College Football Picks: Auburn Tigers vs. Florida State Seminoles

Jason Lake

Monday, January 6, 2014 3:16 PM GMT

The biggest game in college football betting has finally arrived. Can the Florida State Seminoles stay undefeated, or will the Auburn Tigers pull off the (so-called) upset Monday night?

So here we are at the end of the road. The Bowl Championship Series takes its final bow on Monday night when the No. 1 Florida State Seminoles (13-0 SU, 11-2 ATS) meet the No. 2 Auburn Tigers (12-1 SU, 11-2 ATS) in Pasadena. Say what you will about the BCS, but at least it gave us some great title games. This will be the 13th time in 16 years that the top two teams in the AP college football rankings have played for the National Championship.

[gameodds]6/252272/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

As we go to press, the NCAAF odds board still has the Seminoles laying nine points, and the total appears to have stabilized at 67 points after originally opening at 64 nearly a month ago. Auburn is getting 55 percent consensus, but that number has been trickling downward, and by the time you read this, Florida State may have pulled in enough public money to flip the script. There’s enough room for that total to rise before kick-off (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), as well.

Florida State vs. Auburn Picks on Total

What They’re Saying 

I’ve already touched on the SEC’s outstanding record at the BCS title game, and I’ve had my little rant about the increased value of contrarian betting in high-profile situations like this one. Now it’s time to see what other people out there are saying as we get closer to game time. You can’t be contrary in a vacuum, after all. If the squares aren’t actually loading up on Florida State, that makes Auburn less attractive against the college football lines. 

And the reports are indeed mixed. On one hand, the Seminoles opened as low as –7 at some online sportsbooks, and it didn’t take long for the early-bird sharps to pound the Tigers and drive up the point spread. But since that initial burst of action, the money has been coming in fairly evenly on both sides. Some bookies are expecting Auburn to pull in more money than Florida State before kick-off; others are sticking with the idea that the public will bet the favorites.

Florida State vs. Auburn Picks on Spread

What Have You Done for Me Lately? 

We’re also seeing some vacillation from the sharps after the Alabama Crimson Tide (–17 against the Oklahoma Sooners) and Georgia Bulldogs (–9.5 against the Nebraska Cornhuskers) both honked their bowl games. Alabama and Georgia were two of the teams Auburn beat on the way to the BCS title game, and both those victories were of the “lucky” variety. Those wins look a bit less impressive after the Tide and the ‘Dawgs messed the bed.

Then again, maybe those beds got messed because Alabama and Georgia lost to the Tigers. One of the rules of college football betting is to fade teams that are playing in let-down bowls. The Tide were definitely vulnerable playing “only” in the Sugar Bowl, and the Bulldogs couldn’t have been too pleased to play in the Gator Bowl – not to mention all those injuries they suffered along the way. Funny how people bet on the laundry and not the players wearing it.

The 53-Percent Solution 

The Seminoles may have played a much easier strength of schedule coming out of the ACC – they were favored by at least 21 points in each of their last seven games – but the ‘Noles did manage to blow out almost all their opponents by wide margins. They’re also 7-2 SU and 8-0-1 ATS in their last nine bowl games, so if we’re giving the SEC credit for past performance, we can’t ignore Florida State’s recent success. 

In the end, you can pick either team in this matchup and have good reason to do so. It’s going to boil down to your personal football betting style – which methods do you trust? And don’t forget, betting on football is about small margins. The trick is to be “wrong” only 47 percent of the time. Whatever happens Monday night, it’s just another game to add to your database. May the (crystal) prolate spheroid be with you.

NCAAF Picks 

Take the Tigers +9 (+103) at Matchbook

Take UNDER 68 at Bovada