Then there were four... Alabama, Clemson, Michigan State and Oklahoma. Which team is the best college football pick to win it all when all is said and done in college football betting this season?
College Football Playoff Rankings Released
The college football playoff committee has released its rankings/seedings for the four remaining contenders in the pivotal playoff hunt. They are as follows: No.1 Clemson, No.2 Alabama, No.3 Michigan State and No.4 Oklahoma.
Those rankings fall in line with each team’s season, as highlighted by table 1.
Table 1: Team Records and Winning Streaks
In spite of the careful seeding process by the playoff committee, it’s quite clear odds makers have other ideas about which team is the favorite to win it all. In table 2, we look at a comprehensive serving of college football odds currently (12/08) trading at various contributing sportsbooks at SBR.
Table 2: College Football Odds To Win National Championship
Across the board, Alabama emerge as the top college football pick to win it all, trading on the favorite side of EVEN money. The best prices currently available are at 5Dimes and Heritage, where Alabama is priced at -105 and -108, respectively.
Top seeded Clemson are trading as the third overall favorites with the most tempting price tag on tap at 5Dimes. They trail behind fourth seed Oklahoma on the college odds board, who are priced at +250 at bet365 and just a touch ahead of third seed Michigan State trading at a whopping high of +825 at 5Dimes.
Playoff Semifinal Forecast and College Football Odds
Orange Bowl: Clemson Tigers vs. Oklahoma Sooners
The Clemson Tigers have had an unbelievable season behind an undefeated 13-0 SU mark, which includes an 8-0 SU conference record and is comprised of an 18.2 winning margin on average and a plus 2.3-differential against the spread. They are, however, just 6-7 ATS on the season and 8-5 in O/U betting.
What makes the Tigers deserving of their top credentials by the playoff committee is three Top 10 wins, over and above their undefeated record for the season. However, there are those that would be sceptical nonetheless because the ACC isn’t exactly the toughest conference of the lot. In fact, the ACC is considered significantly weaker than the Big 12, which is stacked with offensive-minded teams and respected heavyweights.
That sentiment spills forth into Orange Bowl betting markets that send the Tigers on the disadvantage into their semi-final showdown with the Oklahoma Sooners.
Not only are the Sooners coming out of a tough Big 12 Conference, but they really put the hammer down since the lone hiccup on their season eight weeks back, after which they reeled off seven wins in a row with an exclamation point. Outscoring opponents 364-136 combined over the course of their winning streak down the stretch and sending Baylor, TCU and Oklahoma State packing to boot. Overall, the Sooners are 12-1 SU and 9-3 ATS for the season with a 25.0-winning margin on average –the highest in college land. They also boast a plus 9.1-point differential against the spread.
By these stats, it’s understandable then why the Sooners are trading as the firm favorites to win outright: at -180 college football odds to win SU and as the 3.5-point faves against the spread.
Indeed, there are those college bettors that have Oklahoma Sooners as their choice football pick to win the national championship altogether simply because of having the best PPG margin of +25.
As well, ESPN Power FPI rankings, which are a measure of a team’s strength, list Oklahoma as the top team in their FPI rankings with a 27.9 FPI. (See Table 3).
Table 3: ESPN Projections
Cotton Bowl: Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Michigan State Spartans
The Alabama Crimson Tide are riding high on the College Football odds board as the favorites to win outright. Indeed, they’ve maintained the position since knocking off Ohio State from top spot in mid-November.
Predictably, the Crimson Tide enter the Cotton Bowl betting markets as the outright favorites to win: they are matched at -360 football odds in straight up betting markets and as the 9.5-point faves against the spread.
On the season, the Tide finished with a 12-1 SU mark and a 7-6 ATS mark, which includes a 19.7-point winning margin on average and a plus 3.4-point differential against the spread.
Michigan State Spartans are the quintessential long shots in the semi-final field, despite ranking third overall by the playoff committee. They’re riding a four-game winning streak into the Cotton Bowl, which includes knocking off Ohio State and Iowa in two of their last three games. As such, tt would be a big mistake to discredit the Spartans out of hand; not to mention they are 12-1 SU on the season with an average of 11.6 winning margin and a plus 1.8 differential against the spread.
College Football Betting Verdict
Although odds makers favor Alabama Crimson Tide to win it all on the college football odds board, the National Championship is wide open and up for grabs by any of these four teams. It would appear that the college betting trends and various statistical measures all point to Oklahoma Soomers as the value college football pick.