- BetOnline’s opening CFP National Championship odds have Alabama as a +350 favorite
- Clemson (+400) and Ohio State (+650) will be without Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields next season
- Heisman frontrunner Spencer Rattler makes Oklahoma a value bet at +800
Given that Alabama has won six CFP National Championships in the past 12 years, getting them at +350 almost seems like a bargain. However, with all three of their Heisman candidates entering the NFL Draft after an undefeated season that saw them average 48.5 points per contest, this year’s iteration of the Crimson Tide will look nothing like the juggernaut that boat raced Ohio State in the national title game.
Let’s look at the opening odds for the 2021-22 college football season and discuss what schools might be in the mix for a national championship.
2022 NCAAF CHAMPIONSHIP ODDS
THE CHANGING TIDE
It has become commonplace for Alabama (+350) to lose its stars to the NFL Draft, but this year’s list of departing players is particularly jaw-dropping. Quarterback Mac Jones, who threw for 464 passing yards and five touchdowns in the national title game, Najee Harris, the SEC’s single-season record holder in total rushing and receiving touchdowns (30), and Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith have all played their last college game.
The Crimson Tide will also be without electric receiver Jaylen Waddle, cornerback Patrick Surtain II and offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, but it’s safe to say that Nick Saban will be adequately restocked and ready to take a run at his eighth-career national title.
DeVonta Smith set the SEC single-season receiving (1,856 yards) and touchdown (23) records. pic.twitter.com/1xYaCruUEF
— BamaOnLine (@BamaOnLine247) January 17, 2021
Trevor Lawrence is widely expected to go No. 1 overall to the Jaguars, but Clemson (+400) looks to have an adequate replacement in freshman D.J. Uiagalelei, who threw for 781 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions in the two games when Lawrence was sidelined with COVID-19.
Assuming their young defense improves and Dabo Swinney can avoid giving opponents bulletin-board material, the Tigers should be a lock for their seventh-straight CFP appearance.
OTHER TOP CONTENDERS
Georgia (+400) shares the same national title odds as Clemson despite its rich history of losing to Alabama. Optimism emanates from JT Daniels having a full season in Todd Monken’s air-raid attack after the USC transfer passed for 1,231 yards with 10 touchdowns in his four-game audition to close 2019. But it’s difficult to believe Kirby Smart will bring the Bulldogs to the promised land with just one playoff berth since the CFP format began in 2014-15.
Justin Fields has played his last snap for Ohio State (+650), but talented wide receiver Chris Olave just announced he’s returning for his senior year. Offensive wizard Ryan Day also has a few highly-recruited freshman quarterbacks ready to step in, so don’t expect the Buckeyes to fall off the face of the earth without Fields.
“Well, you see Trevor [Lawrence], you see Justin [Fields], you see Zach [Wilson] … It’s a QB sport. So whoever takes that snap, we have got to be right on.”
– Jaguars coach Urban Meyer on the 2021 QB Class pic.twitter.com/jxdbrCu2ke
— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) January 15, 2021
With three straight trips to the college football playoffs before this season and four in the past six years, Lincoln Riley’s resume makes Oklahoma (+800) a worthy wager. If their defense, a longstanding weakness, can continue to improve under coordinator Alex Grinch and QB Spencer Rattler is the Heisman contender that oddsmakers expect (currently a +350 favorite at BetOnline), the Sooners could take advantage of the turnover at Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State and win their first national championship in two decades.
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