The countdown to the start of a new season of college football is on. With a pair of early games on the slate for Saturday, Aug. 24 as a tease, Week 1 of the new season gets underway the following weekend with most Division IA (FBS) teams in action.
When it comes to the betting odds at online sportsbooks to win this season’s national title, it appears to be a two-team race between the ACC’s Clemson Tigers and the SEC’s Alabama Crimson Tide. These two teams met in last season’s College Football Playoff National Championship with Clemson coming away with a stunning 44-16 victory as a five-point underdog.
These two powers met the season before in the playoff semifinals and Alabama got the best of things with a 24-6 win as a 3.5-point favorite. Clemson won its first national title under head coach Dabo Swinney in 2016 when it ran past Alabama 35-31 as a 6.5-point underdog in that season’s national title game.
Betting The Favorites
Heading into the 2019 season, Clemson has the slight edge as a +225 favorite to successfully defend last year’s title run. Alabama is a close second at +250 before the odds start to fall off from there. Many college football experts would include the SEC’s Georgia Bulldogs into this elite group as +700 third-favorites.
If things go according to plan, the Bulldogs will get their chance to knock off Alabama in a rematch of last season’s SEC Championship. Georgia came up short in a 35-28 loss to the Tide last year in that game-closing as a heavy 12-point underdog.
Off the three teams, Clemson has the easiest path back to the four-team college football playoff. Its betting odds to win the ACC are set at -335 with the Miami Hurricanes next on the list at +1300 odds. Alabama is a -150 favorite to win the SEC with Georgia set as a +275 second-favorite.
I would look for a Clemson vs. Alabama rematch in this year’s CFP Championship. These two programs have created a rather wide gap between themselves and the next tier of power teams in D-IA ball.
The Best of the Rest
Anything can happen in a one-game showdown, so when it comes to college football picks, there may be some value in Georgia as the third-best team on the list. The fourth-favorite to win the 2019 national title is the Big Ten’s Ohio State Buckeyes at +1400 odds. I am not all that sure that Ohio State is even the best team in its conference with the Michigan Wolverines waiting in the wings.
Michigan is fifth on the NCAAF title futures list at +1600 betting odds. Ohio State is a +165 favorite to win the Big Ten with the Wolverines a close +215 second. The pressure is mounting on Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh to get past the Buckeyes and he may have his best chance to get it done this year.
The top team in the Big 12 is the Oklahoma Sooners and their odds to win the 2019 national title are next on the list at +1800. The SEC’s LSU Tigers are at +2500 with Texas (+2700), Utah (+4000) and Oregon (+4500) rounding out the Top 10.
It is hard to see any of these teams getting past Clemson or Alabama in a head-to-head NCAA football game prediction. One of those top two programs may fall, but it is highly doubtful that they will both sit out this year’s CFP title game.
If I had to go with one team at higher odds, it would be Oklahoma. The Sooners almost beat Alabama last season in a semifinal matchup and they should have a clear path back to the playoff out of the Big 12.
Two big games to mark on the betting board at your favorite online sportsbook includes Ohio State on the road against Michigan on Nov. 30. The other is the annual showdown between Oklahoma and Texas on Oct. 12.