We’ve covered how Jameis Winston’s have-fun-explaining-this-one-to-your-grandmother half-game suspension affects Saturday night’s tilt between No. 1 Florida State and No. 22 Clemson on the field, and how it alters his chase for a second Heisman Trophy. Now it’s time for the important stuff: how does this affect the line?
According to TomahawkNation.com proprietor/SB Nation gambling expert Bud Elliott: not that much. The defending champion ‘Noles are still favorites, just not quite as heavy as before.
How many points does Vegas think Jameis Winston is worth? 8, it seems, because line went down by 4 for missing a half. #FSU favored by 16
— TomahawkNation.com (@TomahawkNation) September 17, 2014
After hovering around three touchdowns before Wednesday morning’s news, Florida State is a consensus 16.5 or 17-point favorite. With an over/under at 60.5 points, Las Vegas expects a Florida State win hovering somewhere in the neighborhood of 38-21.
Oddly enough, this game has a very recent doppleganger. A year ago, the reigning Heisman winner was suspended for one half, and replaced by a little-used back-up. Back then, Matt Joeckel completed 14-of-19 passes for 190 yards and a touchdown in leading No. 7 Texas A&M to a 28-21 halftime lead over visiting and future Conference USA champion Rice. Johnny Manziel came on in relief, threw for 94 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for another 19 yards, leading the Aggies to a 52-31 win. The spread was 28. Make of that what you will.
Florida State has beaten Clemson in two straight games, rallying from a 31-21 third quarter deficit to score four unanswered touchdowns in route to a 49-37 win on Sept. 22, 2012, and absolutely ripping the Tigers for a 51-14 final on Oct. 19, 2013. Both times, Clemson was undefeated and ranked in the top 10 nationally. This time around, Clemson is hanging on to its Top 25 status after falling 45-21 to then-No. 12 Georgia on Aug. 30.
While Brent Venables and the Clemson defense figure to throw the book (and everything else they can grab) at backup-turned-emergency-starter Sean Maguire and his 26 career passes, the Florida State defense is still intact and facing the nation’s No. 66 rated passer, Cole Stoudt (and freshman phenom Deshaun Watson, whenever Dabo Swinney and Chad Morris decide to play him.)