Two college football powerhouses picked up quarterback transfers from two even bigger (SEC) powerhouses.
One shifted betting futures markets; one didn’t.
Justin Fields bailed on Georgia for Ohio State. Fields was the No. 1 QB prospect in the 2018 class but opted to avoid the grind of SEC defenses for the friendlier confines of the Big 10.
Jalen Hurts, who won a national championship for Alabama as a starter and a second — well, technically as a starter before being benched for Tua Tagovailoa — has now transferred to Oklahoma.
Upon news of the Hurts’ transfer, FanDuel moved Oklahoma’s futures from +2,000 to +1,400. The number dropped back to +1,600 as of Thursday morning.
That’s a sizable jump considering it’s still not 100 percent certain that Hurts will be eligible to start this coming year.
Hurts’ former team, Alabama, remains the national title favorite at +200. Defending champ Clemson sits at +250. Fields’ former team, Georgia, is the third favorite at +750.
Two interesting value plays going into the season include Michigan (+2,000) and Florida (+3,500). If you enjoy lighting money on fire, bet on any PAC-12 team.
College Football National Championship Odds 2019-20
(Odds updated 1/17/19)
|North Carolina State||+16000||+8000||+50000|
|San Diego State||+25000||+50000||+500000|
After Clemson’s throttling of Alabama in the national championship game, the Tigers find themselves as early favorites to repeat in 2020.
Early futures at DraftKings Sportsbook have Clemson and Alabama at +200 to win the 2020 college football national championship. FanDuel Sportsbook lists Alabama at +170 and Clemson +250. At the Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas, Clemson is +180 and Alabama is +250.
Interestingly, before Monday’s national title game, Alabama was the listed favorite at the Westgate. However, given Clemson’s domination, the Tigers went from +350 to +180 by game’s end.
Ohio State (+700 at DraftKings, +850 at FanDuel) and Georgia (+800 at both) are next on the list of 2019-20 title contenders. Michigan and Oklahoma round out the rest of the favorites. All of the odds can be found below.
Notre Dame, which made this year’s playoffs but was embarrassed in the semifinals by Clemson, starts at +3300.
The odds somewhat line up with ESPN’s take on a way-too-early top 25.
Given their recent recruiting classes, Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence ascension to likely Heisman favorite, and weak overall division, Clemson seem well-positioned to at least make another CFB playoff. And don’t kid yourself that last night’s national championship game is the end of Alabama’s dynasty. While the SEC will be stronger overall next year, Bama is still the team to beat.
College Football Futures Odds 2019-20
(Odds updated 1/17/19)
|North Carolina State||+16000||+8000||+50000|
|San Diego State||+25000||+50000||+500000|
TheLines provides a breakdown and analysis for the NCAA’s National Title Game on Monday night. We’ll look at the odds and see why they’re moving a certain way, along with breaking down the matchup and providing the week’s best prop bets.
The top two college football squads in the nation clash at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, California on Monday night to decide which will hold the mantle of top team in the nation for the just-concluded 2018 season. Alabama and Clemson both forged perfect 14-0 records during the regular season.
The Crimson Tide was 8-0 in the Southeastern Conference, defeating the Georgia Bulldogs in the conference title game by a 35-28 score Dec. 1. They earned their way into Monday night’s championship game with a 45-34 victory over the Oklahoma Sooners in the Orange Bowl semi-final at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.
The Tigers were 8-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, defeating the Pittsburgh Panthers in the conference title game by a 42-10 score Dec. 1. They earned their way into Monday night’s championship game with a 30-3 victory over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the Cotton Bowl semi-final at AT & T Stadium in Dallas.
National title game betting odds and analysis
The line has fluctuated at DraftKings Sportsbook within a point over the last week, but the Crimson Tide has never been less than five-point favorites. The apex was a six-point spread in favor of Alabama a week ago. Substantial money clearly came in on Clemson at that point, enough to move the line a full point down to five late in the week last week. There’s been additional fluctuation since, with the Tide bouncing back to 5.5-point favorites Sunday, reverting back to a five-point number earlier Monday, and then landing on 5.5 yet again as of early Monday afternoon.
The projected total at DraftKings Sportsbook has been much more volatile. At 59 points a week ago, the total reached a high point of 60.5 by the middle of last week. A downward slide then ensued, one that eventually saw the total sink as low 57.5 earlier Monday before jutting back up to 58. As of this writing early Monday afternoon, the number had hit a new low of 57 before dropping again to 56.5 two hours before kickoff.
