Orange Bowl Odds
The 12th-ranked Florida State Seminoles (11-2) are all set to do battle with the 15th-ranked Northern Illinois Huskies (12-1) Tuesday, Jan. 1 at 8:30 PM ET in the Orange Bowl, which takes place at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, FL. Oddsmakers have listed the Florida State as a 13.0-point favorite and have set the total at 58.5.
Why Florida State Covers
Florida State is as good as any team in the country this year. It has the talent to beat Notre Dame or Alabama. It blew a 16-0 lead against NC State and a 20-13 lead against Florida or it would be playing from a national title.
Nine of Florida State’s 11 wins came by double-digit margins so it is no stretch to think it can cover this number. The Seminoles even handed 14th-ranked Clemson a 12-point loss.
Northern Illinois hasn’t played anyone as good as Clemson all season. We’re talking about a team that lost to a very poor Iowa squad and struggled to beat Army and Kansas.
The Huskies posted good offensive numbers this season, but they haven’t seen a defense even close to as good as the one they’ll see on New Year’s Day. Florida State ranks second in the nation in total defense with 253.4 yards allowed per game and seventh in scoring defense with 15.1 points allowed per contest. It has held its foes to 92.6 rushing yards and 160.8 passing yards per game.
The Northern Illinois defense showed well against MAC opponents, but it will have a tough time slowing down a Florida State offense that ranks 14th in the country in scoring with 39.9 points per game and 23rd in total offense with 466.0 yards per game.
The Huskies are 3-8-1 against the spread in their last 12 neutral site games while the Seminoles are 10-2-1 against the spread in their last 13 neutral site games. It is also worth noting that the Seminoles are 7-0-1 against the spread in their last eight bowl games.
Why Northern Illinois Covers
We’ve seen it before where a team that had its sights set on a bigger game didn’t show up in the bowl season. Motivation could be an issue for Florida State, which had its sights set on playing for a national title. The Seminoles definitely didn’t give Georgia Tech their full attention after losing to Florida, and that was a game to decide the ACC champion.
While the Seminoles had their sights set higher, this is like playing for a national championship for Northern Illinois. No one thinks they can win this game, and no one thinks they should be here. They have the luxury of playing with nothing to lose.
Florida State has been overvalued by oddsmakers all season. It is just 4-9 against the spread in all games and has failed to cover the number in each of its last four. The Seminoles have especially been overvalued on the road. They are 0-6 against the spread this season in games played away from home.
Northern Illinois, on the other hand, has been an exceptional investment. It is 9-2-2 against the number this season, including 5-1-1 against the spread in games played away from home.
I believe Florida State will prevail as the straight up winner of this game. View this page to see the rest of my bowl predictions. Find out who Brandon Lee and Jack Jones have winning the Orange Bowl as well.