College Football Spring 2018: Top QB Battles with Betting Futures

alabama quarterback

Jay Pryce

Friday, April 13, 2018 1:23 PM GMT

Friday, Apr. 13, 2018 1:23 PM GMT

The upcoming 2018 college football season is intriguing on many levels. A number of top programs are unsure of their starting quarterback, making betting futures and spring practices captivating.

The top five betting choices to win the CFP National Championship next season at 5Dimes sportsbook include Alabama (+225), Clemson (+590), Ohio State (+750), Georgia (+900), and Michigan (+1900). Each program has some sort of quarterback issue brewing. False favorites? This might be the best chance in years to knock off one of these recruiting powerhouses for a title.

At Alabama, head coach Nick Saban is reportedly considering a two-quarterback system after Jalen Hurts, who is 27-2 SU (15-13-1 ATS) as a starter, seemingly lost his job in the second half of the Crimson Tide’s title game against Georgia after then-freshman Tua Tagovailoa came off the bench to lead the team to a 26-23 overtime victory. The situation in Tuscaloosa is rarely this delicate under center. Defense is Saban’s bread-and-butter, but the offense needs to do its part. Since taking over in 2016, 15 of Saban’s 20 losses have come when scoring fewer than 30 points in a game. Alabama is 35-15 SU and 15-35 ATS in these contests.

Clemson’s quarterback situation is the most settled out of the five favorites with Kelly Bryant atop the depth chart, but he will likely have a short leash throughout the season. Waiting their turn are freshman Trevor Lawrence, the No. 2 prospect in the country, and sophomore Hunter Johnson. Both present Deshaun Watson-esque playmaking abilities under center — something Bryant lacks. The senior’s numbers last year hardly jump off the page, tossing for 2,802 yards, 13 TDs, and 8 INTs.

For Ohio State, sophomore Dwayne Haskins appears ready to take the torch from J.T. Barrett. Haskins completed 70.2 percent of his passes while tossing 4 TDs and an interception as a backup last season. This included coming off the bench to help guide the Buckeyes to a 31-20 win over rivals Michigan. The biggest challenge for the Buckeyes is unfamiliarity. Barrett attempted a pass in nearly two-thirds of all the games Urban Meyer has coached in Columbus, winning 44 of 50 contests. Coach is 29-2 SU in all others.

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Georgia has the No.1 prospect in the country with quarterback Justin Fields. The five-star, dual-threat superstar possesses better all-around tools than sophomore Jake Fromm. But can head coach Kirby Smart bench a guy who led the team to the national title game? Don’t count it out. The bigger issue, however, is the fact the Bulldogs have to replace up to eight first-teamers on a defense that ranked sixth in points (16.4) and total yards allowed last season (294.9).

Will Shea Patterson play for Michigan or not? This is Jim Harbaugh’s biggest concern after coming off a career-worst 8-5 season. Patterson, a five-star passer who put in two years at Ole Miss, is taking first-team reps in spring practices and going about business as usual despite the NCAA yet to rule whether he is eligible to claim a waiver and play right away. Attorneys in the case project a better than 75 percent chance. Harbaugh is certainly sweating. Michigan quarterbacks tossed 9 TDs last season, the fewest for the program since 1975. Harbaugh’s three other scholarship options own four collegiate starts combined.

Other quarterback challenges facing national title contenders include Oklahoma (+3000) looking to replace Heisman winner Baker Mayfield. Sophomore Kyler Murray is penciled in as the starter, but is splitting time in the spring between tossing the pigskin and playing on the baseball team. College football at this level is a 365-day commitment, and it would prove beneficial and reassuring if Murray focused on one sport. State rivals Oklahoma State (+13000) and Pac-12 powerhouse USC (+5000) have open battles to replace Mason Rudolph and Sam Darnold, respectively, among other contenders.

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