As football markets begin to open up months prior to the season, some shops are daring bettors to take early stances on which teams will make or miss the College Football Playoff.
Here are the odds on eight of the more established programs in the country:
|Team||Odds to Make||Odds to Miss|
Only 10 different programs have clinched a spot in the College Football Playoff since its inception in 2014-15. Don't be surprised if the majority of next year's field is comprised of prodigious blue bloods.
Despite little turnover in a four-team field among 120-plus college football programs - Alabama has clinched a berth in all five years, Clemson in each of the previous four - there has been at least one new program in the playoff every year, most recently, undefeated Notre Dame. That leaves Texas and Michigan as potential newcomers, who are being offered at the longest odds of the bunch.
Only two programs in the country can reload their talent on an annual basis with ease, and the reigning national champs are one of them, with Alabama being the other. Both teams share the same odds to make/miss, but siding with the Tigers boils down to the state of the ACC, which should provide another clear path for them to clinch their fifth consecutive trip to the playoff.
This is a heavy price to pay on the surface, but it makes sense when you crunch the numbers - we think this number should be a whole lot longer than -400. Credit the Fighting Irish for ripping through their regular-season schedule without a loss in 2018, but they won five games by eight points or fewer and played a handful of paper tigers undergoing rebuilds. Notre Dame is almost always a popular pick in the market, but we don't like anything about the Fighting Irish in 2019. They play a whopping seven teams who are coming off a bye week this fall, so expect a drop-off in South Bend.
Ohio State will be one of the most talented teams in the nation yet again this season, whether or not Urban Meyer is still calling the shots. We'll finally get to see dual-threat quarterback transfer and Heisman candidate Justin Fields used in a full-time role following his cup of coffee with Georgia. Though the Buckeyes lost a pair of star receivers in Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin, the cupboard is still full for Fields and the offense to thrive. Meanwhile, Ohio State also has potential 2020 No. 1 pick Chase Young anchoring the defensive line.
Getting Penn State, Wisconsin, and Michigan State at home and owning Michigan the way they have, the Buckeyes are a plus-money play to keep in your back pocket.
Texas might actually be back, folks.
Oklahoma will set the standard in the Big 12 for consecutive playoff appearances, but Texas has arguably the highest ceiling of any team. Week 2 against LSU provides a tough test, but the Longhorns could realistically run the table. Head coach Tom Herman is slowly piecing everything together and should have an experienced team to call on come crunch time.
Alex Kolodziej is theScore's betting writer. He's a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 11 years. He can quote every line from "Rounders" and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AlexKoIodziej.