The total has been on a steady rise since it first came out at 64 or 64.5 at some shops monitored by SBR's live college football odds. New Year's Day finds the scoreboard tally up to 67.5 at most sportsbooks, a few sporting 68 tallies.
One concern betting any bowl game is the long layoff teams face, and that is certainly true for the Tigers and Seminoles who are each lacing them up for first time in 30 days. Both squads won coming out of their bye weeks during the regular season, but those were 14-day breaks and both coaching staffs were able to maintain at least some semblance of a routine as opposed to during the recent holidays.
Making A Case For The 'Under'
Oh, there's no doubt both teams bring super offenses into the contest, and the difference in Auburn playing Florida State instead of either Alabama or Ohio State is probably worth about 20 points in the total column of the college football odds. Still, the last two times we've seen totals set this high with a pair of offensive juggernauts squaring off, the final score never got close to the scoreboard barriers.
One of those BCS Championships was just two years ago when Auburn met Oregon in a game that was supposed to be a track meet. The Tigers had Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton at the helm of a crew that was seventh nationally in scoring and total offense, and they were facing an Oregon squad that was first in both categories. The 22-19 final fell well short of a 73.5 point total.
Auburn once again didn't get to the title tilt on the strength of its defense, but Gus Malzahn and Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson have a good enough stop unit to throw wrinkles at Jameis Winston and the Seminoles offense.
Meanwhile, Florida State's Jimbo Fisher and his DC Jeremy Pruitt have an outstanding defense at their disposal. No team allowed fewer points on the season (10.7 ppg), and the strong suit of the outfit was stopping the run. The Seminoles allowed just five rushing touchdowns all season, tied with Iowa at the top of that column, so it will be tested against an Auburn offense that has four players who scored six or more by themselves, topped by Tre Mason's 22.
Making A Case For The 'Over'
It's pretty easy to imagine a high-scoring affair with two squads in the top 10 in the scoring column. Sure, the Tigers and Seminoles each had a couple of cupcakes on their schedules and put up silly numbers in those games. But Florida State still scored 41 or more against all seven bowl teams it faced, averaging nearly 50 in those matchups, while Auburn's 40.2 PPG overall clip included nine eventual bowl squads on the slate.
Both teams also paid 'over' backers pretty well up to now, especially FSU who helped those bettors cash 10 out of 13 times. Auburn ended the schedule on a 4-game run to the high side, leaving the Tigers 8-5 O/U in 2013 (a perfect 5-0 'over' vs. ranked teams).
One thing we don't really have to factor in is the weather. Monday's Rose Bowl forecast currently calls for some nice autumn-esque weather with the thermometer around 63º under clear skies for the boot a little past 5:30 PM local time (PT). No rain and little to no wind are also in the mix.
The Rose Bowl has proven to be a good site for 'over' bettors the last two times the stadium hosted the BCS Championship, but I'm going to buck that trend with a play on the 'under' in this matchup for my free college football pick. Don't forget to read my analysis of the right side of the BCS Championship to wager.
My pick: Auburn-Florida State Under 67.5