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Oddsmakers: Eagles vs. 'Noles and the Division Race

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To preview this weekend's big Atlantic Division matchup between the Eagles and the Seminoles, and handicap the Atlantic Division race, we play a game of oddsmakers.

Odds BC scores a non-offensive touchdown for the 5th straight game
Brian: The last three games we have had a 13 yard fumble recovery by Akins, a blocked punt returned 25 yards by Rollins, and a 76 yard interception return by Anderson. Can we keep the defense scoring against the 'Noles? Well, while BC has scored a non-offensive touchdown in its last 3 games, Florida State's offense hasn't surrender points to either the opposing defense or on special teams in its last four games. And while Florida State quarterbacks struggled mightily through the Wake Forest game, starter Christian Ponder has settled down, only throwing 2 INTs in his last 4 games. The Eagles are tied for 3rd in the country with 26 takeaways, including 18 interceptions, but it is very difficult to predict whether the defense can turn takeaways into points. I'll go fairly low on this one and say 33% chance either special teams or the defense end up reaching paydirt Saturday.

Jeff: You forgot Gunnell's punt return for a touchdown in the Virginia Tech game and Mark Herzlich's interception returned for a touchdown in the Rhode Island game. That makes BC scoring a non-offensive touchdown in 55.6% of its games so that will be my answer. There is a better than 50% chance that the Eagles keep the streak alive Saturday against FSU.

Odds BC makes a field goal against the 'Noles
Jeff: Oh I hope the answer to this is 0%. I hope Jags never sends the field goal unit out there on Saturday except if time is expiring at the end of the first half and we have the ball in Florida State territory. Also, if we are tied at the end of regulation I wouldn't mind attempting a field goal. Unfortunately though, after Aponavicius missed the first field goal on Saturday against Notre Dame, Jags sent him back out there two more times so it seems as though Jags is set on attempting these field goals against my wishes. So on Saturday I imagine there will be one or two field goal attempts but the chances of BC making one out of only one or two attempts on the road in prime time I'm going to say are slim. 20%.

Brian: What is Aponavicius's season field goal percentage? 53.3% What are the chances Aponavicius doesn't see the field this weekend in field goal kicking situations? Fairly good, I'd imagine. What is Ryan Quigley's season field goal percentage? 0%. What does this all add up to? I have no idea. Florida State's defense is one of the better defenses we'll face in the conference this year, so drives very well may stall in Seminole territory (and our field goal kickers' range). In the Florida State-Wake Forest game, the only scoring was on field goals. And while Quigley/Aponavicius are no Swank/Gano, this one is really a coin flip in my mind, so I'll go 49.9%.

Odds Chris Crane completes greater than 50% of his passes Saturday
Brian: First let me say that less than 50% passing is awful. Crane is completing 54.9 percent of passes this year, but has only far surpassed the 50% mark three times - the games against Kent State, North Carolina State and North Carolina. Kent State is a middle-of-the-pack team in the MAC when it comes to pass-efficiency defense, NC State is DFL in the ACC in that category, and the UNC game is a bit of a red herring because, while Crane completed 2/3 of his passes, he threw 3 interceptions. Meanwhile, Florida State has allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete a hair over 50% of their passes (50.4%). While FSU has played some pretty bad teams and some equally bad quarterbacks, they've played against some decent QBs too. I'm going to go fairly low on this one. 33%

Jeff: I think we are going to see the offense move the ball very similarly to the way they did against Notre Dame this past weekend. The load is not going to be placed on Crane's shoulders and he is not going to be asked to carry the team to victory. On Saturday, I saw several balls that should've been caught which would have boosted Crane's completion percentage. I think Crane is getting more comfortable and is watching tape of FSU right now so he'll know to tuck it and run a lot and not give their speedy defense a chance to make big plays. I give Crane a 65% chance of completing half or more of the weak spirals he throws.

Odds Boston College beats the Seminoles on Saturday
Jeff: FSU has two wins of note this season. They beat Miami and Clemson. They also beat Virginia Tech but this was not an at all impressive win because the 'Noles knocked out both of the Hokies quarterbacks in the first half and they were losing the game at that point. In those two noteworthy wins, they squeaked by in both. A four point victory against the 'Canes and a 14 point victory that was really only a 7 point win which was very much in doubt until the refs reversed a Clemson touchdown because a player's helmet came off during the play and by rule that makes the play dead from that point. So FSU is deserving of its ranking but is not at all intimidating as a must-win road game against a Top 25 teams should be. It's really simple - Boston College has a better team minus two positions ... quarterback and kicker. If Crane can hold onto the ball and if we don't rely on field goals for points, we win. I like the Eagles chances because I think if you watched the game Saturday, a final score of 38-3 would've been more indicative of how the Eagles dominated. If this game were at home I'd go as high as 80%, but since it is in Tallahassee, I'll go 58%.