National Title Game matchup
The battle of college football’s juggernauts is a familiar one. The series between the schools has a 118-year history, but the most recent games have been particularly high-stakes affairs. The Crimson Tide and Tigers have met in the National Championship Game after both the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Alabama notched a 45-40 win in the first game, while Clemson countered with a 35-31 victory in the second. The third meeting, in January 2018, wasn’t for all the marbles. However, it determined which of the two teams would advance to the biggest game of the season. Alabama won that rubber match by a 24-6 margin in the Sugar Bowl.
Monday night’s matchup is a vintage strength vs. strength affair. The Tide checks in scoring the second-most points per game (47.5). The Tigers aren’t far behind, ranking as the fourth-most prolific team (44.0). Then, no team in major college football was stingier than Clemson — they allowed just 13.4 points per contest. That includes a top-ranked 11.4 points per road game. Alabama counters with the fourth-fewest points per game surrendered (16.2). That includes 12.5 points per home contest, second fewest in the country.
The Crimson Tide compiled the seventh-most passing yards per game (322.2). In turn, the Tigers allowed just 192.5 passing yards per contest, including 157.3 per game on the road. The latter figure is the fifth-lowest away total in the nation. Then, the Tigers’ offense often relied on their elite running game. Clemson rushed for 256.8 yards per game, 10th-most in the country. Yet, Alabama was among the best at stopping ground attacks. The Tide allowed a modest 109.2 rush yards per contest, 11th-fewest in the nation.
National Title Game betting breakdown
The Tigers were 8-6 (57.1 percent) versus the spread this season. Monday’s game marks the first instance this season in which the Tigers are underdogs.
The Crimson Tide were also 8-6 (57.1 percent) against the number this season. As is the case Monday, Alabama was a favorite in all of those games.
The Crimson Tide is considered the home team in Monday’s neutral site. Alabama is 4-3 (57.1 percent) against the spread as a home favorite this season, with all of those contests day games, as is Monday’s.
The Tigers were 4-1 (80.0 percent) versus the number as a road team this season. That includes a 3-0 mark against the spread in road day games. The Tigers have also covered the spread in eight of their last nine bowl games.
The average margin of victory for the Crimson Tide this season was 31.5 points. The average margin of victory for the Tigers was 31.4 points.
The Crimson Tide exceeded their projected total in eight of 14 games this season (61.5 percent), with one push. That includes exceeding their projected total in five of seven home day games (78.6 percent), with one push.
The Tigers went under their projected total in six of 14 games this season (42.9 percent). However, the Tigers exceeded their projected total in all three road day games. Each of Clemson’s last four neutral-site games have gone under the projected total.
Sportsbook promos and props
DraftKings, FanDuel and BetStars are offering value for Monday night’s Alabama vs. Clemson game in the form of odds boosts. Have a look below for the options at each book in New Jersey:
To make things more interesting, DraftKings Sportsbook is offering the chance to earn two times your winnings on your first live bet. Here’s how it works:
- Place a live (in-game) singles paid bet on the game.
- If it wins, DraftKings will double your winnings with a free bet (up to $25).
FanDuel Sportsbook is adding a little excitement to the biggest game of the season with its double your winnings promotion. Here’s how it works:
- Opt in to the promotion
- Bet the over (58 points)
- Win pays double your winnings (up to $100 in site credit)
- Amount equal to site credit must be wagered before winnings can be withdrawn
- Bonus expires seven days after receipt
There are several odds boosts available for Monday’s College Football Playoff National Championship Game:
- Joshua Jacobs and Travis Etienne to score a touchdown (now paying +135)
- Damien Harris to score a touchdown and Alabama to win (now paying +130)
- Joshua Jacobs to score a touchdown and Alabama to win (now paying +140)
- Travis Etienne to score two or more touchdowns (now paying +140)
There are six teams remaining that have a legitimate shot at the college football national championship: Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, Georgia, Oklahoma, Ohio State.
Not having a conference championship game means that Notre Dame is almost assuredly in the four-team playoff. While FiveThirtyEight only lists them as a 77% shot at making the playoffs, there’s no feasible scenario that leaves Notre Dame out. They earned it.
Every other contender plays in a conference championship this weekend. If the results go as expected, there will likely only be one spot that’s really up for debate.
SEC Championship (The Actual National Championship)
Alabama (#1, -225 at BetStars Sportsbook) vs. Georgia (#4, +1400)
This one is a rematch of last year’s national title game, and could serve as this year’s as well. Alabama comes in as a -13.5 favorite, and deservedly so. Georgia is ranked third in ELO and FPI, but Alabama is ranked HISTORICALLY GREAT.
