Giving props: Auburn vs. Florida State
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — How many passes will Jameis Winston complete? How many rushing yards will Tre Mason record?
As fun as it is to debate who will win between No. 1 Florida State and No. 2 Auburn, it’s as entertaining to consider which player will have a great game.
For entertainment purposes only, of course, let’s take a look at some of the more interesting prop bets for Monday night’s BCS championship game:
Winston won the Heisman Trophy, but oddly enough he only had to complete more than 20 passes in four games (although he hit 19 three other times). The reason is simple: Winston and the team played so well that he rarely went into games during the fourth quarter. You have to figure this will be a close matchup, so expect Winston to play almost the entire game. And he should play well, connecting for more than 20 completions.
Freeman did this in five of 13 games this season, but he’s a physical back and not a sprinter, so don’t expect a breakaway run. Florida State coaches also spread the wealth amongst Freeman, Karlos Williams and James Wilder. The under makes sense here.
With all of the attention on Kelvin Benjamin, who had 212 receiving yards at Florida and then 119 receiving yards vs. Duke, look for a hard-nosed slot receiver like Shaw to make receptions over the middle while Benjamin gets plenty of attention.
Florida State doesn’t give up long runs, but Mason is the best tailback the Seminoles have faced since Boston College’s Andre Williams in September. Mason had long runs in his last three games, going for 24 vs. Georgia, 40 vs. Alabama and 52 vs. Missouri. It’s safe to presume he will break free and have at least one long run. Even if you think Florida State will dominate the game, Mason could get a long fourth-quarter carry against the Seminoles’ second-team defense.
Mason will get his yards. Expect him to break off a long run or two. But Florida State is only allowing 116 rushing yards per game. The Seminoles are focused on Mason, so expect the carries to be split amongst all the Auburn running backs and to see Mason go under 109.5.
Marshall has completed more than 12 passes just once since September. Here’s the great debate: go with history or go with an educated guess that Auburn, the underdog, will fall behind and have to pass to catch up? Just 12 completions is three per quarter. Maybe Marshall builds that number by hitting short, swing passes in the flat that are basically runs but statistically passes. Go with over 12.5.
Coates averages about three receptions per game. He had more than three receptions in just three games. Florida State has the best secondary in the nation. Look for Coates to grab a few catches but not four.
There are so many reasons to take the over. Winston could shred what has been a porous Auburn pass offense with a long strike to Rashad Greene, Shaw or Kelvin Benjamin. How are the Tigers going to be able to cover all three? Nick Marshall hasn’t connected with Coates often, but Coates is a tough one-on-one matchup and is bound to break free once or twice.
Interesting thing to note is who wins the coin flip. Florida State loves to defer when it wins, and Auburn would likely want the ball — to try and get ahead — if the Tigers win the flip. It’s a good bet that Auburn has the ball first and gets a field goal or touchdown while Florida State’s defense adjusts to Auburn’s misdirection running game.
It’s so tempting to go with yes. The reason why you should: Florida State had 25 interceptions in the regular season and eight defensive touchdowns. Auburn had a punt, kickoff, interception and fumble return for TDs. Go with your gut here.
OK, so this isn’t a prop bet. Even if you think this will be a high scoring game, say Florida State wins 34-28. That’s under. Or Auburn wins 30-27. Still under.
That is a lot of points. The game won’t be a runaway but even if it’s close late, Florida State should get a late score to cover the spread.