2014 Florida State Seminoles Season Betting Preview

BCS National Championship Prediction – #1 FSU vs. #2 Auburn

The betting line on the BCS National Championship hasn’t budged one bit, so if the oddsmakers are due to make a proper BCS National Championship prediction then Florida State should be in line to win their second title since the computer overlords took over the process. The Seminoles were the country’s only undefeated team in the rankings and obliterated everyone who stood in their path. But it’s almost impossible to bet against the SEC Champion in the big game considering how well the conference has done historically.

The SEC has won the last seven national championships in a row, and the ACC hasn’t won a national title since FSU bested Michael Vick’s Virginia Tech Hokies in 1999. There’s a reason for that – the conferences are night and day in terms of overall strengths.

The Seminoles not only went undefeated, they were a profit churning monster at 11-2 ATS. Heisman winner Jameis Winston was a force of nature throwing for 3,820 yards and 38 touchdowns and is clearly one of the best athletes we’ve seen in college football in a long time. But you can’t make a BCS National Championship prediction based on his athletic gifts alone.

#1 FSU Seminoles (13-0) vs. #2 Auburn Tigers (12-1)
The FSU Seminoles are 8.5 point favorites over the Auburn Tigers in the BCS National Championship.
Starts: 01/06/2014 8:30PM
Rose Bowl, 1001 Rose Bowl Drive
Pasadena, California


It’s worth noting that FSU didn’t play a single noteworthy team all year. Sure, they beat Clemson and Miami handedly but neither of those teams really made a dent in the big picture. The defense ranked first in terms of passing yards (152.0 per game) and points allowed (10.7) but also didn’t play very stiff competition, and they certainly didn’t play anyone like Auburn.

And they’re running in to a ballistic freight train in the form of Auburn. Making a BCS National Championship prediction based on numbers ignores the simple fact that these Tigers have played like a prodigal team of destiny throughout the season. I’ve never really loved betting on teams that seem lucky, but I can’t deny that Auburn always caught miracles when they needed to. An unreal catch at the end of the Georgia game maintained their momentum heading in to the Iron Bowl, where they won on a missed field goal that was returned for a touchdown.

But luck is only part of the magic at Auburn. They have the nation’s best rushing attack, averaging 335.7 yards per game and if there’s any weakness in FSU it’s their ability to stop the run. Auburn’s Nick Marshall and Tre Mason combined for 33 touchdowns on the ground, while Marshall also threw 12 more through the air. This is a very creative team led by a genius of a coach in Gus Malzahn who has had over a month to prepare his offence to face the fast and ferocious FSU front seven. The better rushing team in the BCS National Championship game almost always wins if you look at the history of the matchups. It’s just one of those stone cold facts.

There’s a good chance that FSU is as good as their record indicates, but I simply can’t bring myself to betting against Auburn and the SEC. The oddsmakers are right to favor FSU because they’ve been so dominant throughout the year, but Auburn is a nasty defensive team that can get stops at critical moments and their coach will have them better prepared for the big game.

So my BCS National Championship game prediction is fairly simple; Auburn runs away with this game both literally and figuratively.

War Eagle, baby.

BCS National Championship Prediction – Auburn +8.5

AT&T Cotton Bowl Oklahoma State vs Missouri Betting Trends

AT&T Cotton Bowl Free Picks – #13 Oklahoma State vs. #8 Missouri

Outside of the national title game itself, the AT&T Cotton Bowl free pick is probably the hardest to make because of the two teams involved. Oklahoma State and Missouri both picked up losses the last time they were on the gridiron, and their conference title hopes sailed away on the wind. Now two of the best, and most balanced, teams in the country get to square off in the unofficially named “Losers Bowl”.

Missouri’s chances of creating a maelstrom at the top of the BCS standings ended when they were defeated by Auburn in a completely wild SEC Championship contest. Even with that loss, the Tigers were an absolute gold mine to the betting community with a marvelous 10-2-1 ATS record.

They’re an excessively well balanced team that honed their craft in the gauntlet that is the SEC. Missouri hammered Texas A&M, Florida, Georgia and almost everyone else until they ran in to Auburn, whom they lost to 42-59 as -2.0 point favorites. Now they’re facing an Oklahoma State team that has played well above their ceiling and could give Missouri some serious headaches.

