KFord Ratings vs. BetMGM: 2023 College Football Odds To Make The Playoff

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Written By Kelley Ford | Last Updated
college football odds

August. One of the more interesting prop bets is odds to make the College Football Playoff this season. No surprise, but reigning two-time national champion Georgia has the shortest college football odds to return to the CFP again in 2023, followed by a couple other favorites in national championship odds – Alabama and Ohio State. How do those odds to make the CFP compare to probabilities in my KFordRatings?

Let’s compare the implied probabilities of those odds at BetMGM to my ratings and see if there is any potentially mispriced teams at sportsbooks.

PRESEASON KFORD RATINGS: TEAMS MOST LIKELY TO MAKE CFP

COllege Football Playoff Committee Behavior

The 2023 college football season will mark the final iteration of the four-team College Football Playoff. Since it debuted after the 2014 season, the Playoff participants have been determined by the CFP Selection Committee and their rankings.

When attempting to determine the likelihood of a team qualifying for the Playoff in 2023, it’s important to consider the Committee’s past behavior.

Of the 36 teams that have qualified for the CFP in the previous nine seasons, 35 have been from Power 5 conferences – the lone exception being Cincinnati after the 2021 season. Furthermore, 29 have been conference champions.

The only seven teams to qualify for the CFP, despite not winning a conference championship game are: Ohio State (2016, 2022), Notre Dame (2018, 2020), TCU (2022), Georgia (2021) and Alabama (2017), with Georgia and Alabama winning the national championship in those respective years.

Top Contenders to Reach the College Football Playoff

Unsurprisingly, the top-10 teams on this list are also the top-10 teams in my current preseason power ratings and the 10 teams with the greatest probability to reach 10+ regular season wins, albeit not in the exact same order.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that my numbers indicate only two teams are more likely than not to make the CFP this season: Georgia (70%) and Ohio State (53%).

Furthermore, I’m projecting only 10 other teams to have at least a double-digit chance to make the CFP in 2023:

  • Alabama (41%)
  • Michigan (34%)
  • Clemson (25%)
  • USC (25%)
  • Penn State (16%)
  • LSU (16%)
  • Texas (15%)
  • Florida State (14%)
  • Oklahoma (13%)
  • Oregon (12%).

KFORD RATINGS VS. BetMGM COLLEGE FOOTBALL ODDS

With my numbers above in mind, let’s take a look at the odds BETMGM Sportsbook assigns to these teams reaching the College Football Playoff. The final column is the difference when converting those odds into implied probabilities vs. the probability assigned by my KFord Ratings.

TeamOddsImplied ProbabilityKFord CFP ProbabilityDifference
Georgia-25071.43%70.17%-1.3%
Michigan+10050.00%33.95%-16.1%
Ohio State+11546.51%53.03%6.5%
Alabama+15040.00%41.30%1.3%
USC+22530.77%24.58%-6.2%
Clemson+30025.00%24.76%-0.2%
Florida State+30025.00%14.20%-10.8%
Texas+32523.53%15.43%-8.1%
LSU+32523.53%15.62%-7.9%
Penn State+45018.18%16.37%-1.8%
Oklahoma+60014.29%13.48%-0.8%
Washington+65013.33%5.33%-8.0%
Oregon+65013.33%12.29%-1.0%
Notre Dame+75011.76%6.66%-5.1%
Utah+10009.09%5.14%-4.0%
Wisconsin+10009.09%7.09%-2.0%
Tennessee+14006.67%4.83%-1.8%
Texas A&M+16005.88%1.41%-4.5%
Kansas State+20004.76%2.42%-2.3%
North Carolina+20004.76%3.76%-1.0%
Oregon State+20004.76%4.24%-0.5%
Iowa+30003.23%2.61%-0.6%
UCLA+30003.23%2.29%-0.9%
Texas Tech+35002.78%1.00%-1.8%
Ole Miss+35002.78%0.52%-2.3%
Baylor+35002.78%0.91%-1.9%
TCU+40002.44%2.41%0.0%
Miami (FL)+40002.44%0.73%-1.7%
South Carolina+50001.96%0.03%-1.9%
Louisville+50001.96%1.75%-0.2%
Tulane+50001.96%1.38%-0.6%
Auburn+66001.49%0.08%-1.4%
Arkansas+66001.49%0.15%-1.3%
Mississippi State+80001.23%0.15%-1.1%
NC State+80001.23%0.73%-0.5%
Minnesota+100000.99%0.18%-0.8%
Maryland+100000.99%0.12%-0.9%
UCF+100000.99%1.07%0.1%
Florida+150000.66%0.07%-0.6%
Iowa State+150000.66%0.08%-0.6%
Pitt+150000.66%0.69%0.0%
Kentucky+150000.66%0.22%-0.4%
Missouri+150000.66%0.06%-0.6%
Kansas+150000.66%0.02%-0.6%
Boise State+150000.66%0.39%-0.3%
Duke+150000.66%0.05%-0.6%
Oklahoma State+150000.66%0.75%0.1%
Colorado+150000.66%0.00%-0.7%
Fresno State+200000.50%0.27%-0.2%
Memphis+200000.50%0.43%-0.1%
Nebraska+200000.50%0.10%-0.4%
SMU+200000.50%0.23%-0.3%

