Winston suspension doesn’t leave books stuck in middle

After Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston jumped on a table on campus Tuesday and shouted an obscene phrase about female anatomy, we decided to suspend the Heisman Trophy winner from the first half of this story.

However, in light of the NFL’s domestic violence scandal and the fact that Winston was formerly accused of sexual assault and should have known better than to act like a crass clown, we’re going to suspend him for the entire story.

On second thought, since we’ve already mentioned him, we’ll have to settle for suspending him for the second half.

Sorry for the confusion, but Florida State — following the lead of the NFL — engaged in a similar style of second-guessing this week. On Wednesday, it suspended Winston for the first half of Saturday’s game against Clemson, then announced Friday night that he would be benched for the entire game.

The actions of Winston and favored Florida State caused the point spread to fluctuate from an opening number that was as high as 22 at some Las Vegas sports books to as low as 9½ at kickoff.

“It’s tough right now. Both in the NFL and in college, behavioral problems are affecting the point spread,” MGM Mirage sports book director Jay Rood said. “They say one thing and hand (the suspension) down and you think you’re good, then all of a sudden the tide shifts and you’re dealt a different set of circumstances. It’s a really fluid situation. You’ve got to be on top of it.”

Rood opened the top-ranked Seminoles as 19½-point favorites before adjusting the line to 17 with news of the first-half suspension. Action on the No. 22 Tigers moved the number to 15, which dropped to 10½ on Friday night with the news that Winston would miss the whole game.

Rood said money came in on Florida State on Saturday, moving the number to 10 and setting up a big middle for bettors.

“Wiseguys took advantage of the bigger price earlier in the week. If this game falls (Seminoles by) 13 or 14, that’s the worst-case scenario for us,” Rood said early in the game. “Luckily, it’s not the biggest dollar game for us. We’re still gonna take a shot to the chin if it ends up in the middle.”

The only top-25 matchup of the day never came close to landing in the middle, as Florida State needed a late touchdown to tie the game before winning 23-17 in overtime. Clemson declined to attempt a 33-yard field goal on the first possession of OT before getting stopped on fourth-and-1. Two plays later, Karlos Williams scored on a 12-yard TD run as the Seminoles escaped with a win.

Sean Maguire, who replaced Winston, threw a 74-yard TD pass to Rashad Greene to tie the score at 17 with 6:04 left.

With everything going on in the NFL, it’s hard to fathom how Winston, even at 20 years old, would jeopardize his team’s national title hopes and his own future with his idiotic behavior.

“It’s kind of mind-boggling that a guy that’s got such a bright future in front of him couldn’t just toe the line,” Rood said. “Especially with what’s going on in the NFL, you’d think he could put his head down, go to work and hope to get to the pot of gold in the end.”

Texas A&M brought home a pot of gold for bettors, as the No. 6 Aggies easily covered the 35-point spread in a 58-6 blowout of Southern Methodist.

“The one that hurt us the most today was Texas A&M covering. Everybody was on that game, and they were laying a big number, too,” Rood said. “It’s been a struggle today. It’s definitely been a player’s day.”

The books also got beat by underdogs Mississippi State and Utah, and favorites Colorado and Nebraska.

Mississippi State, a 9½-point ’dog, jumped to a 17-0 lead at No. 8 Louisiana State and never trailed in a 34-29 win.

“It was kind of a bizarre game,” Rood said. “The bigger tickets fell on Mississippi State, but the public was on LSU.”

Utah scored the final 16 points en route to a 26-10 win at Michigan, which was laying 3 points after opening as a touchdown favorite.

“That was a sharp play, and a couple of our bigger house players were on it as well,” Rood said. “(Sharp) players were all over Utah. The public was on Michigan.”

Colorado, an 8-point favorite, beat Hawaii 21-12.

“Colorado was a big loss for us, too, in the morning,” Rood said. “That was a big steam game. A wiseguy game.”

No. 24 Nebraska covered 7½ points in a 41-31 win over Miami as top-25 favorites went 7-6 ATS.

Indiana, a 14-point ’dog coming off a loss at Bowling Green, pulled off the big upset of the day in a 31-27 victory at No. 18 Missouri. D’Angelo Roberts scored on a 3-yard touchdown run with 22 seconds remaining to lift the Hoosiers.

“That was a big game for us. I didn’t think they’d win outright. That was a little bonus,” Rood said. “That was the only game we did well with.”

College players might have prevailed on the day, but the season has belonged to the bookmakers.

“It’s been a great season so far. You can’t ask for a better start to it,” Rood said. “You kind of knew when you have two or three big weekends in a row, there’s gotta be one you give back to the players. That’s just the nature of the business.”

Stay tuned to see who gets suspended this week.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0354. Follow him on Twitter: @tdewey33.

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