College Football Playoff Odds: Complete Breakdown of the Most Likely CFP Scenarios Moving Forward
College Football Playoff Odds: Complete Breakdown of the Most Likely CFP Scenarios Moving Forward
The college football betting regular season is officially in the books. On Tuesday night, the College Football Playoff committee unveiled the latest Top 25 rankings ahead of this weekend’s conference championship games. In previous years, fans and bettors had a pretty good idea of which teams would ultimately qualify for the four-team playoff. Depending on who you ask, that same narrative is true again this season. In reality, the potential for complete and utter chaos still exists even with the regular season now complete.
Of course, if the higher ranked teams all take care of business in their respective conference title games this weekend, said chaos would fail to materialize. But what if they don’t? What if one, two, or even three of the “playoff locks” fail to win their conference championship? If this were to happen, several teams considered to have “no chance” might suddenly be brought back into play. Even teams who are not playing on championship weekend might suddenly have a shot to sneak into the top four.
The college football betting odds have already moved a great deal from before Tuesday night’s rankings were released to now. While getting inside the heads of the almighty committee is next to impossible, bettors can analyze any number of hypothetical scenarios when trying to decide if a given team’s College Football Playoff odds hold value.
The following article will attempt to do just that. Read on for the updated betting odds to win the College Football Playoff National Championship after Tuesday’s rankings release. Along with each school’s odds is the projected scenario that would need to play out for them to ultimately wind up among the top four in the rankings come Sunday.
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College Football Playoff Odds, Team Outlooks and Scenarios
Georgia Bulldogs College Football Playoff Odds
Kirby Smart and Georgia enter conference championship weekend as odds-on favorites to win the College Football Playoff National Championship. With a perfect record, perhaps the most ferocious defense the NCAA has ever seen, and their typical loaded stable of running backs, the Bulldogs certainly look the part of a national champion. Georgia has held down the top spot in the CFP Committee Rankings every week thus far. A win over Alabama in Saturday’s SEC Championship Game will ensure that they have their choice of site for the national semifinal. Even if Georgia loses to the Crimson Tide this week, it’s hard to envision them falling out of the top four altogether.
Bettors looking to jump on Georgia and their dominant defense can find the best odds at PointsBet. Competitors in the college football betting market have the Bulldogs as high as -250 to win the national title.
Alabama Crimson Tide College Football Playoff Odds
It is somewhat interesting to see Alabama lingering as the second choice behind Georgia in the College Football Playoff betting odds. At 8-1, bettors can net a decent return on Nick Saban’s perennial powerhouse program. However, that potential return does not come without significant risk. Should the Crimson Tide lose to Georgia in the SEC title game, there is a real possibility that they will wind up on the outside of the playoff looking in. Of course, some of that will depend on the results of other conference championship games, as well as the nature of Alabama’s hypothetical loss. No two-loss team has ever made the CFP since its inception. Given that ‘Bama has struggled against several SEC opponents this season, Saturday’s SEC Championship looms much larger for Bryce Young and Co. in terms of significance than it does Georgia.
Currently, the optimal +800 College Football Playoff odds on Alabama can be obtained at FanDuel. Other sportsbooks list the Tide as low as +550.
Michigan Wolverines College Football Playoff Odds
After knocking off rival Ohio State last weekend, Michigan vaulted up to No. 2 in this week’s penultimate CFP Committee Rankings. The Wolverines’ betting odds took a massive tumble as well. Jim Harbaugh’s team is now firmly in the driver’s seat when it comes to claiming the top four spot that ultimately feels reserved for the Big Ten Conference. Michigan is currently a double-digit favorite over Iowa ahead of Saturday’s Big Ten Championship Game. A win and the Wolverines will be locked into the College Football Playoff. They are in complete control of their own destiny. However, solving the Hawkeyes’ defense won’t be easy.
Both FanDuel and Caesars list Michigan’s College Football Playoff betting odds at +900. That number carries far more value than some other sportsbooks in the market that currently list the Wolverines as low as +450.
Oklahoma State Cowboys College Football Playoff Odds
After toppling rival Oklahoma last week in the latest installment of Bedlam, Mike Gundy and Oklahoma State lept up from No. 7 to No. 5 in this week’s committee rankings. With a matchup against another top-10 opponent in Baylor on deck in Saturday’s Big 12 Championship Game, there is a widespread belief that all the Cowboys have to do is win that game to qualify for the playoff. For all of the hype surrounding Georgia’s defense, the Pokes have quietly assembled a championship-caliber D of their own in Stillwater.
