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Oddsmakers weigh in: Will an elite recruiter win college football’s national title?

Casinos seem to side with the recruiting rankings.

NCAA Football: Ohio State Spring Game Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

The national champions over the last decade-plus have all signed more four- and five-star recruits over the previous four classes than two- and three-star recruits. A half-decade ago, I dubbed this the Blue-Chip Ratio (BCR).

To put it simply, you don’t ride a bunch of sleeper recruits to the title. It takes lots of talent.

Now that the 2017 list of teams meeting the BCR standard has been released, let’s consult some oddsmakers to get their take on the odds that one of the 10 teams (Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, or USC) wins the national title.

Dave Mason of set the number at -350 for the group of 10, and +260 for the rest of college football, aka the “field.” That means $350 would need to be wagered in order to net a profit of $100 when betting on the BCR teams. A $100 bet on the field would net a profit of $260.

Interestingly, despite the list of BCR teams being reduced from 13 to 10 this year, BetOnline’s odds are actually considerably steeper. Last year the number was -230 for the BCR teams, and +190 for the field.

Scott Cooley of is much steeper than BetOnline for the BCR teams at -520, with the field set at +360. But Bookmaker also had the number considerably higher than BetOnline last year, at -500/+355.

I asked Cooley about the difference. “They were lower than us last year, too, if I recall correctly,” Cooley said. “I could make an argument -450, +300, but nothing lower. “

In 2017, the list matches up well with the preseason Coaches Poll, capturing teams ranked No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 12, 13, 15, and 23 in the preseason.

The teams represent the SEC favorite in Alabama, and its Nos. 2, 3, and 4 in Auburn, Georgia, and LSU, respectively. It includes the Big Ten favorite in Ohio State, and the No. 3 favorite for the league in Michigan. Both ACC favorites are included, in Florida State and Clemson. And the Pac-12 favorite, USC, is also included.

There are a couple of teams who have not recruited to the BCR threshold over the last four years, but who still have decent title odds, including Florida, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Penn State, Stanford, Washington, and Wisconsin.

What wager are you willing to make? The -350 does seem very tempting, particularly with the greatest hopes for the field resting on the Big 12 snapping its title drought that now stretches more than a decade.

Additionally, there is a decent chance that if any of the teams from the remaining field do make the College Football Playoff, their odds to win the two games needed to capture the title would be in excess of +500, which itself is higher than either of the field odds represented above. For example, Washington was +1250 entering the playoff in 2016. It is possible that multiple teams from the remaining field get left out.

At some point, I believe the streak will be snapped, probably by a good recruiting team that just missed the mark behind a great QB. Some say that could be Oklahoma, but the last two times Oklahoma has faced an elite recruiting team on this list that made the Playoff, it lost by 20 to Clemson in the first round of the 2016 CFP and by 21 at home against Ohio State.