If Georgia pulls the upset, they’re obviously a lock to make the playoffs, but don’t expect their price to go towards Clemson +300 territory. They’d still have to beat Alabama again to win the title, and that’s a tall task to ask.
With a loss, Alabama would likely enter the playoffs again at #4, and likely win again, and even more likely be listed as the favorite.
The ACC Sacrificial Lamb for Clemson Game
Clemson (#2, +333) vs. Pittsburgh
Clemson is undefeated, ranked #2 in ELO and FPI, and has been #2 in each of the CFB committee rankings.
Pittsburgh is 7-5.
While Pittsburgh has been a spoiler in the past, not this year. Maybe Clemson was to become the odds-on favorite with a win and an Alabama loss, but most likely they’d just keep inching up like they have the past few weeks (think +250).
The Big 12 Championship That Will Look More Like a College Basketball Score
Oklahoma (#5, +1700) vs. Texas (#9)
Vegas has the over/under on this one around 78. There will be blood. Points will be scored.
The Sooners are a 7.5-point favorite. They’re 68% to win. They’ve barely escaped some close calls, but this feels like a game they’re going to control. It’s a year too early for Texas. Expect Oklahoma to run up the score if they can. That’s partly why the line is so high. They need a good showing to separate themselves from Ohio State.
The Big 10-Championship-Means-Everything-Game
Ohio State (#6, +1400) vs. Northwestern (#21)
Before blowing Michigan off the field, Ohio State hadn’t really posted many impressive showings.
Now, pundits are questioning the merits of them vs. Oklahoma.
This is a tough game to peg, but will likely really determine the fourth playoff team.
Often, a team that eviscerates a rival in an emotional win comes out a bit lethargic the next week. Northwestern is legit. Ohio State is given a 78% chance to win and they’re a 14-point favorite, but this could end up being a lot closer than people think.
Ultimately, if everything goes as expected, that means Ohio State and Oklahoma will be fighting for the fourth spot. How closely Northwestern keeps this game will go a long way into determining which school gets to play for the national title.
Last week was a bloodbath for ranked college football teams as 11 lost their matchups.
Teams like Texas (a game we warned about) and Florida saw their playoff dreams extinguished.
Georgia and Washington State saw their title odds improve, although both have tough tasks this week.
SEC title game spots are up for grabs on Saturday as there are some massive matchups.
Looking into the futures…
No game is bigger than Alabama (#1, -210 at FanDuel Sportsbook to win National Championship) vs. LSU (#4, +2900). Alabama opened as a two-touchdown favorite at LSU, making this the most points the Tigers have been an underdog at home since 1997. At stake is a spot as the SEC West representative in the real National Title SEC Championship game. A loss would set Alabama up in a similar position as last year, where they’d still likely make the playoffs despite not participating in the SEC title game. A win by LSU would certainly improve their +2000 and set up a rematch with most likely Georgia for the SEC crown.
If this sounds somewhat familiar, it is. That’s exactly what happened last year. Auburn beat both Georgia and Alabama in the regular season, but lost to Georgia in the SEC title game and Alabama slipped into the playoffs. LSU is simply this year’s Auburn. An LSU win would surely see their +2000 improve, potentially to a +1000.
Speaking of Georgia (#6, +1600), the Bulldogs face off against the surprising Kentucky Wildcats (#10, +10000) for the right to be the SEC East rep against the winner of ‘Bama vs. LSU. Georgia is a 9.5 favorite on the road against Kentucky, and FiveThirtyEight gives the Dawgs a 71% shot at winning. Some of Georgia’s futures improvement will hinge on if LSU can pull off the upset against ‘Bama. Vegas will surely like Georgia’s title chances more if it has to go through LSU for the SEC title as opposed to Alabama.
Michigan (#5, +1600) has two more big hurdles to clear to have a shot at the playoffs, the first being this weekend at home against Penn State (#14, +10000). While a win won’t improve Michigan’s futures much (their match-up against #8 Ohio State carries too much weight), a loss all but submarines Michigan’s title odds.
One last match-up worth paying attention to is Washington State (#10, +10000) vs. Cal. Washington St. is the PAC-12’s only hope for playoff consideration, and Cal is no joke even as a 10.5-point dog. Expect Washington St’s futures to tick upward with a win.
With the first College Football Playoff ranking committee release coming Oct. 30, it’s a good time to look at CFB futures.
Last week saw four college football top 10 teams fall (as well as pseudo-contenders Wisconsin and Miami).
This, of course, caused some futures movement among potential contenders.
