- Clemson is the favorite to repeat as college football’s National Champion in 2020.
- Alabama is the only teams besides Clemson that’s shorter than +1200.
- That means there is plenty of value outside the top two.
The College Football Playoff just ended and it’s a long eight months before there is another meaningful game, but before you completely forget about everything you learned during the campaign, consider a small futures bet now on next season.
Why? If you aren’t tying up a big piece of your bankroll, you’ll remember what just took place now a lot better than in six months.
If you are betting on anybody outside of Clemson and Alabama, you might have more insight now from watching games and putting in the leg work than other people who focus on the playoff. Bet while the odds are high. Once people start studying over the summer, they may discover how strong the team you like is.
While rosters change, and coaches move, it is worth remembering what happened in 2018. Projecting what is going to happen next year is all about evaluating last year while factoring in additions, subtractions, and understanding which teams have the schedules that are conducive to making a run (i.e. easy enough to finish with no more than one loss, but hard enough to earn the credibility it requires to be selected to the bracket).
Let’s look at the opening odds and evaluate a few teams. The odds below are from BetOnline.
Opening Odds to Win 2020 College Football Playoff
|Team||Odds to Win 2020 College Football Playoff from BetOnline (Jan. 8)|
Clemson and Alabama, the two dominant teams in college football for the last several years, are the huge favorites, and deservedly so. They mostly tower over their ACC and SEC rivals. While there is a strong chance they will meet again for the title, a year out we can not recommend taking an implied probability 28.6-percent on the Tide, or 33-percent on Clemson.
A lot can happen between now and the title game next season, and we are looking for value. That said, these team’s have special QB’s that will be hard to deny.
While Alabama is the dominant program, Georgia took them to the wire in the SEC Championship Game, and the two programs have distanced themselves from the rest of the top league in the nation.
Heisman Trophy-runner up Tua Tagovailoa will be back for the Tide, while Georgia’s Jake Fromm took huge steps forward this year, and is among the best signal callers in the country.
Though Alabama is a huge favorite, UGA has a top-three recruiting class and returns most of an excellent defense. At 12/1, there is more value on the Dawgs than the Tide.
Nobody is going to compete seriously with Clemson. Syracuse had their best season since Donovan McNabb, and coach Dino Babers is highly amusing in addition to being successful, but the Tigers own this conference.
Though they didn’t get a team into the playoff, many experts thought the Big Ten, or at least the East Division, was the second-best league this past season. Ohio State finished ranked third, and Michigan mostly played well though it was a bumpy ride.
We can’t put money on a program transitioning from Urban Meyer, an all time great. Jim Harbaugh and Michigan on the other hand bring back most of their offense, and have their most difficult games at home in 2019.
Though Oklahoma made the College Football Playoff, it is almost impossible to imagine the defense – which was one of the worst in the country – improving enough to contain Clemson or Alabama in a potential title game. For the second straight year, they lose a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback. Austin Kendall may be as good as Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, but we need to see it to believe it.
On the flip side, Tom Herman did a terrific job at Houston, improved from seven wins to 10 in his second year at Texas, and walloped Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. The Horns return quarterback Sam Ehlinger and will have a strong receiving core. The cause for concern is that their 2018 wins tended to be close, and they were outgained for the season by their opponents.
It may be another long year for the Big 12.
In the five-year history of the College Football Playoff, the Pac-12 has earned just two bids and won one game. The league has been irrelevant for most of the past two seasons.
However, the surprise return of Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert for his senior season makes the Ducks intriguing. He’s among the top signal callers in the country and a major draft prospect.
In addition to Herbert, the offense is mostly back and the nation’s top recruit, Kayvon Thibodeaux, should bolster the defense immediately.
With all due respect to the Group of 5, they haven’t gotten a bid to the playoff yet, and betting on one taking place doesn’t seem wise.
As for independent’s, Notre Dame’s performance in this year’s playoff isn’t going to help. The Irish have most of their offense back, but the defense needs help, and their schedule looks tough.
Georgia and Oregon have good quarterbacks and enough returning that they justify their lofty prices. We’re going to nibble on the Dawgs and Ducks.