Sharps backing favored Florida State; public grabs Auburn on money line

With the help of a couple of miracles, new coach Gus Malzahn has guided Auburn to a highly unlikely position.

How unlikely? Last summer in Las Vegas, the Tigers were getting from 500-1 to 1,000-1 odds to win the Bowl Championship Series title, a ticket that could cash today if they defeat No. 1 Florida State in Pasadena, Calif. The Seminoles are 9½- to 10-point favorites, so the odds still are stacked against Malzahn.

But MGM Resorts sports book director Jay Rood said the Tigers, priced at about plus-300 on the money line, are attracting more believers among public bettors. The best result for bookmakers likely would be the favorite winning but not covering the spread.

“We’re seeing a lot of Auburn money,” Rood said. “This game has definitely got a Super Bowl trend to it. What we’re probably going to need ideally is Florida State to win by a touchdown.”

Mike Colbert, a former Las Vegas bookmaker, said Sunday he was expecting “an avalanche of sharp money coming in on the favorite,” and the line was moving from 9 to 10 at most books.

“Florida State is loaded. It’s the best team I’ve seen since the 2001 Miami team,” Colbert said. “I think the Seminoles may score every time they touch the ball, and they’ve probably got six NFL guys on their defense. I’m really high on them.”

Auburn beat Alabama and Georgia in stunning finishes on the way to the Southeastern Conference title. The Seminoles, behind redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston, are 13-0 with no margin of victory smaller than 14 points.

“Winston has got future star written all over him,” Colbert said.

In a poll of oddsmakers, handicappers and media conducted by the Las Vegas Review-Journal and “The Linemakers” on, 19 of 25 experts picked Florida State to win.

Bryan Leonard ( sided with the Seminoles by a 34-24 score, and said, “The Florida State defense is likely the most talented Auburn has faced all year.”

Contact reporter Matt Youmans at or 702-387-2907. Follow him on Twitter: @mattyoumans247.