Alabama, Clemson Co-Favored After 2019 National Signing Day
One of the key aspects of the college football offseason is recruiting, and the book has now mostly closed on the 2019 classes. Now that we know how the blue chips have landed, the college football betting futures to win the 2020 National Championship are back on the board.
Let’s take a look at the updated odds to see how recruiting will impact the coming season.
No Surprise: Alabama, Clemson Again Favored
It’s no surprise to see that the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Clemson Tigers (+200) remain at the top of the list. Let’s be real: These teams have lorded themselves above everyone else in college football for the past four seasons. They met in three of the past four national championship games. They have met in each of the last four College Football Playoffs.
The Tide had another stellar recruiting period, finishing either as the top-ranked class or second, depending on which rankings you follow. They nabbed Antonio Alfanzo, who is ranked as the No. 1 overall pass rusher by 247Sports and a slew of other top-tier defensive players.
They picked up three players in the Top 10, which is good news for coach Nick Saban, who has turned 48 percent of his five-star signings into first-round picks in the NFL. The Tide’s defense needs some work after it was picked apart by Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, a 2019 Heisman betting favorite.
Speaking of which, Clemson will be among the favorites to win it all as long as Lawrence is under center. He led the Tigers to a championship as a true freshmen. He’s only going to get better. On the strength of their championship, they’ve had one of the best recruiting classes in the school’s history, finishing No. 10 as the rankings are concerned.
Ohio State, Georgia, Oklahoma Headline Second-Tier
Ohio State (+700) is the third in line according to the odds. The Buckeyes have a question mark, chiefly because Urban Meyer is gone and Ryan Day is in. Even though Day is highly regarded in the college football coaching industry, he is not Meyer, and he therefore has a lot to prove.
It is very rarely an easy thing to replace a legend, and that is why Ohio State will be doubted to a certain degree next season. The reason OSU will have a really good chance to win the national title is that Justin Fields transferred from Georgia to be the Buckeyes’ new quarterback and was granted immediate eligibility for this season.
The former five-star prospect is a huge boost for Day in his attempt to take the baton from Meyer. The Buckeyes still had the top recruiting class in the Big Ten and third overall.
Georgia (+800) is the fourth team on the board in terms of betting odds, but it again had the second-best recruiting class behind Alabama. They’ve now had a top-three recruiting class for three straight seasons.
This year, they landed the top player in the country – defensive lineman Nolan Smith – as well as four five-star players. Georgia plays Alabama very tough. The SEC is still likely a two-horse race between them and the Tide while teams like LSU, Florida and South Carolina try to close the gap.
Oklahoma (+1200) is fifth in line, according to the odds, and the reason they are here after losing star quarterback Kyler Murray is the genius of head coach Lincoln Riley. He will keep the Sooners in the conversation thanks to the recruitment of Alabama transfer Jalen Hurts.
Hurts gives the Sooners a big-time quarterback and he should be unleashed now that he’s out of a run-first offense. Oklahoma’s recruiting class tied them for ninth in the country with Texas, who will be their main competition in the Big 12 next year.
Can A Longshot Surprise Thanks To A Good Recruiting Class?
Michigan (+1600) bounced back with a Top-10 recruiting class this offseason after ranking 21st last year. There are questions and concerns about Jim Harbaugh’s staff in terms of the evaluation and development of these recruits, though.
The Wolverines have been at least 10-3 in three of the four years Harbaugh has been there, but they’ve really struggled against elite teams and rivals. The possibility of Ohio State falling without Meyer gives Harbaugh a chance to bust into the top tier of college football teams.
Florida, LSU and Texas (+2500) are the only other teams at +2500 or lower worth considering. They are all programs with improved recruiting classes and more depth than they had a year ago.
There is some possible value betting these teams as they could emerge – especially LSU, after another top-tier recruiting class. At the same time, it still feels like Alabama, Georgia and Oklahoma are a cut above in their respective conferences.