Ladies and degenerates, that most wonderful day is nearly here – the death of the Bowl Championship Series. No longer will voters determine who gets to play in the title game; starting next year, they’ll be voting for which 12 teams make it into the College Football Playoff. Really? Will there be a sing-off at the end, too?
At least there isn’t too much debate about this year’s BCS National Championship Game participants. The No. 1 Florida State Seminoles (13-0 SU, 11-2 ATS) ran the table during the regular season, winning every single game by a comfortable margin and destroying the Duke Blue Devils (+30) 45-7 to claim the ACC crown. The No. 2 Auburn Tigers (12-1 SU, 11-2 ATS) got here by famously upsetting the Alabama Crimson Tide (–10) at the Iron Bowl, then the Missouri Tigers (–2) for the SEC title.
How Do You Spell SEC?
If you’ve been betting on college football for a while, your eyes may have sprung out of their sockets when you saw the Seminoles laying nine points on the college football odds. The SEC has won – and covered – every single BCS National Championship Game since the damn thing started in 2007. Let’s go ahead and list them off:
2007: No. 2 Florida 41, No. 1 Ohio State 14 (FLA +7)
2008: No. 2 LSU 38, No. 1 Ohio State 24 (LSU –3.5)
2009: No. 2 Florida 24, No. 1 Oklahoma 14 (FLA –4.5)
2010: No. 1 Alabama 37, No. 2 Texas 21 (ALA –3.5)
2011: No. 1 Auburn 22, No. 2 Oregon 19 (AUB +1)
2012: No. 2 Alabama 21, No. 1 LSU 0 (ALA –2.5)
2013: No. 2 Alabama 42, No. 1 Notre Dame 14 (ALA –10)
If you’re not already on Auburn for the 2014 BCS National Championship Game, I don’t know what else I can say to convince you. But I’ll try anyway. Notice how often it’s the No. 2-ranked team coming out of the SEC. Like in 2007, when the one-loss Gators were underdogs to the undefeated Buckeyes. Too many bettors put their money and their faith in Ohio State without considering the difference in quality between the SEC and the Big Ten. Same can be said for last year’s game between the one-loss Crimson Tide and the undefeated Fighting Irish.
You don’t have to be a football betting scientist to see how Florida State fits into this equation. According to the FEI Ratings at Football Outsiders, the Seminoles had the No. 90-ranked strength of schedule out of the 125 FBS teams (Auburn was No. 21). All those gigantic wins against the likes of Syracuse and Wake Forest? Whoop-de-doo.
Not meaning to rain on Florida State’s parade here. The ‘Noles did the best they could with what they had to work with; the F/+ Ratings for 2013 have them ranked No. 1 overall, including No. 1 on offense (No. 2 defense, No. 51 special teams). FSU absolutely deserves the No. 1 seed in the BCS rankings. But nine points? Against Auburn, the No. 4-ranked team in efficiency (No. 10 offense, No. 18 defense, No. 5 special teams)?
A Total Eclipse of the Total
What can I tell you – it’s a deliciously soft market. People who don’t normally bet on college football are dipping into their wallets for the most important game of the season. That dilutes the general level of intelligence in the NCAAF betting market. Substantially. Contrarian bets have even more value than usual in these situations.
It works for totals, too. We’ve seen some outrageously high and low totals over the years, and this year is no exception: The sportsbook opened the over/under at 64.5 points and quickly climbed to 67 by press time. It will probably go even higher. But can we really expect QB Jameis Winston (190.1 passer rating) to keep up that Heisman-winning pace against a proper SEC team? And how about that overlooked Seminoles defense? This is an underdog-UNDER parlay just begging to be born. We'll take Auburn as well as both teams keeping it close for the Under for our college football picks. May the prolate spheroid be with you.
Take Auburn +9 at BetDSI
Take UNDER 67.5 at The Greek