College Football Betting

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College Football Odds Breakdown: NCAAF Betting Favorites 

With mere days to go before the start of the 2018-19 NCAAF season, the Alabama Crimson Tide find themselves in a familiar position: No. 1 on the Associated Press poll. The Crimson Tide are just the second team ever to be named No. 1 on the preseason rankings (which date back to 1950) in three straight years. And to no one’s surprise, Alabama are once again the top favorites on the college football National Championship odds board. But the defending champions are in a closer dogfight than they may have expected.

 

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Chasing ‘Bama for glory this year will be the usual College Football Playoff suspects, although the college football odds have been shaken up a bit by some unsavory off-field news in Columbus, Ohio. Here are the top five contenders on the college football futures market at press time:

 

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1. Alabama Crimson Tide: +200 NCAAF Odds

The Tide (13-1 SU, 6-8 ATS last year) were available at +175 on the college football betting lines last week, but they’ve slipped to +200 since then. There have been a few injuries of note in training camp; linebackers Terrell Lewis and Christopher Allen are both likely done for the season with knee issues, while RT Matt Womack is out the next four to six weeks with a fractured foot. However, Alabama’s longer title odds may have more to do with the next two contenders on our list.

 

2. Clemson Tigers: +450 NCAAF Odds

The Tigers (12-2 SU, 8-5-1 ATS) are already closing the gap on their CFP rivals from the past three seasons. Despite losing to ‘Bama in last year’s semifinals – and dropping the cash for the first time in their playoff saga, Clemson have moved from +500 to +450 on the NCAA football odds board. The preseason AP poll has the Tigers at No. 2, earning 18 of 61 first-place votes, and bettors are more confident in Clemson this year after QB Kelly Bryant proved himself a capable replacement for DeShaun Watson (now with the Houston Texans). Bryant will likely share snaps with Trevor Lawrence, who projects to be even better than the incumbent starter before too long.

 

3. Georgia Bulldogs: +800 NCAAF Odds

Moving into third spot on the college football lines are the No. 3-ranked Bulldogs (13-2 SU, 11-4 ATS), who came painfully close to beating Alabama in last year’s National Championship Game. Their title odds have shortened from +850 to +800, and again, bettors are intrigued by the sheer amount of talent third-year head coach Mark Richt has put together. There’s already a fly in the ointment, though: Freshman RB Zamir White is now expected to miss the entire season with a torn right ACL that he suffered last November during the state high school playoffs. White was the top candidate to take over for the departed Nick Chubb (6.0 yards per carry last year) and Sony Michel (7.9 yards per carry), who combined for 32 touchdowns in 2017-18.

 

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4. Ohio State Buckeyes: +850 NCAAF Odds

Any problems they’re having in Atlanta pale in comparison to what’s going down in Columbus right now. The Buckeyes (12-2 SU, 7-7 ATS) are in a holding pattern going into the 2018 campaign. Head coach Urban Meyer remains on paid administrative leave, and OSU officials will meet Wednesday to discuss his fate. Meyer has missed three weeks of training camp during this investigation into his handling of domestic abuse allegations against former assistant Zach Smith. Despite these troubles, and despite falling to No. 5 on the AP preseason poll, the Buckeyes remain at +850 on the NCAAF odds board with offensive co-ordinator Ryan Day running the show in Meyer’s absence.

 

5. Washington Huskies: +1500 NCAAF Odds

It’s a big step down from Ohio State to the next tier of CFP contenders, but that just makes No. 6-ranked Washington (10-3 SU, 7-6 ATS) an even better value pick on the NCAAF futures market.  Head coach Chris Petersen is one of the most respected minds in the business, and fourth-year QB Jake Browning is a steady hand on the tiller. However, while the Huskies won’t encounter too much resistance in the Pac-12, they do start Week 1 with a tough non-conference matchup against the Auburn Tigers – in Atlanta, no less. Washington is a 3-point road dog at press time for their season opener. Win this one, and the Huskies just might run the table.

 

*Odds as of August 22, 2018

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