College football’s futures odds can be best to bet early in the year, maximizing value before some of its contenders begin notching their share of blowout wins. The latest prices from TheGreek.com for this year’s BCS National Champion have the Alabama Crimson Tide as 3/1 favorites, followed by the Oregon Ducks (13/2) and Ohio State Buckeyes (8/1).
Alabama has captured three titles over the last four years, with Nick Saban’s squad having the inside track once again here. The Crimson Tide won its last two championship games by a combined margin of 63-14, while registering just one SU loss during each regular season’s campaign.
Saban’s defense was ranked best in the nation last year, giving up 250 YPG and surrendering a stiny 10.9 PPG. Crimson Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron returns after tossing 30 touchdowns last year, averaging 209.5 YPG through the air.
Oregon has new head coach Mark Helfrich inheriting a group that nearly ran the table last year, logging its sole loss in a 17-14 home defeat to the Stanford Cardinal. The Ducks put up 49.6 PPG last year, while running back De’Anthony Thomas will see more action this year with the departure of standout Kenjon Barner.
Ohio State returns to action after last year’s postseason ban, following an undefeated regular season. Urban Meyer’s troops saw six of its 12 victories come by double digits, while ranking 10th nationally in rushing (242.7 YPG).
Long shots: Louisville, Florida State, Texas
The top three hopefuls could see some of its late-season positioning challenged by longer shots in other conferences. NCAAF betting shops list the Louisville Cardinals and Florida State Seminoles at 20/1, while the Texas Longhorns are 30/1 dark horses.
Louisville will spend its year in the American Athletic Conference, facing its share of familiar foes under its previous Big East banner. The Cardinals should have their share of fuel to get their last licks into this season’s slate of foes, which could translate into some high polling spots.
Florida State faces a challenging road spot in its Labor Day opener against the Pittsburgh Panthers, but could surge following a tight win there. Jimbo Fisher’s squad later faces its share of Atlantic Coast Conference foes, needing to get past the Miami Hurricanes (25/1) and Clemson Tigers (25/1).
Texas continued to see its glory days left behind with four losses in last year’s slate of action, making it 16 combined defeats for Mack Brown’s troops over its most recent three seasons.
The Longhorns could show some improvement this time around and at least have the potential to capture the Big 12 Conference title, while enough misfortune to rivals elsewhere could make David Ash and Co. worth backing for the BCS at a high price.