College football moved to a new and more exciting playoff format in 2014 and that provides even more opportunities for sharp bettors to cash in on the action.
After Clemson and Alabama alternated championships for four seasons, LSU knocked off Clemson in the 2020 title game to become the first No. 1 seed to win since the inception of the playoff format.
Through all the uncertainty, the 2020-21 season is well underway, albeit with a slightly different look than normal.
Clemson (+175 at FanDuel Sportsbook) is the favorite at most sportsbooks to win the National Championship. Ohio State is right behind the Tigers with futures odds of +200 at FD, and Alabama is in the mix as well with odds of +400. No other teams have odds lower than +1600.
Here’s a look at the current college football National Championship odds at top sportsbooks.
NCAA title odds 2020-21
Clemson +175: Nothing’s changed here: Trevor Lawrence and Dabo Swinney are rolling the competition. They proved their prowess with a blowout of No. 7 Miami on the national stage earlier this month.
Ohio State +200: The Buckeyes were expected to win their season opener against Nebraska, but they did it in dominant fashion. Justin Fields threw just one incompletion (a dropped pass) and the defense held Nebraska to just three second half points. If Ohio State tears through the Big Ten again, they’ll find themselves in prime position for the Playoff.
Alabama +400: The Crimson Tide lost star receiver Jaylen Waddle for the season, but Alabama still boasts one of the most talented receiving groups in the nation. They also have RB Najee Harris, who’s making his own run at the Heisman.
Georgia +1600: Georgia rolled in their first ranked matchup of the season earlier this month, holding No. 7 Auburn to just six points and keeping them out of the end zone entirely. The Dawgs are on course for an SEC East title and, potentially, a Playoff berth.
Notre Dame +4000: The Fighting Irish are unbeaten, but haven’t faced a tough test yet. They won’t face a test until their Nov. 7 matchup against Clemson. Quarterback Ian Book, who was once thought to be a Heisman contender, hasn’t been needed by his offense this season and the question will be, can they rely on Book when they need him?
Wisconsin +5000: Should the Badgers lose quarterback Graham Mertz – a superstar in the making– for three weeks due to possible COVID-19 exposure, they will have to prove their worth as a team. If they can make it through those three weeks (Nebraska, Purdue, Michigan) unscathed, the Badgers could be extremely dangerous down the stretch.
Basics of NCAA football futures
Sports betting is legal in several US States, with more legislation moving towards legalization every day. There are several sportsbooks with user-friendly apps that are available to serve as a platform for betting on NCAA futures.
When a sport is in season, the “Futures” tab can usually be found next to the game lines. But if you want to bet on the CFP before the season starts, most books will bring you right to the Futures section.
The odds for each team are primarily indicated in two ways. Most books will list a team as a +200 favorite, indicating that a $100 bet on that team to win the national title will pay out $200 if successful.
Some books list those odds as 2/1, but the math is the same. Those books will use those odds as fractions as well. As an example, a team listed as an 11/2 favorite to win the title would pay out 5.5x the investment. That same multiplier would be listed as +550 under the other format.
These odds can change throughout the season and even during the preseason if any news surfaces about injuries, transfers, or scandals related to the athletic department or coaching staff of a program.
History and favorites
Due to the top-heavy recruiting system in place for college football programs, it is extremely rare for an unknown team to win the national title.
But Ohio State was the fourth-ranked team in the field of four when it won the 2014 CFP title.
There is some value to be found if you’re willing to bet against the consensus favorites, which are currently Clemson and Alabama. There is also value if you find the right sportsbook on which to take one of those favorites, so be sure to shop around for the best odds at online books.
When it comes time to bet the actual matchup in the College Football Playoff title game, keep in mind that the underdog had won or covered the spread in all five championships until LSU’s convincing victory in 2020. Also, five of those six title games have gone over the assigned point total.
Best college football betting sites
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I bet on the College Football Playoff in the US?
Sports betting is legal and live in Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Iowa, Arkansas, Colorado, Michigan, Illinois and Rhode Island. Several other states have legislation in the works or are moving towards legalizing sports gambling.
Who is the favorite to win the CFP in 2020?
Clemson was the favorite heading into the season and Ohio State was right behind. Those two teams were still the favorites in late October, with Alabama also in contention.
When is the 2021 College Football Playoff?
The College Football Playoff is scheduled to begin on Jan. 1, 2021 with two national semifinals (Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl). The CFP National Championship is scheduled for Jan. 11, 2021 in Miami. Selection Sunday is now slated for Dec. 20, with the CFP Committee releasing their first rankings Nov. 17.