College football loves to pride itself on its unpredictable nature. Oddsmakers aren’t convinced this season is going to live up to that description. Alabama and Clemson have established themselves as firm co-favorites to win this year’s national title.
Betting on favorites isn’t fun, or all that profitable. It’s way more enjoyable to pluck the right long shot out of the mix and win big when they beat the odds. We’re not necessarily saying that’s the right play this year, but we’re here to give you advice on three long shots you might want to take a flyer on. None of these should be considered favorites over the Tigers and Crimson Tide, but each has a strong case to make why they should make the College Football Playoff. Once they get there, anything could happen.
Florida at 40:1 to win the National Title might be our favorite bet on the board. It might be a season too early to back Dan Mullen’s team for championship contention, but they’ve got a ton of talent in Gainesville.
Specifically, the development of quarterback Feleipe Franks last season really caught our attention. He looked lost before Mullen’s return to the Gators, but he transformed into a top-notch SEC signal caller by the end of the year. It might take a Heisman candidate type season for him to elevate the Gators to the College Football Playoff, but that’s within the realm of possibility.
The big question for the Gators is whether or not their defense can stand up when things matter most. There’s talent on that side of the ball, but this group isn’t up to the lofty standards set by Clemson and Alabama. Florida will need to score their way through their SEC schedule. Betting on Mullen’s ability to get his squad to do just that could pay big dividends when all is said and done.
Similar to the situation in Gainesville, this might be one too soon to believe that Texas is really ready to jump back into the national title picture. On the other hand, it looks like a bit of a down year for Oklahoma. That leaves a giant opportunity open for the Longhorns to seize control of the Big 12.
Obviously, any team that wins the Big 12 will have a strong opportunity to qualify for the College Football Playoff. That should be the goal for Tom Herman’s squad this fall. If Texas is truly going to return to the ranks of college football’s elite, they will lean heavily on the right arm of quarterback Sam Ehlinger.
The talented junior may not be Baker Mayfield’s favorite college player, but he’s got a ton of talent. His willingness to push the ball down the field made Texas really difficult to defend in 2018. If he takes another step forward in Herman’s offense we could be talking about him as a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate by the season’s end.
Oddsmakers slightly favor Oklahoma to win the Big 12, but backing Texas at 35:1 to win it all represents the better play. Roll the dice with the ‘Horns if you want to take a shot at big money this year.
We always like to give you a serious long shot to wager on and the Ducks absolutely qualify. Mario Cristobal’s team enters the season with 55:1 odds of winning it all. That presents you with a solid opportunity to wager a relatively small amount of money and win big bucks.
Justin Herbert’s decision to return to Oregon for his senior season is really what puts his team in a position to dream about a national title. Curiously, draft experts seem to have soured on the dual-threat quarterback as of late. He has a big opportunity to push his draft stock up with a big final season in the Pac-12.
If Oregon are going to win their conference, they’ll need to score a boat load of points. Herbert may not be the perfect pro prospect, but he’s already shown the ability to be a high-quality college quarterback. If a few of his skill guys can step up in 2019, he’s got a chance to put up video game numbers on the West Coast.
The lack of difference makers on the defensive side of the ball for the Ducks is a concern. They’ll need a few lucky breaks to get into the Playoff, but their path towards the final four is pretty easy to construct. If you believe Oregon will win the Pac-12, then betting on them to win it all with such long odds is a wise gamble. Don’t fall for the East Coast bias. Make a modest bet on Oregon and see if they can run through the relatively weak Pac-12 all to college football’s final four. If that happens, Herbert is the sort of quarterback who can get hot enough to lift his teammates to a national title.