Brian: Apparently Jeff hasn't been talking to the Vegas experts. BC is getting 7 points this weekend in Tallahassee. So according to these "experts," the Eagles have much less than a 50% chance to win this game. Florida State is ranked #1 in the conference in both total offense and scoring offense, as well as ranked 2nd in the conference in rushing offense (which is basically #1 because Georgia Tech's option attack ranks first). On the flip side, Boston College is ranked #1 in the conference in both rushing defense and pass-efficiency defense. It's a fairly even matchup between the FSU offense and the BC defense (slight edge: BC?), but I give the edge to the Seminoles in the matchup between the FSU defense and the BC offense. Plus, we haven't seen Bad Crane show up the last two games. Eagles, meet "game-manager" Crane. Who knows which one will show up on the road this weekend ... the NC State Chris Crane or the UNC Chris Crane. While I'm ever the BC optimist, 58% is too high for an 8pm game in Doak Campbell, Homecoming, a Florida State blackout, etc. So I'll go with a slightly more conservative 42% (but I hope you are right, Jeff).

Jeff: The last time Florida State had a "blackout" and BC came to town their fans were leaving halfway through the third quarter. Take BC getting 7.

Followup question, Odds Florida State finishes the regular season 7-5 (BC, @ Maryland, Florida)
Brian: 7-5 would mean the Seminoles - this week's chic ACC champion pick - would drop their last 3 games in the regular season. I'll refrain from picking the Boston College game here and focus on their remaining two games - at Maryland and at home against Florida. There's a reason the #1 cliche of ACC football this season was calling Maryland the "Jekyll and Hyde" of college football, and its because the Terps have been terrible on the road (2-3) and solid at home (5-0). While this game is a home game for the Terps, the glaring mismatch in this game has to be the Florida State rushing attack (#2 in conference) versus Maryland's rush defense (#11 in conference). All the Seminoles will have to do run the ball down Maryland's throat to win this game. I am counting on Maryland getting an FSU beat down in two weeks, in fact, I'm 92% positive of this. Therefore, I'll only give Florida State a 8% chance of finishing the season 7-5. If I had to guess, the Seminoles finish 8-4.

Jeff: There's a 58% chance Boston College beats Florida State as I stated a moment ago. Then you are completely wrong only giving Maryland a 8% chance of winning. You overestimate FSU's team. Their offensive numbers are skewed because they average over 51 points a game in their non-conference matchups. So given that its at home, I give Maryland a 45% chance of winning. Then in their final game against Florida, the Gators will have National title hopes on the line and will not let FSU screw that up. 97% chance Florida wins. .58 X .45 X .97 = .253. There is a 25.3% chance that FSU loses out and finishes 7-5.

Last one, Odds the winner of the BC-FSU game goes on to play in Tampa
Brian: I will go fairly high on this one. Of the two teams, even though Florida State is ranked in the Top 25 this week, only Boston College controls its ACC title game hopes. Florida State needs Wake Forest to drop to either NC State or our Eagles. Regardless of what happens on Saturday, I like BC's matchup with the Deacons next weekend. And even if the Deacons can beat the Eagles next week, I equally like how Wake Forest matches up with NC State. As I stated before, I think NC State is better than their record indicates and could very well knock off Wake this weekend, which would pave the way for the winner of this game. Let's leave Maryland out of the conversation since I am expecting them to lose their last three ACC games and fall back to ACC mediocrity (EagleBank Bowl? Humanitarian, anyone?). So I will only give Wake Forest a 20% chance of beating both the Eagles and the Wolfpack, and go with a 80% chance that either BC or FSU are playing in Tampa.

Jeff: I agree with everything you say and want to reiterate that I think that Wake might fall this weekend at NC State and even if they don't, I give the Eagles an even better chance of beating Wake than you do. I'll go 91% chance here.

Brian: We bring in BC basketball guest blogger Raj for a recap. Raj, who won?

Brian Topic Jeff
33% BC scores a non-offensive touchdown? 55.6%
49.9% BC makes a field goal? 20%
33% Chris Crane completes >50% of passes? 65%
42% Eagle victory Saturday? 58%
8% Seminoles finish 7-5? 25.3%
80% BC or Florida State play in Tampa? 91%

Raj: I'm 100% certain that your respective employers do not appreciate blogging during work hours. Great analysis, but really anything higher than 5% for us making a field goal (not an extra point) is absurd. Also math equations are great, but I'm going to need to see all the work for you to get full credit, Jeff.

Well looks like Brian isn't too sure about anything, while Jeff seems to be the BC optimist. Luckily for Jeff, this isn't golf, high score wins. To the victor goes the spoils, Jeffrey "I'm getting married first" Martyn with the victory. Better luck next time Bri. Go Eagles.

Brian: Ridiculous.