#Betting101: Bama (Who Else?) Tops 2018 NCAAF Futures

Jason Lake

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 9:18 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018 9:18 PM UTC

The Alabama Crimson Tide are once again the champions of college football. And no surprise, the Crimson Tide are on top of the NCAAF odds list for next year’s FBS title.

College Football: 2018 FuturesFree NCAAF Pick: Penn State +1100Best Line Offered: Bovada

Everything happened exactly the way we drew it up here at the home office. Okay, the journey to Monday’s 26-23 victory by the Alabama Crimson Tide (-3.5) was filled with twists and turns, but in the end, the Georgia Bulldogs beat the college football odds. The Tide will have to console themselves with the national championship. And if we’re reading the consensus reports correctly, then yes, Alabama was the public choice in Monday’s matchup. They moved from -4 to -3.5 in the hours before kickoff, with 56-57 percent of bettors picking the favorites.

Which leads us to our next question: Are you ready for some college football?! The odds for next year’s championship are already on the NCAAF futures market at Bovada, and Alabama is the clear favorite at +275. The former champion Clemson Tigers are next at +600, with Georgia and the Ohio State Buckeyes in a third-place tie at +750.

There’s a good chance one of these four teams walks away with the title next year. But do any of them belong in your NCAAF picks? Maybe not the Tigers, at these odds. ESPN’s Football Power Index and Jeff Sagarin’s ratings at USA Today have the same five teams at the top of their season-ending charts:

1. Alabama
2. Ohio State
3. Georgia
4. Penn State
5. Clemson

Plenty will happen between now and the start of the 2018 campaign; Alabama will have to decide between quarterbacks Jalen Hurts and surprise hero Tua Tagovailoa, for example. But college football programs are generally more stable from year to year than what you’ll find in the NFL. Knowing nothing else about the sport, one can easily circle the Penn State Nittany Lions (+1100) as a potential “value” pick, even though they’re No. 6 on the odds list.

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Jalen Hurts is going to return home to find Jim Harbaugh sleeping in the front yard.

— we exorcised our a-demons on Addazio (@PV_GIA) January 9, 2018

Aside from Clemson, we also have to look sideways at the Michigan Wolverines. They’re ahead of Penn State at +900 to win the 2018-19 national championship, but Michigan is only No. 24 on the FPI and No. 26 on the Sagarin charts. Granted, Jim Harbaugh has a young collection of talented players who should take a step forward next year in the Big Ten. Will that step put Michigan ahead of Penn State, which just won the Fiesta Bowl and has a bright future under Head Coach James Franklin? We wouldn’t bet on it at these prices.

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