Of any matchup heading into championship week in college football, there may be no tougher NCAAF lines to evaluate than the ACC Championship Game. On paper, a matchup between the No. 14 Louisville Cardinals and undefeated No. 4 Florida State Seminoles should give at least a decent edge to the team that navigated the season with a perfect mark of 12-0.
But for the Seminoles, losing quarterback Jordan Travis to a leg injury that required surgery has left many question marks surrounding the team’s outlook and how their path to a national title could look.
With a win, the Seminoles are likely bound for the College Football Playoff, but the Cardinals have played the role of spoiler all season, and impressed en route to a 10-2 record with one conference loss.
Backup quarterback Tate Rodemaker took over for Travis following his scary injury against North Alabama, and had a solid showing, completing 13-of-23 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns.
Florida State’s 24-15 victory over Florida came largely on the back of an impressive defensive performance and running back Trey Benson finding the end zone three times while tallying 95 rushing yards.
Will Louisville’s Offensive Upside Make a Prime Upset Spot?
While Florida State’s defense impressed against the sub-.500 Gators, they’ll face a major test against this Louisville team, which boasts a few elite playmakers offensively. The Cardinals averaged 33 points per game along with 438.6 yards and a stellar 183.5 yards on the ground.
Running back Jawhar Jordan finished the regular season with 1,076 yards and 13 touchdowns while averaging 6.4 yards per attempt. Backup running back Isaac Guerendo was superb as well, tallying 639 rushing yards and eight scores while averaging 6.1 yards per attempt.
Louisville’s solid passing attack did more than its part to open up running lanes, as quarterback Jack Plummer threw for nearly 3,000 yards with 21 touchdowns and 9 different players (including an offensive lineman) caught a touchdown pass.
Wide receiver Jamari Thrash is the name to watch here. While Thrash had a few quiet games down the stretch, he totaled 801 yards and six touchdowns and showed superb upside at numerous points throughout the year.
Louisville’s offense is the talking point, but their defense is also in a great position to pull off the upset, which we’ll discuss in more detail below.
Louisville vs Florida State Best Bet
Florida State has everything to play for here, and that’s a strong angle to bet against. A shot to compete for the national title is on the line for the Seminoles, but this matchup is far less than ideal. Louisville’s allowed less than 100 yards rushing per game (96.8), and the Seminoles are likely going to need to rely on the ground game to win here.
Rodemaker remains a bit of an unknown, and he attempted 25 passes while completing 12 for 134 yards against the Gators. If he can make a few plays to open up the field for the running game, it’ll pay dividends for the Seminoles.
But if Rodemaker is unable to impact this game, it’s hard not to like Louisville as potentially a top upset pick and one of the best college football bets for today. Playing the “what if” game is never fun, but there typically aren’t as many question marks in championship games as there will be in this one.
While I can absolutely see an outcome where Florida State steps up in a big way to fill the void following the injury to Travis, I think this game will wind up being a close one. I’m going to take Louisville and buy half a point to get the Cardinals at +3. If Florida State wins, it won’t be by a wide margin, and Louisville has the weapons on both sides of the ball to pull off an upset.
College football Pick: Louisville Cardinals +3 (-120)
Appealing Teaser Spot when Louisville and Florida State Square Off
The current over/under is set at 48½ and while I do like the under here. There’s a more appealing way to get this number a bit higher while adding some protection to the Louisville side of the bet.
I think teasing this by 7½ points and dealing with the juice is a smart play. It moves Louisville to +10 and moves the over/under to 56, setting up a solid under play. The Louisville offense can put up points in a hurry, but I do expect the Florida State defense to make life tough for the Cardinals and think this will be a lower-scoring game.
College football Pick: 7½-point teaser on Louisville +10 and under 56 (-138)
Predicted score: Louisville Cardinals 24, Florida State Seminoles 21
Louisville vs Florida State Betting Lines
Louisville vs Florida State Game Information
- Game: Louisville (10-2, 7-1) vs Florida State (12-0, 8-0)
- Date/Time: Dec. 2, 8 p.m. ET
- Location: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
- Louisville vs Florida State Live Stream: ESPN
Questions Of The Day
Which player in the ACC Championship Game do you think is poised to score the most touchdowns?
While the Florida State defense has been strong this season, they’ve allowed 140.2 rushing yards per game, and Louisville RB Jawhar Jordan has proven capable of having an incredible high ceiling.
Which team in the ACC Championship Game has the best opportunity to win this game?
This matchup sets up well for Louisville in a spot where the Seminoles can’t consistently make plays through the air due to the loss of Jordan Travis.