Those looking to bet on Oklahoma State to win the College Football Playoff should target the +1700 odds at PointsBet.
Cincinnati Bearcats College Football Playoff Odds
Luke Fickell and Cincinnati have been in the spotlight all season as they try to become the first non-Power 5 school to crash the College Football Playoff party. The Bearcats have passed every test thrown at them to date. They will get another tough one in the form of a one-loss Houston team in Saturday’s American Athletic Conference title game. Nippert Stadium figures to be rocking as UC hosts the game. While a win is most certainly required for Cincinnati to make the playoff, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll automatically get in. They may be a top-four team now, but one has to believe that the CFP committee will keep the Bearcats out if given an opportunity to do so. Cincinnati will be cheering for losses by Oklahoma State and Alabama on Saturday as well.
Both Unibet and SugarHouse are offering the best price on Cincinnati to win the College Football Playoff at +2000.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish College Football Playoff Odds
Even though Notre Dame is still ranked No. 6 in this week’s CFP Committee Rankings, the Fighting Irish feel more like a placeholder than a serious contender. As an FBS Independent, Notre Dame does not have a conference title game with which to add to their resume this weekend. Furthermore, the Irish’s resume lacks a single high-quality win. Beating Wisconsin as their best win doesn’t cut it, especially when they also lost by double-digits at home to fellow playoff contender, Cincinnati. Oh, and the committee actually seemed to suggest that the departure of head coach Brian Kelly to LSU will work against Notre Dame’s chances to get in regardless of what might happen in the games this weekend.
Bettors who wish to take a flier on Notre Dame can find the best 33-1 college football betting odds at Unibet and SugarHouse.
Iowa Hawkeyes College Football Playoff Odds
After Notre Dame, it would take widespread chaos for any other team to sneak into the top four. While the betting odds reflect this, there is a real possibility for said chaos to ensue in this weekend’s conference title games. As a result, several two-loss teams still have hope. Iowa leads this pack of longshots at 200-1 odds. A win over Michigan in the Big Ten title game on Saturday would put the Hawkeyes firmly in the conversation for a playoff spot. They would join both the Wolverines and Ohio State with two losses while also having a conference championship on their resume. The Big Ten is all but guaranteed at least one spot in the CFP annually. Along with needing to win themselves, losses by Alabama, Cincinnati, Oklahoma State and Oregon would also aid Iowa’s chances.
The +20000 College Football Playoff futures odds available on Iowa are certainly more profitable than a rolling parlay on the Hawkeyes should they advance. Bettors can find this price at FanDuel, BetMGM and Borgata.
Pittsburgh Panthers College Football Playoff Odds
In what has been a down season for the ACC as a league, only the winner of Saturday’s conference title game will have even an outside shot at sneaking into the playoff. Pittsburgh is a small favorite over Wake Forest in that game and would need plenty of additional help to get in. The Panthers were ranked No. 15 in the latest CFP Committee Rankings. Losses by Alabama, Cincinnati and virtually all other longshot hopefuls would be needed for Pitt to have a chance. Still, with Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Ole Miss all sporting better resumes and higher rankings, even the perfect string of results may not be enough.
Favorable 200-1 College Football Playoff betting odds on Pittsburgh are currently available at both FanDuel and Caesars.
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Wake Forest Demon Deacons College Football Playoff Odds
The scenario ahead of conference championship weekend for Wake Forest is essentially the same as it is for their ACC title game opponent, Pittsburgh. The Demon Deacons must win the ACC Championship in as impressive a fashion as possible. Then, they need to hope that Alabama, Cincinnati, Iowa and Oregon all lose. While it still likely won’t be enough for the No. 16 team in the country ahead of Week 14, it sure would be wild to see Sam Hartman lead the nation’s No. 2 scoring offense (43.1 points per game) against Georgia in a CFP semifinal.
Those who wish to take a stab on Wake Forest can obtain optimal +20000 odds at any of DraftKings, Caesars or bet365.
Baylor Bears College Football Playoff Odds
Baylor is actually one of the College Football Playoff betting longshots that might offer the most upside based on the conference championship scenarios. The Bears’ only two losses this season came by two points to TCU and by 10 to the same Oklahoma State team they will face in Saturday’s Big 12 title game. Not only would a conference championship bolster the Bears’ resume, but they would avenge one of their losses in the process. After that, Baylor would root against fellow contenders like Alabama, Cincinnati, Iowa and Oregon.
