Florida State at Miami-Fla

FLORIDA STATE FACES TOUGHEST TEST IN QUALIFYING RUN FOR THE FINAL FOUR

Even though the mainstream media is hyping Mississippi State/Alabama as the game of the day (previewed yesterday here in the NOTEBOOK), it’s actually Saturday Night’s Florida State/Miami game on ABC that has the tighter pointspread...and has the greater chance of inflicting an earth-shattering result on the final brackets.

Florida State’s strength of schedule is so soft compared to other contenders...that they might not make into the brackets as a one-loss team. They would surely drop behind TCU given the caliber of TCU’s loss and a few of their wins. And, there’s nobody left on Florida State’s schedule that’s going to boost them into more respected levels. THIS could be the game that opens the door for a bubble hopeful.

On the other hand, if FSU wins convincingly...then they’re likely to win everything else on the card and coast into the Final Four. It may not matter that this year’s team is nowhere near as good as last year’s team. Hey, last year’s team was favored by three touchdowns instead of three points!

Let’s see what JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats have to say about this one. Miami’s been playing very well of late...and just might have what it takes to score a shocker.

Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)
Florida State: 9-0 (#51 schedule in USA Today)
Miami: 6-3 (#25 schedule in USA Today)

Miami’s played the better schedule, and is better “now” than that 6-3 record would indicate. The Hurricanes’ last three outings all beat the Vegas spread handily.

Miami (-16) beat Cincinnati 55-34 (41-13 entering fourth quarter)
Miami (-3) won at Virginia Tech 30-6
Miami (-16.5) beat North Carolina 47-20

Young quarterback has come along very well as a true freshman. You may have noticed that sharps have been betting Miami aggressively in recent weeks (true in both college and pro football!). Miami may not be ranked in the committee’s top 25. And, they’re only in the mid 30’s in the AP poll if you count the additional teams getting votes. The betting markets have them as a top 15 team right now for all practical purposes.

Yards-Per-Play
Florida State: 6.4 on offense, 5.2 on defense
Miami: 7.0 on offense, 4.4 on defense

And now you see why! Miami is +2.6 in YPP differential against a tougher schedule than FSU has faced. And, FSU is only at +1.2. Now, Miami does have a tendency to run up the stats on lesser teams in a way that may not matter here. And, that stellar defensive mark has a little bit of smoke and mirrors to it. We’re not going to sit here and tell you that Miami is THAT much BETTER than Florida State. You need to know that the Hurricanes do grade out very well from a stat perspective as you study all the angles.

Turnover Differential
Florida State: -1
Miami: +2

Nothing special to report here. And, that’s actually a negative for both teams. Usually college elites do have something special to report in Turnover Differential because their defenses force mistakes and their offenses play relatively clean. Neither team is elite in this regard. That could loom very large in about six weeks if Florida State does play unscathed into the brackets.

Market Performance
Florida State: 2-7 ATS
Miami: 5-4 ATS

The Seminoles have been extremely overrated this season. They were priced like champions for weeks even though they weren’t playing that well. Miami’s recent rally has turned a disappointing 2-4 ATS start into a money-maker. Their 6’4” kid quarterback was overrated at first. But, he found his bearings quickly and has more than lived up to recent projections.

Current Line: Florida State by 2.5

There’s the number. Only -2.5! Florida State wasn’t supposed to have any games on the schedule like this all season. Remember when every game in the second half of the season was going to be a cakewalk? Notre Dame outgained them badly but couldn’t seal the deal. Clemson had an early-season chance to face a backup quarterback but blew the endgame. It’s up to the Miami Hurricanes to blow FSU off course.

What’s the right way to play this one? It’s telling that sharps didn’t drive the line up to -3...at least not as of the time we were preparing these notes for you. That means sharps like Miami (many of who are betting them to win straight up on the moneyline). But, it’s not like sharps have been foolproof this season, particularly in high profile games (they drove Oklahoma from -4 to -6 over Baylor before the Sooners got stomped!).

JIM HURLEY made his name by beating game-day lines for clients who needed a winner. Hook up with Hurley today for the BEST BETS on the board. Florida State/Miami could well be part of the package. Though, NETWORK never forces a TV game if it doesn’t deserve to be played. The final word for Saturday can be purchased here at the website with your credit card in the hours leading up to first kick. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453 Saturday morning.

It’s back to the NFL tomorrow here in the NOTEBOOK for the much-anticipated New England/Indianapolis showdown. Then will ring in the new college basketball season with a fantastic TV twinbill...

Sunday: NFL Preview...New England at Indianapolis on NBC
Monday: NFL Preview...Pittsburgh at Tennessee on ESPN
Tuesday: College Hoops Doubleheader...Michigan State/Duke and Kentucky/Kansas!

A blockbuster weekend awaits. Be sure you get all the BIG, JUICY WINNERS from JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!

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