In Vegas, some losses are weighted heavier than others. For a team like the Georgia Bulldogs, there was little impact on their overall title odds after their road loss to LSU (+600 before, +800 after). However, for Wisconsin (+8000 to +30000), Penn State (+5000 to +50000) and Washington (+3000 to +30000), their losses propelled them to “historic longshot” status.
Bettors saw shrinking value on title odds for teams that did survive the weekend carnage, like Ohio State and Clemson (now +500 and +400, respectively).
While CFB Week 8 doesn’t have the volume of top 25 clashes as last Saturday, let’s look at some match-ups that could move futures.
Looking into the futures
This weekend’s marquee match-up pits two ACC undefeateds against each other, with #16 NC State (+30000) traveling to #3 Clemson (+400).
While a loss may not take Clemson totally out of the title picture, it would certainly do so for NC State. If you have a hard time though comprehending how a doofus goofball like Dabo Swinney continues to field and successfully coach elite teams, grab NC State now. While there’s a better chance of Swinney decoding a dinosaur genome than NC State beating Alabama or Georgia for a national title, that +30000 future will certainly go down with a win against Clemson.
LSU, fresh off its ultimately meaningless home win against UGA, now sits at #5 in the polls. If you’re looking for some precedence of what an NC State win at Clemson could do to their title odds, LSU just experienced that jolt, going from +10000 to +4000 in a week. However, a trip up in a certain let-down game against #22 Mississippi St. would give the Tigers two losses and essentially knock them out of the title conversation.
The last game with realistic futures implications is a suddenly strong looking #6 Michigan (+2500) at #24 Michigan St. (+100000). Like LSU, Michigan is a one-loss team with no margin for error. Two losses would be a nail in the coffin for Michigan’s title chances, while a win wouldn’t really move that +100000 on Michigan St.
But what does Vegas really think?
The Westgate’s power ratings are a good indicator as to what Vegas really thinks about college teams.
Clemson sits at #2 in the power ratings (a full 11 points behind ‘Bama), but still significantly ahead of NC State at 25. FiveThirtyEight only gives NC State a 16% chance of winning the game, which again makes this match-up the most likely to move futures with an upset.
Vegas also considers Michigan (#4 power rating) and LSU (#7) much stronger than Michigan St (#20) and Mississippi (#21). However, Michigan St will be at home, and anything can happen in rivalry matchups.
Alabama is booking the best odds to win the national title since the 2005 USC Trojans.
Before last weekend, Bama was around +175 at most sportsbooks to win the Colleg Football National Championship. USC was +160 in ’05. Despite quarterback Tua Tagovailoa lighting it up against Louisville and Bama looking as dominant as ever, they’re now listed between +180 and +200 at books in New Jersey.
- FanDuel: +200
- MGM: +190
- William Hill: +180
That’s in part because the public loves Clemson. At the William Hill sportsbook locations in Nevada and New Jersey, Clemson is taking in 22% of the money. Bama is taking 14%.
Of teams among the 10 best title odds, the SEC (obviously) has the most. Along with Alabama, Georgia (+800), Auburn (+1400), and LSU (+2500) are among the favorites.
One of the bigger games this weekend that could shift future odds is the SEC battle between #3 Georgia and #24 South Carolina. Betting darlings Clemson take on a tough SEC foe in Texas A&M as well.
Other potential future-shifting games this weekend include the potential annual Oklahoma slip-up (vs. UCLA), and the PAC-12 battle between #10 Stanford and #17 USC.
Break out the oversized, satirical cymbals! Let the sardonic rings of gongs fill the air! The Associated Press Preseason Top 25 college football poll has been announced!
Oh, joy! The season hasn’t started but it has already been decided! Hooray, we did it!
But seriously, guys, c’mon. Rein in the enthusiasm/conspiracy theories. This whole thing is ridiculous.
Pointless is as pointless does
Preseason polls are pointless. Take this tweet from Jeff Schultz, a senior writer for The Athletic.
Remember how big a deal this used to be? https://t.co/vDaz4Ok2Ul
— Jeff Schultz (@JeffSchultzATL) August 20, 2018
They are biased. Not in the same sense that fans make it seem. “Why do (insert poll creators) hate (insert your team) so much? These guys are clearly (insert political view you vehemently disagree with even though you don’t actually understand what it is or why)!”
Polls themselves hold recency bias. They are based on the previous week’s results. That’s fine. It makes sense.
But preseason? Clickbait. Click chumbucket. Click diaper-dumpster-fire. But, hey, I guess conversations have to start somewhere. And I supposed some reference is needed when it comes to somewhat-educated sports betting.
So, here goes… I guess…
For those who care too much
Typically with sports betting, there are two groups of folk: those who take rankings as gospel, and those who think they know better than the rankings/experts/everyone.
