Saturday’s game between Florida State and Notre Dame is about as big as any college football game in the 2014 season. Normal circumstances would call for a lot of money to be wagered on the contest, but recent events might not allow that to be a possibility.
Four days before the game is set to kick off, multiple Las Vegas sports books stopped taking action on the game. The betting line has been removed because of the uncertain status of Jameis Winston.
Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher insists that the Heisman Trophy winner will play, but allegations against Winston have left open the possibility that he could be suspended. The quarterback is being investigated for receiving money after signing 900 autographs.
"It doesn't make sense to keep it up right now," said Jay Kornegay, vice president of race and sports at the Westgate SuperBook, told ESPN. "You're only going to drive one-way action [to Notre Dame], so we're taking the cautious approach and see what happens."
Last week, Georgia running back Todd Gurley was suspended for a similar incident involving the same company that authenticated Winston’s autographs. A Heisman candidate, as well, Gurley has been suspended indefinitely.
Georgia was three-point favorite in Missouri, and the betting odds were quickly adjusted when word came down that he wouldn’t suit up. At Sportsbook.ag, the game became a pick’em, while the point spread stayed the same at The Wynn, though betters could take Missouri+3 at even money.
Gurley’s absence didn’t seem to effect the outcome, as Georgia shut out Missouri 34-0, and backup running back Nic Chubb ran for 1433 yards on 38 carries. Without Winston, however, Florida State’s odds could be severely hurt.
Before the game was taken off the board at the Westgate SuperBook, Florida State was a -10.5-point favorite. According to Kornegay, Winston being ruled out would knock the betting line down to 3.5 points or possibly a field goal.
In their third game of the season, Winston was forced to sit for yelling a lewd phrase on campus. Florida State was favored by as much as 20.5 points over Clemson, but the line dropped to 14 points at some sports books. The Seminoles barely escaped with a victory, beating the Tigers in overtime, 23-17.
Sean Maguire would get the start in Winston’s absence. Against Clemson, he went 21-of-39 for 304 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.