From Clemson to Purdue, Your Guide to Betting on the 2019 National Champion Seven Months Early
So, you want to place a bet on which team will win next season's national championship? While another Clemson or Alabama national title has been a fait accompli for the last four years, that won’t stop Caesars Entertainment sportsbook from putting up odds for every single FBS team to win the whole thing.
Now, just because 130 different teams have odds posted doesn’t mean you should go to your local sportsbook (where those are legal, of course) and bet $5 on Texas State winning it all at 10,000 to 1. For one, just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should, especially when it comes to betting. Also, those odds aren’t even fairly priced considering the landscape of college football. These futures markets are always very iffy, but with the right call, they could be worth it.
Clemson: 2 to 1
Alabama: 5 to 2
Betting on either of these teams to win the title is like going to a sushi restaurant and only ordering California and spicy tuna rolls.
Texas: 15 to 1
The Texas hype is off the charts heading into this offseason, and this is the perfect number to split everyone’s opinion. People that are high on Texas are surely to say that’s a steal, and people that are low on Texas will say it’s far too optimistic. Thus, since nobody agrees 15:1 is a fair price, it’s the perfect betting line for Vegas.
Georgia: 6 to 1
Betting on Georgia’s national title chances in any year is its own type of stress test. Betting on them to surmount Alabama and Clemson is a hard sell, which means the odds are at a nice price at 6 to 1. This could be a smart bet if you think that the Alabama dynasty is over. Good luck on that, though.
Ohio State: 15 to 1
Caesars is clearly giving a post-Urban bump to these odds. If not, 15 to 1 is the best bet on the board. The Buckeyes are the presumptive Big Ten favorite and should get a spot in the playoff if they take care of business. Ohio State is losing a lot of talent, but the Buckeyes lose a lot of talent every year. Its apparent “downgrade” from quarterback Dwayne Haskins will be five-star recruit Justin Fields, and Meyer’s replacement Ryan Day is no slouch of a coach himself, as his three-game tryout while Meyer was suspended showed. If you can still get this at 15 to 1, do it.
Michigan: 20 to 1
Florida: 25 to 1
Florida is returning most of the key players from a solid team that demolished Michigan at the end of last season and sits as the clear second-best team in the SEC East behind Georgia. Michigan must avoid the pitfalls of the Big Ten East, recover from serious losses on the defensive side of the ball (starting up front with Rashan Gary and Chase Winovich) and beat Ohio State. And yet, Florida has worse odds to win the national title. On Bovada, Michigan is down to 15:1 to win the title, while Florida is still at 25:1. It doesn’t really make too much sense. The Gators avoid Alabama next year and get Auburn at home. The only big road test other than the annual showdown with Georgia in Jacksonville comes at LSU, a team Florida beat last year.
LSU: 30 to 1
It makes sense that LSU has worse odds than Florida. The Tigers are so far behind Alabama in offensive production that they need to show real improvement on that side of the ball to be taken seriously as an SEC West threat. At the same time, coordinator Dave Aranda is guaranteed to put together a defense good enough to keep everyone on the schedule within readon. It’s not impossible to envision a scenario where Tigers QB Joe Burrow finds another level in his second and final year at the helm of the offense and LSU makes a run to the playoff, after which you can hedge like crazy.
Texas A&M: 30 to 1
Jimbo Fisher’s first team impressed Vegas enough in 2018 to tie for the fourth-best national title odds among SEC schools. Texas A&M was really good last year, but will Fisher only need two offseasons to get the Aggies on equal footing with LSU to win the title, especially in the SEC West? I’m not sure, and I’d probably want something better than 30 to 1 here. (Bovada has it at 50 to 1.)
Auburn: 40 to 1
Gus Malzahn is coaching under playoff-or-bust expectations, it’s clear which way Vegas is leaning.
Oregon: 40 to 1
Washington: 50 to 1
Vegas is fully buying into the Justin Herbert hype. Washington has won two of the last three Pac-12 titles, but Oregon enters the offseason as a significant Pac-12 favorite on the strength of an NFL-caliber QB and a top-10 recruiting class. The Huskies have transfer QB Jacob Eason to replace Jake Browning, but they do lose a lot of pieces that don’t have simple fixes, including Myles Gaskin and most of the secondary. Oregon went 5–4 in conference last year and has road trips to USC, Stanford and Washington lined up, so it’s understandable to be skeptical that the Ducks can put together a full season worth of playoff-caliber performances.
Perhaps more jarring for Pac-12 fans is that not a single Pac-12 team has better than 40 to 1 odds to win the national title.
USC: 50 to 1
Washington has the same odds as USC, a program in near-total disarray? All right, then.
Wisconsin: 60 to 1
These odds are reaction to what was a very disappointing 2018 in Madison. After starting the year as dark horse title contenders, the Badgers lost to BYU and then somehow lost control of the Big Ten West to Northwestern from there. Not great. Is there any value at 60 to 1 for Wisconsin? A bounce-back year is certainly possible, but the true odds of the Badgers winning are probably closer to Nebraska (below) than Ohio State.
Nebraska: 100 to 1
There were fears that Nebraska hype would produce some insane odds for Scott Frost’s team, but things have settled down slightly. 100 to 1 seems fair; it’s the same odds that Maryland and Indiana have to win the Big Ten. Incidentally, Nebraska is 16 to 1 to win the Big Ten, the second-highest team in the Big Ten West and ahead of Iowa and Northwestern.
Miami (FL): 150 to 1
Miami could be found at 25:1 before Mark Richt abruptly retired in the wake of a blowout Pinstripe Bowl loss.
Now the Hurricanes are at 150 to 1, which is a massive jump. You should consider betting it simply based on that shift alone, even though Miami’s chances of winning the title are incredibly slim as long as Clemson’s machine continues to run. The Hurricanes have to sort out their quarterback situation and replace some key defenders.
Purdue: 150 to 1
Purdue is the only other team with odds worse than 100 to 1 that someone could talk themselves into considering a playoff contender. If you are betting on Purdue to win, you’re wiping their Music City Bowl destruction at the hands of Auburn from the slate and assuming that Rondale Moore remains one of the nation’s best playmakers in his second year in Brohm’s system. Other than trips to Penn State and Big Ten West frontrunners Wisconsin and Northwestern, Purdue’s schedule is relatively easy. If they find a quarterback to replace David Blough, the Boilermakers could certainly win their division and take control of their postseason fate.