An unborn child could have predicted the preseason No. 1: Alabama. For the third straight year (a feat matched only once historically), the Crimson Tide came in at the top spot heading into the season. National champs twice in the last three years (and five times since 2009) are followed by *feigning shocked face* Clemson, the preseason’s No. 2 team for the second time in three seasons.
Third is Georgia, last year’s national runner-up. Then comes the Big Ten bores Ohio State and Wisconsin and the “well, we have to give the Pac-12 some love” Washington Huskies.
Betting on the CFP championship has become as much fun as the NBA Finals.
Then again, there is some hope for a solid payday.
Consider the 2017 playoffs: Of the final four teams, only Bama was ranked in the top four before the season. Georgia was actually 15th. In 2016, two final four teams were not among the preseason top four; in fact, Washington was 14th. Three of the top 10 teams in the final CFP poll entered the season unranked. The previous season, Clemson and Oklahoma entered the year ranked 12th and 19th, respectively, yet ultimately made the CFP playoffs.
So not all is chalk when it comes to the college football championship. Last year, even, the preseason No. 1 (Bama) needed a Hail Mary selection just to sneak into the playoffs. (*throws stapler across the room in disgust*)
With Ohio State swirling in its own coaching debacle, with Wisconsin/Michigan/Penn State beating each other up year-in and year-out, the Big Ten could be a shoo-out of the playoffs. Same goes for the SEC outside of Alabama and Georgia. Go with the Tide if you dare do the math on 19-10 odds, or with Clemson because 3-1 odds are easier to calculate. Even Georgia is 9-1, which is insanely reasonable.
Put faith in Touchdown Jesus and lay money down on Notre Dame at 40-1, or trust Mark Richt, if you dare, to lead Miami (at 50-1) to the title.
For the self-proclaimed experts
Go with your gut. Because obviously, you don’t care what’s written here. To you, this portion is as pointless as the preseason rankings themselves.
To that, I tip my backwards hat… but will be the first to laugh when your Michigan pick goes down in flames by Week 6.
Las Vegas sportsbook operators and casinos are continuing to create earlier than ever sports wagering opportunities. This week the South Point released three ways to wager on the upcoming college football season: Week 1 lines, point spreads for games of the year, and season win totals for the upcoming college football season (see below for all three).
South Point is the first land-based casino in America to release these college football numbers. The distinction of being the first Las Vegas casino to release college football lines used to be held by Golden Nugget. They’ll release their lines shortly. South Point started to release their college football lines early when Chris Andrews joined the team since he typically has his college football research complete in May.
— Chris Andrews (@andrewssports) May 21, 2018
Even though the lines are created at South Point and offered via mobile and at Rampart Casino, the college football lines on Monday morning were only available to bet in person at South Point initially. The lines were released to NV Sports app bettors and Rampart Casino customers in Summerlin shortly thereafter.
The unfortunate people in Summerlin had to get in their cars and drive 20 minutes to the South Point to get the best of the college football lines instead of just wagering on a mobile device or at Rampart Casino. South Point released the lines on site simply because it’s easier to keep track of the bets placed when they’re all in one place.
South Point early line bet limits
The maximum bet limit on the early college football lines is relatively low at $1,000 per wager. The maximum bet limit will increase as the season approaches. South Point sportsbook director, Chris Andrews, says the maximum wager should increase in early August.
Each bettor may place three wagers before moving to the back of the line. This gives the other early bettors a chance to place wagers before one person has a chance to completely hog the betting desk and destroy certain lines. This also gives the sportsbook operators at South Point time to move the line so they aren’t torched too badly.
The lower maximum wager is on the high end for early lines in Las Vegas. CG Technology released pro football lines earlier this year with a maximum bet of $500. Sportsbook operators use these low limits to keep exposure to risk at a minimum. Reputable sportsbook operators like the South Point may move lines quickly but they will always take the action and pay on the bets they lose. That’s sorta how things are supposed to work.
The college football opening week lines moved quickly. Shortly after the initial college football lines were posted Chris Andrews tweeted the following adjustments.
Openers on the left, updated college football lines in the second column. pic.twitter.com/cbqSLtfQYy
— Chris Andrews (@andrewssports) May 21, 2018
The lines will continue to move as more people bet on the individual games. Here are some easy to read line movement highlights after the first hour of college football betting at South Point:
- Notre Dame from -7 to -1 vs. Michigan
- Purdue +2 to -3 vs. Northwestern
- Syracuse -1 to -6 at Western Michigan
Games of the year spreadsGOY LINES
Team regular season win totals