TWO POTENTIAL VALUES TO MAKE THE CFP

My numbers assign only five teams a better chance to make the CFP than their Vegas implied odds:

  • Ohio State (+6.5%)
  • Alabama (+1.3%)
  • Oklahoma State (+0.09%)
  • UCF (+0.08%)
  • Pitt (0.03%).

Conversely, my numbers assign seven teams at least a five percent chance less to make the CFP than BetMGM implied odds:

  • Michigan (-16%)
  • Florida State (-11%)
  • Texas (-8.1%)
  • Washington (-8.0%)
  • LSU (-7.9%)
  • USC (-6.2%)
  • Notre Dame (-5.1%)

This is not to say these teams can’t make the College Football Playoff, but their college football odds to do so may be poor value.

Full disclosure: I do no bet what I write about for TheLines.com, as my position at the Horizon League does not allow me to wager at sportsbooks. However, the data and information may be useful to bettors to see how my KFordRatings compare to odds offered at sportsbooks.

Ohio State Buckeyes (+6.5%): +115

Ohio State has made five CFPs since 2014, third-most of any program in the country, and is the only program to have made the CFP in three of the past four seasons. My preseason numbers expect more of the same from the Buckeyes this fall, assigning Ohio State a 53% chance – second only to Georgia’s 70% – to be included in the final iteration of the four-team field.

However, with implied odds of only 46.5%, BetMGM is a little less confident in the Buckeyes. Despite not having beaten Michigan (perhaps a significant reason as to why my numbers suggest Michigan is the most overpriced team this preseason) or even playing for the Big Ten Championship game in two consecutive years, the Buckeyes are still projecting as favorites in each of their games, by my numbers.

Only games at Notre Dame (+9.5) in Week 4 and at Michigan (+3.5) in the final week of the regular season have a projected spread of less than 12.5 points and an expected win probability of less than 81%.

Quarterback is the biggest question mark, but Dwayne Haskins, Justin Fields and C.J. Stroud all excelled as first year starters in this offense. My numbers are counting on more of the same in 2023, with Kyle McCord looking like the most likely to be QB1 against Indiana.

Alabama Crimson Tide (+1.3%): +150

Alabama has made the CFP seven times in nine years – most of any program in the country. The two years Alabama did not make the CFP? 2019 and just last year, 2022. History will remember 2022 Alabama’s 10-2 regular season as disappointing (by Nick Saban’s lofty standards).

However, the Tide finished the year No. 3 in my power ratings and were a last-second field goal at Tennessee and an overtime two-point conversation at LSU away from being 12-0, playing in Atlanta for the SEC Championship, and having a spot in the CFP already secured.

The smallest of margins are the reason for the discrepancy between the perception and reality of the 2022 team’s talent. That, to me, is likely why there is a small amount of value in 2023 Alabama’s preseason CFP odds. My numbers currently favor the Tide in all 12 games, and never by less than eight points (-8 vs. LSU in Week 10 is the smallest spread).

Much like Ohio State, the biggest question mark for Alabama is at QB. However, many of college football’s perennial CFP contenders are breaking in new signal callers this year. And while the Tide’s schedule is projecting to be the sixth-most difficult in the country, my numbers are still assigning a 41% chance to make a record eighth CFP. 41% is the third-best probability in my ratings, behind Georgia and Ohio State.

CONCLUSIONS

The bigger conclusion here may be if you were looking for that storybook season from a non-powerhouse in these college football odds to make the College Football Playoff, you may not be getting prices that are +EV, if you trust my preseason ratings.

Sometimes it’s just as valuable to know what NOT to bet in college football. For me, Michigan (+100), Florida State (+300) and Texas (+325) would top that list.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL CONFERENCE PREVIEWS

College football conference previews are out at TheLines.com with full breakdowns of each team, along with market ratings, win probabilities and the best available odds from college football writers Brett Gibbons and Kelley Ford.

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