Looking for college football championship odds updates? Find them here, including picks, playoff predictions, and our thoughts on current futures betting value.
College football bowl projections are abound this week as the season enters the halfway point this Saturday. Almost every major American sports publication took a swipe at guessing the nearly 40 bowl matchups that await fans at the end of the year. For bettors, the National Championship is the main concern with most online sports books offering updated futures prices on a weekly basis. Let's take a look at the best value on the board, as well as updated odds entering Week 6.
Why did we not list more offerings than shown above? Because no program has won the title outside of the top 10 listings after Week 5 in the last decade or more. So, think twice if considering a wager that undefeated No. 12 Nebraska (+10000) or No. 13 Baylor (+8000) will win it all, even at a price.
Honestly, it's hard to look past the favorites on the board: No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Ohio State. The nature of college football is that talent rises to the top in the end, and these two have pulled in the best recruiting classes in each of the last few years. What makes a futures bet against either one even tougher to stomach is that many of their closest recruiting competitors are all out of sorts this year: Florida State, LSU, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Georgia, Auburn, USC, and Florida.
Picking up both Alabama (+175) and Ohio State (+400) is worth it considering hedge potential later. The playoff format makes handicapping a bit easier in the sense that you can narrow down potential champions to a foursome. Futures bets are no longer decided by particular bowl invites and press voting.
The probability that each of these two teams make it into the final four, and that one or both play in the championship game are high. We wrote about how the Crimson Tide are likely the only team in the nation that can lose two games and still reach the playoffs—not that they look like they will. The playoff committee tends to lean on groupings rather than individual team efforts. So a one-loss team from a Power 5 conference will almost always get in before any two-loss team. Only a SEC school can warrant consideration otherwise.
What about the Buckeyes? The Big Ten is watered down and Ohio State is favored in its toughest game at home against rivals No. 4 Michigan. Both play in the same division, so the winner of that game will play in the conference title game. If the Buckeyes lose, and it's the only blemish on their record, a playoff invite is still a possibility given the big 45-24 road win at Oklahoma. A lot depends on No.6 Houston. If the Cougars go undefeated then they're in given their record against top programs; a loss to No. 7 Louisville may be a roadblock. Ohio State's victory over the Sooners, a common opponent, was more impressive.
The ACC will definitely see a team in with strong performances across the board, but likely only one. The Big 12 is all but out of the picture with no conference championship game and its best teams carrying two losses each. The Pac-12 is still open, but even a one-loss team could be ignored like Stanford last season given the conference's strength this year. It is 5-5 against Power 5 opponents this year, going 1-5 against the Big Ten and SEC combined.
No. 3 Clemson can make it to the title game again, but +450 odds is too short a price considering the circumstances. No. 8 Texas A&M may hold the best value on the board at +2000 odds with strong talent across the team. It will need Alabama to slip up, which isn't likely to happen. Hedge the two faves. One or both will play for the title.