One of the most interesting line moves when the Golden Nugget released its college football Games of the Year was the Florida State-Virginia Tech matchup on Nov. 8, an ESPN Thursday game.
Florida State opened as a 1-point underdog but was quickly bet to -3. A few months later, the LVH SuperBook opened the Seminoles as 4.5-point favorites.
Why are the Seminoles getting so much credit in a late-season road game against a tough opponent, one that’s enjoyed the best homefield advantage in the ACC for much of the past decade? There are probably two main reasons:
- Florida State is perceived to be the superior team.
- Florida State is coming off a bye week and has four extra days to prepare.
While we can concede the first point, the second one shouldn’t carry much weight. There’s little evidence that suggests extra preparation time leads to an increased success rate, as Andy Bitter, a Virginia Tech beat writer, recently pointed out.
Bitter analyzed the Hokies’ schedule over the last 10 years and found 22 situations in which the opponent had extra time to prepare—either because of a bye week or a scheduling quirk.
- Record against teams with extra time: 18-4 (.818).
- Record in every other game: 102-33 (.756).
So, Virginia Tech has actually fared better against teams with extra time to prepare than it has otherwise, and the more days an opponent has, the better the Hokies have performed.
- vs. opponents with 7 days rest: 7-0
- vs. opponents with 5 days rest: 4-1
- vs. opponents with 1-4 days rest: 7-3
Florida State is a strong team that can certainly beat Virginia Tech in a game that’s expected to have major ACC implications. But if the motivation behind the line move had anything to do with scheduling, it’s probably an overreaction.
Early lean: Virginia Tech +4.5.