The best odds of 250-1 on Baylor are available at both Unibet and SugarHouse. Bettors should take care to avoid playing the Bears at PointsBet where their College Football Playoff betting odds are only 100-1.
Ole Miss Rebels College Football Playoff Odds
At 250-1, Ole Miss has the second-shortest college football betting odds behind Notre Dame of any team not playing in a conference title game this weekend. Lane Kiffin and Matt Corral led the Rebels to the first 10-win regular season in school history this year. A bad Alabama loss in the SEC title game would most certainly be required for Ole Miss to have a shot of sneaking into the playoff. Even then, making the case for the Rebels over the Crimson Tide as the second choice in the SEC would be difficult based on their head-to-head loss. Elsewhere, Ole Miss would be rooting against Cincinnati but for Michigan and Oklahoma State to avoid being jumped by Iowa or Baylor. They would also benefit from an Oregon loss at which point the fourth spot in the playoff would be a total wild card.
The best price on Ole Miss to win the College Football Playoff can currently be found in the +25000 odds at bet365.
Oregon Ducks College Football Playoff Odds
Among the teams priced at 300-1 or longer, Oregon has the most realistic path to the College Football Playoff. Much like Baylor’s scenario in the Big 12 title game, the Ducks would effectively avenge one of their two regular-season losses should they beat Utah on Friday night. They would add a Pac-12 championship to their playoff resume in the process. Oregon also figures to have an edge over idle Ohio State by virtue of their head-to-head victory. Assuming Mario Cristobal and the Ducks get the job done on Friday, they will spend Saturday rooting for losses by Alabama, Cincinnati, Baylor and Iowa. It would be extra helpful if Alabama’s loss comes in a blowout fashion.
Oregon bettors should seek out favorable +30000 odds at any of FanDuel, BetMGM or Borgata. Despite all of the media headlines and public perception being that the Pac-12 has already cannibalized itself yet again, the Ducks are still in the running for a playoff spot.
Ohio State Buckeyes College Football Playoff Odds
After losing to Michigan in convincing fashion last weekend, the Buckeyes’ College Football Playoff hopes were all but dashed. An Iowa win over the Wolverines in Saturday’s Big Ten title game is probably the only way Ohio State gets back into the playoff discussion. The other avenue would require total chaos across the conference championship games, which the Buckeyes would need anyways. Losses by Alabama, Cincinnati, Oklahoma State and Oregon would all figure to help the cause.
The fact that they don’t have the opportunity to improve their standing in the Big Ten title game hurts Ohio State’s chances. While the +30000 betting odds do not offer as much upside as the same price on Oregon, they do offer much more value over competing sportsbooks. Unibet and SugarHouse offer the preferred number while Caesars still has the Buckeyes all the way down at 60-1.
Oklahoma Sooners College Football Playoff Odds
Of the three two-loss teams ranked in the top-15 who are not playing in their respective conference championship game this weekend, Oklahoma is clearly the least likely to make the playoff. The problem stems directly from their own Big 12 Conference. Whether Oklahoma State or Baylor win Saturday’s title game, both schools would finish as a two-loss conference champion. Both also have a head-to-head win over the Sooners this season, meaning OU’s chances of leap-frogging either one are essentially none. The only other avenue would be via widespread chaos, but the nod would clearly go to Notre Dame, Ohio State, Ole Miss or even the ACC champion in that scenario.
Utah Utes College Football Playoff Odds
The final team with any sort of a prayer to qualify for the College Football Playoff is Utah. That being said, the Utes will need more than a Hail Mary considering that no two-loss team has ever made the CFP before, let alone one with three defeats. The perfect scenario for Kyle Whittingham’s bunch is a dominant win over Oregon in the Pac-12 title game and losses by Alabama, Cincinnati, Baylor and Iowa. That would leave one spot up for grabs at which point the committee would have to decide between a three-loss Power 5 champion or a team that didn’t play in a championship game with fewer total losses.
Henry has had a passion for sports that few can match for as long as he can remember. What started out as a five-year-old taking interest in the New York Jets and their green jerseys has since become a full-fledged career as a writer and sports betting analyst. His coverage primarily includes the NFL, MLB, NBA, NASCAR, college football, and college basketball. In 2020, he ranked among the top-10 most accurate experts ATS in the BettingPros NFL season contest. You can follow Henry’s sports work on Twitter and other social media platforms @HankTimeSports.