Early Odds On Who Will Make The NCAA College Football Playoff

  • BetOnline has released odds on what schools will make the NCAA’s 2019-20 College Football Playoff
  • Alabama (-250) and Clemson (-250) are, predictably, heavy favorites to reach the final four
  • Georgia (+110), Oklahoma (+145), and Ohio State (+160) are top contenders, as well

For a solid decade before the introduction of the College Football Playoff, all anyone would talk about is why the NCAA absolutely needed a playoff system to crown a national champion. Well, with the CFP’s four-team semifinals now entering its sixth year in existence, the new rallying cry has become: “We must expand the college football playoff.”

The lesson, of course, is whether the tournament contains four, eight or 16 schools, fans will never be satisfied with a system where a bunch of old white guys lock themselves in a room before arbitrarily declaring who the best teams are. (See 68-team March Madness selection process for proof.)

However, the somewhat predictable arrangement is perfect for the kind of people who like to place bets on such things. Without further ado, let’s look at BetOnline‘s college football futures to see which schools are favored to make the CFP next year.

Odds to Make 4-Team College Football Playoffs

Teams “Yes” odds at BetOnline “No” odds at BetOnline
Alabama -250 +195
Clemson -250 +195
Georgia +110 -140
Michigan +300 -400
Notre Dame +300 -400
Ohio State +160 -200
Oklahoma +145 -175
Texas +350 -500

*All odds taken on 05/07/19

The Sure Things: Alabama (-250) and Clemson (-250)

Shelling out $250 to win a $100 is admittedly way less fun than backing a big underdog, but betting on these two schools is one of the safest investments you can find. The Crimson Tide have been in every College Football Playoff since the tournament format started in 2014, and Clemson has appeared in four straight.

With the schools led by Heisman-favorite quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence and Tua Tagovailoa, ESPN’s Playoff Predictor gives the Tigers an 83-percent chance to reach the playoff, with Alabama close behind at 71 percent.

Let’s face it, unless Dabo Swinney decides to start smoking cigars in the locker room after signing his massive 10-year, $93-million contract extension, and unless actress Lori Loughlin bribes Alabama to start her daughter at running back, these teams will be in the playoffs.

Bad Bets: Michigan (+300) and Notre Dame (+300)

Expectations seem awfully high in Ann Arbor despite the team losing four of their top defensive players (LB Devin Bush, DE Rashan Gary, LB Chase Winovich, CB David Long) to the NFL Draft.

Much of this optimism seems to be coming from the Wolverines returning a bunch of starters on offense, and Jim Harbaugh handing the keys over to offensive coordinator Josh Gattis; but don’t expect quarterback Shea Patterson to suddenly light it up in his senior year.

The Fighting Irish also lost some key defenders to the NFL and have a returning senior quarterback of their own in Ian Book, who looked good in spring action. But, with Georgia, Virginia, Michigan, USC and Stanford all on their schedule, don’t bet on Notre Dame making a return trip to the final four.

Good Bets: Ohio State (+160) and Oklahoma (+145)

These schools are my picks to join Alabama and Clemson in the CFP semifinals.

Oklahoma is gunning to return to the playoff for the third consecutive season and fourth in the past five years, while Ohio State looks to end a two-year drought.

While Georgia and junior quarterback Jake Fromm (a serious Heisman candidate himself) shouldn’t be overlooked, the Bulldogs are missing three of their top receiving threats from 2018 and simply don’t have the same offensive infrastructure in place as the Buckeyes and Sooners.

Both those schools will be starting star transfers at quarterback, Justin Fields and Jalen Hurts, and they are led by two of the top offensive minds in the country in Ryan Day and Lincoln Riley.

They are not locks like Bama and Clemson, but they are good value at plus money.

Steve Dominey

Steve has almost 15 years of experience in marketing, PR and sports television. After acquiring a Journalism degree from Carleton University, he assembled highlight packs for Canada's most-watched sports network (TSN) before transitioning to a career in communications. He describes himself as a good father, great dog owner, and mediocre gambler and husband.