The Florida State Seminoles pulled off a tough trick last year, rampaging to a national championship and making a bunch of money along the way, going 11-2 against the spread despite battling some huge point spreads.
The 'Noles begin defense of their title when they take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys on a (supposedly) neutral field in Arlington on Saturday night.
Point spread: Seminoles opened as 17.5-point favorites; the total was 63 at AT&T Stadium, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)
Odds Shark computer prediction: 65.3-44.9 Seminoles (we see the computer projection here as extremely high)
Why the Florida State Seminoles can cover the spread
The Seminoles come back this year with 13 returning starters, two more than they had heading into last season. Seven starters return on offense, including Heisman-winning QB Jameis Winston, 1,000-yard receiver Rashad Greene and four along the offensive line. Six are also back on a defense that held foes to 12 points per game last year. Winston was able to play through distractions last season to complete 67 percent of his throws for 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns as a redshirt freshman.
If healthy, and behaving himself, he might only get better. This is essentially a road game for FSU, and the Cowboys have been lame as home underdogs lately.
Why the Oklahoma State Cowboys can cover the spread
The Cowboys only return eight starters from a team that almost won the Big 12 last year, but at least a couple of key cogs are in place. Quarterback J.W. Walsh completed 60 percent of 190 passes last year as a redshirt freshman, and RB Desmond Roland averaged almost five yards per carry while scoring 16 touchdowns. Oklahoma State was only dogged on the betting line once last year, and it upset the hell out of Baylor in that instance.
And over the last three seasons, the Cowboys are 4-2 ATS as underdogs. Also, most of the crowd should be on OSU's side Saturday night considering the game is being played about an afternoon's drive south of Stillwater.
Florida State is the preseason No. 1 in every poll, and for good reason. The 'Noles outscored foes last year by a 52-12 per-game average, and they could post similar numbers this year. Winston is great, the offensive line is one of the best in the country and the talent is on hand to fill holes on defense. Oklahoma State, meanwhile, is probably heading into a rebuilding year, with seven new starters to be found on both sides of the ball.
Florida State was favored by 17 points or more 10 times last year; it went 8-1-1 ATS in those contests. If the Seminoles can hold the Cowboys to 17 points, they'll have an excellent chance to cover this spread.
Seminoles vs. Cowboys Trends
- Cowboys 1-6 ATS past seven as home underdog
- OVER is 13-2 past 15 Oklahoma State games in September
Note: All point spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark, all quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted—check out Twitter for injury updates and line move updates and get the free odds tracker app.