2024 College Football Odds: Transfer Portal Rankings Vs. Futures

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Written By Brett Gibbons | Last Updated
college football transfer rankings

Transfer portal rankings are a way of life in modern college football. Teams have taken huge swings on roster building through the portal and succeeded. Others have taken equally big swings and failed. The transfer portal provides teams a seemingly quick fix to a poor roster and an opportunity to bolster rosters on the verge of serious contention.

But it’s also the bane of many’s existence. Smaller schools may become feeder programs for larger schools. It also adds a complex layer of self-recruiting that’s driven head coaches away from their post like Chip Kelly, Shawn Elliott, and Kane Womack.

For bettors, a keen feel for the transfer portal can provide serious value for college football odds. After all, transfer portal rankings are a subjective assessment of what a team brings in.

College Football Transfer Rankings Vs. Futures Odds

College football transfer rankings are courtesy of 247Sports. National title odds and win totals are pulled from DraftKings Sportsbook and are accurate as of May 8. Both are subject to change.

Top Transfer Classes

Transfer RankTeamTitle OddsWin Total (Over price)
1Ole Miss+15009.5 (+100)
2Oregon+90010.5 (+110)
3Texas A&M+35008.5 (-120)
4Alabama+14009.5 (+130)
5Texas+70010.5 (+150)
6Florida State+22009.5 (-110)
7Colorado+200005.5 (-115)
8Ohio State+42510.5 (-135)
9Washington+100007.5 (+100)
10Florida+200004.5 (-140)

Not all classes are built equal. While Ohio State ranks eighth, they signed just six transfers, compared to the average 19.4 signees from the other nine teams. The Buckeyes bring in the No. 1 player in the portal, safety Caleb Downs, back Quinshon Judkins – who rushed for over 2,600 yards in the last two seasons combined – and five-star freshman QB Julian Sayin. They also projected starter Will Howard from Kansas State.

By comparison, Colorado signed 38 transfers, bringing its two-year total to 89 transfers signed. But rankings go beyond just who you bring in, they also factor in who heads out. The Buffaloes lost 99 players to the portal in the last two years. Coach Deion Sanders was quoted as using the portal like free agency. The results? A 4-8 season last year and an offseason filled with controversy and public chastising.

Ole Miss owns the No. 1 transfer class and saw its futures odds move the most among these teams. At open, the Rebels were lined at +2600 to win the championship (now ). Early action on Ole Miss influenced the line, but defensive additions gave bettors the confidence to take a flier. They bring in two high-profile defensive linemen, Walter Nolen and Princely Umanmielen, and six total projected defensive starters.

Worst Transfer Classes Among Contenders

Transfer RankTeamTitle OddsWin Total (Over price)
N/AClemson+28009.5 (+110)
79Michigan+20009 (-125)
68Kansas State+70009.5 (+125)
42LSU+14009 (-105)

There is a third approach to the transfer portal: Resistance. Dabo Swinney has been a public opponent of the transfer portal, taking on two total transfers in the last three cycles. This year, Clemson took no transfers. A consequence of refusing to take transfers has seen Clemson marginally decline in quality over the last few years. Last year, the Tigers failed to win 10 games for the first time since 2010 (Swinney’s second season), and their Playoff drought – which at one point was a six-year streak – is entering Year 4.

Michigan saw 14 transfers leave following Jim Harbaugh’s departure for the NFL. As a result, the Wolverines rank 79th at 247Sports in transfer and 19th in recruiting. LSU, a year after signing the fifth-ranked transfer class, fell to 42nd, signing just seven transfers. Kansas State has never been a transfer hotspot but it did land Colorado breakout back Dylan Edwards late in the cycle.

Most of the teams in this section saw their National Championship futures fall. However, three of them (barring Clemson) lost their starting quarterback from last year, and regression can’t be pointed squarely at the portal.

But another disappointing season from Clemson, who finished 4-4 in ACC play, surely can be a result of refusing to play ball in the portal. The Tigers’ National Championship futures stayed relatively pat after opening at +2500 (now ). Likely, that number won’t budge before September.

How Do College Football Transfer Rankings Affect Results?

The win totals below were pulled just before Week 1 of the 2023 season.

Team2023 Transfer Rank2022 Wins2023 Wins2023 Win Total
Colorado1143.5 (+105)
Ole Miss28117.5 (-120)
USC311810 (-110)
Auburn4566.5 (-140)
LSU510109.5 (-125)
Florida State610139.5 (-145)
Miami (FL)7577.5 (+110)
Oklahoma86109.5 (-105)
Oregon910129.5 (+110)
UCLA10988.5 (-115)

Of the 10 top transfer classes last season, six of them went over their win total and seven improved upon their wins from the year prior. Of course, many factors determine progression year over year. But interestingly, six of the teams returned starting QBs from 2022 and the other four started a QB landed in the portal.

Five of the last six Heisman Trophy winning QBs were transfers (and five of the last seven overall winners). 2023 winner Jayden Daniels transferred to LSU from Arizona State and won the award in two seasons. Before him, Caleb Williams won the Heisman in his first year with USC.

Let’s take a look at 2022:

Team2022 Transfer Rank2021 Wins2022 Wins2022 Win Total
USC14119.5 (+100)
Ole Miss21087.5 (-145)
LSU36107 (+105)
Oklahoma41169.5 (+105)
Texas5588.5 (+105)
Alabama6131110.5 (-300)
Nebraska7347.5 (-110)
UCLA8898.5 (-105)
South Carolina9786 (-160)
Florida State105106.5 (-135)

Seven teams improved upon their wins from 2021 to 2022. Those that didn’t include Alabama, who won 13 games (and therefore had very little room to improve), and Oklahoma, who brought in a new coach and were gutted by Lincoln Riley’s move to USC. Teams fared much worse against their preseason win totals. Only three went over – a clear overcompensation by bookmakers with little data on transfers at the time.

The free agency aspect of transfers is a new phenomenon. We only have a good two years of data and a third upcoming this year. But it’s clear that teams that utilize the transfer portal improve year over year. Teams that are rigid against the portal tend to regress.