Oklahoma Sooners vs. Florida State Seminoles: ESPN College GameDay Betting Guide

Jeff Grant@@JeffGrantSportsContributor ISeptember 15, 2011

Oklahoma Sooners vs. Florida State Seminoles: ESPN College GameDay Betting Guide

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    The No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners (1-0) and No. 5 Florida State Seminoles (2-0) will square off Saturday night in front of a sold out crowd inside Doak Campbell Stadium.

    Kickoff from Tallahassee, FL, is scheduled for 8:00 ET and will be nationally-televised on ABC.  It's also serving as the site of ESPN College GameDay for the seventh time.

    The betting odds currently have Oklahoma listed as three-point road favorites and the total stands at 55. 

    Let's take a closer look at this prime-time matchup from a betting perspective—before play-by-play broadcaster Brent Musberger tells you who he wagered on during the telecast.

Home-Field Advantage

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    Florida State can only hope that its most famous co-ed decides to make an appearance at Doak Campbell Stadium Saturday night.

    Brent Musburger knows of Jenn Sterger, discovering her during a Miami-Florida State telecast.

    Student tickets for this contest were gone in less than a half hour and the team put on a show the last time the venue was sold out.

    The Seminoles tallied a 31-7 blowout win over the Florida Gators as 2.5-point home favorites in that contest.

    All of us will be watching for numerous reasons, and Sterger may lead the program to its fifth against-the-spread win in six tries as a home underdog.

The Perfect Line

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    The Oklahoma Sooners were seven-point favorites in last year's 47-17 win in this series, which signals to me that the linesmaker didn't play around with setting the odds in this matchup.

    Generally, playing at home in a major college football setting is likely to garner the host at least a three-to-four point advantage, which is exactly what has been built into this line.

    Don't over think it—the winner of this game is going to cover the spread.

    The Sooners 1-5 ATS mark as a road favorite leaves a lot to be desired, but the Seminoles are 4-9 ATS at home the past two-plus seasons.

Bob Stoops Following Bye Weeks

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    Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops has led the program to a 13-3 mark following regular-season bye weeks, while the school is 2-2 ATS in this situation the last two years.

    Florida State has essentially had two weeks off due to its competition, but still had to play in two games leading up to this contest.

    The Seminoles may fall by the way side with their 3-6 ATS mark after two or more consecutive wins.

Jimbo Fisher's First Game as a Home Underdog

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    Florida State second-year head coach Jimbo Fisher has compiled an 8-1 home record during his brief tenure. 

    He suffered a 37-35 loss to the North Carolina Tar Heels as 10.5-point favorites on Nov. 6, 2010, his only blemish.

    Head coaches have a distinct motivational edge in bringing in a squad that is listed as a home underdog for such a prime-time contest. 

    It's a sense of disrespect that will get his team's attention in practice leading up to the game.

Landry Jones, Oklahoma QB

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    Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones was sensational in last year's meeting, connecting on 30 of 40 passes for 380 yards and four touchdowns.

    There's no question that he'll be targeting All-American wide receiver Ryan Broyles, as he grabbed 12 passes for 124 yards against the Seminoles.

    Professional bettors are still wary of his numbers on the road last year, as he threw 13 touchdowns versus eight interceptions.

    It's no secret that he failed to deliver as road favorites against Missouri (27-36) and Texas A&M (19-33) last year.

    The Heisman Trophy candidate needs a big-time performance away from Norman to start being mentioned amongst the program's best signal-callers.

Florida State Running Game

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    Plenty of attention in the telecast is going to be placed squarely on Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel, but fans know that the team's running game is going to determine the outcome.

    Jimbo Fisher arrived on campus in 2007, serving as the program's offensive coordinator until legendary head coach Bobby Bowden stepped aside.

    Over the last four-plus seasons, the Seminoles have captured seven wins over ranked opponents, rushing for more than 170 yards in the last four.

    Manuel simply needs to manage the game and stay away from mistakes.

    Florida State ran for 218 yards in its 26-17 win over South Carolina in last year's bowl appearance as two-point neutral-site underdogs.

Oklahoma as Top-Ranked Team

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    Oklahoma knows how to play as the top-ranked team nationally, as the program has spent at least a week in that position in five different seasons under Bob Stoops.

    Losing during the opening month of the season as the nation's No. 1 team doesn't happen—the Sooners are 18-1 when assuming that role in September contests.

    Fans that make the trip from Norman to the Sunshine State will also take comfort in the team's 27-17-1 all-time record when participating in a Top Five matchup.

    The Sooners are also 14-9 ATS when the line is located between a field goal on either side, which signifies that it shows up when playing opponents that are considered in the same class by the oddsmakers.


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    I'm playing the Oklahoma Sooners as three-point road favorites in this contest, as I'm not going to fall into the trap of playing the Florida State Seminoles as a home underdog.

    Jimbo Fisher is doing a masterful job of resurrecting one of the biggest institutions in college football, but Bob Stoops is on a mission this year.

    Picking up an easy win in the opener and then getting a chance to tighten things up during the bye week will be the difference.