron Marshall has 50 carries for 383 yards and a touchdown, and 61 catches for 814 yards and 5 touchdowns. Thomas Tyner has 88 carries for 387 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 9 catches and a touchdown. He is questionable with an ankle injury.

Receiver Devon Allen has 41 catches for 684 yards and 7 touchdowns. Dwayne Stanford has 37 catches for 557 yards and 6 touchdowns. He is probable for undisclosed reasons.  Keanon Lowe has 25 catches for 394 yards and 4 touchdowns. Charles Nelson has only 17 catches but 5 touchdowns. Tight end Pharaoh Brown has 25 catches for 420 yards and 6 touchdowns. He is out for the season with a leg injury. Receiver Bralon Addison is out for the season with a knee injury.

Florida State is 8-1-1 ATS in bowl games, 4-1 in January, 12-5-1 in neutral site games, 2-5 after gaining more than 450 total yards, 2-6 against teams with winning records, 1-4 after a straight up win and overall, 1-5 on grass, 1-9 after allowing more than 450 total yards, 0-5 in non-conference games, after allowing 200 rushing yards or more, after passing for more than 280 yards and after allowing less than 170 passing yards.

Oregon is 8-0 ATS in neutral site games, 5-0 after passing for 280 yards or more, and after a straight up win of more than 20 points, 4-0 in neutral site games, 20-6 after scoring more than 40 points, 21-7 after a straight up win, 6-2 in non-conference games, 19-7-1 after a cover, 19-7 against teams with winning records, and on grass, 5-2 in bowl games, 36-16-1 after allowing less than 20 points, and 42-20-3 after rushing for more than 200 yards.

Winning so many close games has made Florida State a tougher team, but the Seminoles can’t keep living on the edge like that. They will eventually lose one of those games. I don’t think FSU has faced a team this season with the team speed of Oregon. I like the Ducks to win but FSU keeps it close in a high scoring affair.

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