#13 Oklahoma State Cowboys (10-2) vs. #8 Missouri Tigers (11-2)
The Oklahoma State Cowboys and Missouri Tigers are even on the spread for the AT&T Cotton Bowl game.
Starts: 01/03/2014 7:30PM
AT&T Stadium, 900 E Randol Mill Rd.
Arlington, Texas


That hasn’t stopped the community from backing the Tigers in this one. Nearly two-thirds of the action is caving in on Missouri’s side of the line. Part of Oklahoma State’s spread record is built on the idea that they achieved far ahead of their potential. They were favored by just -6.0 against TCU and were -2.0 favorites against Texas Tech, while sliding in as +7.5 underdogs against Baylor.

At no time did the oddsmakers or handicappers believe that Oklahoma State was as legitimate as their betting record ever indicated, which is why it’s hard to leverage a Cotton Bowl free pick on their side of the line. Their 8-4 ATS record is strong, but not as incredible as it looks at first glance.

When in doubt, you usually pick the SEC over everyone else. I’ve strayed away from that thinking in a few of my post season free picks. I’m taking Nebraska over Georgia, Iowa over LSU and Oklahoma over Alabama. But in this game, Missouri is clearly a much better team that is being handed a favor with the oddsmakers lazily making this game a pick ‘em. This is one of those types of matchups that you can over think until the cows come home, but I think this game is fairly academic. Missouri is simply a better team than Oklahoma State which is why they’re getting my vote of confidence in this AT&T Cotton Bowl free pick.

AT&T Cotton Bowl Free Pick – Missouri PK (UNDER)

Discover Orange Bowl Betting Line - #12 Clemson vs. #7 OSU -2.5

Discover Orange Bowl Betting Line – #12 Clemson vs. #7 OSU -2.5

If you read the Discover Orange Bowl betting line the way you should, the oddsmakers are expecting fireworks from two of the most entertaining quarterbacks in college football. There was a time when Tajh Boyd and Braxton Miller were in the Heisman mix (view the early favorites for the 2014 Heisman), and while both were left in the dust behind eventual winner Jameis Winston, they’re still as talented and capable as they were at the onset of the season. Since they’re both lining up against porous defensive sets, this game could be one of the most exciting amongst the big five.

The Clemson Tigers started off the year with tons of promise. They outlasted Georgia in their season opener 38-35 and then picked up another five wins to go 6-0 SU at the onset. However, they also went just 3-3 ATS in those games. They made headlines because of Boyd’s unbelievable playmaking, but the handicappers and linemakers knew that this team was a bit of a fraud.

Everything came crashing down when they lost to FSU 14-51 in mid-October. Sure, they picked up a 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS record after the loss against the Seminoles, but they were no longer fixtures in the national title landscape and they didn’t have the schedule to gain any more ground than they already had. The fact that they’re part of the Discover Orange Bowl betting line has more to do with their early season success than it does with how their year ended.

#12 Clemson Tigers (10-2) vs. #7 Ohio State Buckeyes (12-1)
The Ohio State Buckeyes are a 2.5 point favorites over the Clemson Tigers at the Discover Orange Bowl.
Starts: 01/03/2014 8:30PM
Sun Life Stadium, 347 Don Shula Drive (NW 199 Street)
Miami Gardens, Florida


Tajh Boyd threw for 3,473 yards and 29 touchdowns while adding another 273 yards rushing and 9 rushing touchdowns. Don’t let his 2013 ground numbers fool you either; this guy piled up 514 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns in 2012 and can hit the ground running anytime he pleases. The problem with hoping for a big Boyd game is that Ohio State ranks 6th against the rush with just 102.6 yards against all season in the rush-first Big Ten.

This is also a major statement game for the Buckeyes, who saw their undefeated streak snapped by Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship with an end score of 24-34. They were favored at -5.5 in that game because the public never appreciated how solid the Spartans actually are, and after losing that game, Ohio State’s hopes of making a national title appearance vanished alongside.

The Buckeyes defense isn’t rock solid by any stretch of the imagination, but Clemson’s is much worse. Braxton Miller also gives OSU an advantage at quarterback. He threw for 1,860 yards and rushed for an additional 1,033 yards against the burly Big Ten defenses while amassing a total of 32 touchdowns. Did I mention that he missed two games as well?

Sometimes there are wrinkles in a game that people don’t focus on, but making a play on the Discover Orange Bowl betting line squarely falls on picking between Boyd and Miller. Clemson and OSU both have slightly suspect defenses that should allow both quarterbacks to have career days. If there’s one crease in this matchup, it’s Urban Meyer, a coach that has done it all at the college level and continues to succeed wherever he goes. Meyer will figure out a way to maximize Miller’s talents and limit Boyd’s production as Ohio State ends their year on a high note as slim favorites.

Discover Orange Bowl Betting Line Pick – OSU -2.5 (OVER)