Dan Kilbridge for Bookies.com

By Dan Kilbridge | | 4 mins

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How Debut College Football Playoff Rankings Impact Betting

How Debut College Football Playoff Rankings Impact Betting
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The first College Football Playoff rankings finally arrived Tuesday night, setting a roadmap for the rest of the season and allowing fans of college football betting to see where the committee is at on favorites and bubble teams alike.

It also showed the discrepancy between sportsbooks and rankings, with betting favorite and unbeaten defending national champion Clemson currently outside the top four. These are of course fluid rankings and will fluctuate over the next month. Now, at least, we have something tangible to work with while trying to forecast the National Championship betting picture.

College Football Playoff Rankings & Title Odds

TeamCurrent OddsOdds Rank
1. Ohio State+3003
2. LSU+7004
3. Alabama+2752
4. Penn State+33007
5. Clemson+2001
6. Georgia+12005
7. Oregon+40008
8. Utah+66009
9. Oklahoma+25006
10. Florida+1000010
11. Auburn+25000T-13
12. Baylor+1500011
13. Wisconsin+25000T-13
14. Michigan+50000T-14
15. Notre Dame+50000T-14
16. Kansas StateN/AN/A

All odds via DraftKings are current as of publication but subject to change. You can check out and compare the latest NCAA football futures here.

Why Don’t Title Odds Match CFP Rankings?

It’s not the CFP committee’s job to forecast future performance. These members are basing the rankings solely off what teams have done to this point. Hence, an unbeaten Penn State team is currently in the top four with no consideration of the likelihood it upsets Ohio State Nov. 23 in Columbus.

Clemson is another perfect example. The Tigers have been the betting favorite all season and still are at +200. That’s mostly due to a very soft schedule in a down year for the ACC, all but ensuring an unbeaten season and, eventually, a spot in the CFP. It would take a huge upset for the Tigers to lose in the regular season. The defending national champs won’t be watching from home assuming they take care of business. It’s just that, in a bubble, the resume doesn’t justify a spot in the top four.

With these key differences in mind, here’s where we think the value is coming off the first official rankings of 2019.

3 CFP Rankings 2019 Betting Tips

  • Buckeye Busters: Ohio State is No. 1 in these rankings for a reason and certainly might be the best team in the country. Oddsmakers don’t see it that way, pricing them +300 behind LSU and Alabama. OSU will knock PSU out of the top four with a win in Columbus. It should also be able to get past rival Michigan in the final game of the season to finish undefeated.
  • Paper Tigers: Clemson failed the eyeball test early this season. That near-loss to North Carolina at home clearly stayed with committee members. Placing PSU above the Tigers says plenty. It doesn’t look like they’re in line for the No. 1 seed even with a perfect regular season. Odds of +200 aren’t great given the caliber of opponent they’ll see in the CFP. Fading Clemson seems wise.
  • Bulldogs Bounce Back: Committee Chair Rob Mullens said Tuesday that Georgia’s wins over No. 15 Notre Dame and No. 10 Florida made up for the home loss to unranked South Carolina. UGA bettors should take comfort in that. Beating the Gators cleared the way to the SEC title game and totally restored its playoff hopes. Odds of +1200 aren’t bad for a team in control of its own destiny and in good standing with the committee.

New Year’s Six Games

CFP Semifinals: The semifinals are split between the Fiesta Bowl and Peach Bowl this year.

Sugar Bowl: The Sugar Bowl gets the best SEC and Big 12 teams not in the playoff.

Rose Bowl: Like the Sugar Bowl, conference tie-ins rule this game, which will pit the best Big Ten and Pac-12 teams not in the playoff.

Orange Bowl: The ACC will be represented, and then the bowl picks from SEC, Big Ten or Notre Dame.

Cotton Bowl: No conference tie-ins, so two at-large teams, likely including the best of the Group of Five.


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CFP Championship History

Inaugurated in 2014 to replace the Bowl Championship Series, the CFP uses a 13-member committee to determine the four teams that will play in two national semifinals, which feed into the championship game. The semifinals are rotated among six top bowls, with the other four games receiving marquee matchups when not part of the CFP.

For the 2019-20 season, the semifinals are the Peach and Fiesta Bowls, with the national championship slated for New Orleans on Jan. 13. Getting there is a season-long chase, not just for teams, but also for bettors, who watch odds fluctuate from week to week and try to judge which four teams will hear their names called by the committee on selection day.

Recent CFP Champions

SeasonWinnerLoserLine
2018ClemsonAlabama+170
2017AlabamaGeorgia-170
2016ClemsonAlabama+180
2015AlabamaClemson-260
2014Ohio StateOregon+175