The Top 2 teams in the BCS standings are set to settle the argument for who is the best in the land on January 6th when the one-loss and 2nd ranked Auburn Tigers run up against the undefeated and top-ranked Florida State Seminoles. Last we saw Auburn in live action, it won a thrilling 59-42 decision over the Missouri Tigers in the SEC Championship Game. FSU also came out on top of its title game bout in the ACC Championship Game, but it was hardly challenged in waltzing to the 45-7 win over the Duke Blue Devils.
1. Why AUBURN will cover the spread: No team in the country possesses a more powerful or impressive ground attack than that of head coach Gus Malzahn’s Auburn Tigers. It was on full display against a Mizzou squad that checked in as the SEC’s top ranked run defense before the title game, but once the dust cleared, Auburn rushed for a whopping 545 yards on 74 carries (7.4 YPC) with RB Tre Mason (304 yards) and QB Nick Marshall (101 yards) doing most of the damage.
Florida State only gave up an average of 116.5 YPG (#13) on the ground in the regular season, but never faced an attack nearly as potent as the Tigers.
2. Why FLORIDA STATE will cover the spread: Save for the regular season finale in Gainesville and the ACC title game hindered by Mother Nature, the Seminoles were able to put at least 41 points on the board in every other game. While the lower point tallies were accrued in the final two games, Auburn’s defense is nowhere near as good as the Gators or even the Blue Devils for that matter. FSU has a number of game-changers on the offensive side of the ball in QB Jameis Winston (Heisman Odds), RB Devonta Freeman, and WR Kelvin Benjamin. That trio alone should wreak havoc on a Tigers stop unit that allowed opposing team’s stars to go off for huge stat piling tallies in their final three games.
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3. BCS Total Talk: Combined, these teams have gone OVER the total in 18 of their 26 games played. Auburn played to the ‘over’ in three of its four games played away from Jordan-Hare Stadium, while FSU went ‘over’ the closing number in four of its five games away from Doak Campbell.
Auburn also cashed ‘over’ tickets four of the five times it was “dogged” by the oddsmakers and in five of six vs. +.500 opposition. The Seminoles have cashed ‘over’ tickets each of the L/3 times they were favored in the 3.5-10 point range, and both of their games played to high scorers this season off extended rest.
4. Betting Trends for Auburn/FSU: To put it mildly, Auburn’s defense is bad – real bad! And the fact that it’s overall numbers are skewed due to allowing just nine points to Arkansas State and three points to Western Carolina hardly gets my juices flowing about backing Marshall and company against a Seminoles outfit that can go blow for blow with them offensively. Though Auburn is used to playing top flight opposition due to being a member within the rugged SEC, it’s yet to run up against a defense as sound as the Noles. The ACC might not have been the greatest barometer of just how good FSU was this season, but the Noles went out and smashed their conference opposition in the regular season winning by an average of 39.2 PPG while giving up an average of just 12.3 PPG.
Auburn won its seven SEC match-ups by an average of 11 PPG and gave up an average of 27 PPG. With Auburn a perfect 5-0 ATS when dogged this season, taking the points looks to be an attractive position with a team that seemed to have a lucky leprechaun in its back pocket on a number of occasions. But the Noles were much more dominant overall and put a more polished effort up across the board. FSU has proven to be extremely comfortable in the chalk role ( 11-2 ATS ) and it will be getting my $$$ in the final game of the 2013-14 college football season.
Florida State 41 – Auburn 27