If you’re willing to a) accept the potential chaos associated with betting on a sport played by 18- to 22-year-old men and b) let a sportsbook hold on to your money for many months, you can make money betting on college football futures.
Some odds are already out on who will win 2019’s championship. From BetOnline:
- Clemson +225
- Alabama +275
- Georgia +600
- Ohio State +900
- Oklahoma +1000
- Michigan +1600
- Texas +2000
- Florida, Notre Dame, Oregon, Washington +2500
- LSU, Nebraska +3300
- Auburn, Miami, Mississippi State, Penn State, Texas A&M, Wisconsin +5000
- UCF +6600
- Iowa, USC, Utah, Virginia Tech: +10000
- Missouri +15000
- Kentucky, Syracuse +25000
Nobody in this post is making anything resembling a guarantee on any of these. But we do think they’re eye-catching plays with the potential to maybe, just maybe, connect to lucrative effect.
First, the actual smart advice, from Bud: there’s better stuff to bet on.
I won’t claim that there is never a good opportunity to bet a national championship future. However, I do not see anything in this group that I identify as value.
For me to put my money down on a wager 11 months in advance, it had better be something that screams value, almost to the point of having been mistakenly offered by the casino. Something like a team I believe should be the top favorite being offered at 10/1 or better, or a team with an excellent shot to actually make the Playoff being offered at 30/1. I do not see that opportunity here.
Keep in mind that on a normal game wager with -110 odds for each side, the house’s expected margin is 4.7 percent. However, with these odds, its expected margin is roughly 41 percent, 10 times that of a normal bet.
Now that that’s out of the way ...
The simplest answer, per the oddsmakers: Georgia +600
The Dawgs are a pretty distant No. 3 on the board, delivering $600 for a successful $100 bet, as opposed to the $225 you’d get for a Clemson win. They lose a ton of talent, but return QB Jake Fromm, lots of young studs, and (most of) the products of 2018’s No. 1 recruiting class.
Jason’s boring coward bet: Ohio State +900
I’m mildly surprised Georgia has better odds than the Buckeyes, but that’d sound fine to me, were I actually sinking money in a game almost 12 months from now (ok fine, lemme actually do so). Ohio State’s been one weird game away from making the Playoff basically every year of its existence, has the usual load of talent to replace the usual outgoing load, and could weather head coach and quarterback changes just fine.
Jason’s medium bet: Oklahoma +1000
The Sooners might be slightly underrated here? They lose very little, outside of the offensive line, and a Jalen Hurts offense could control the ball more. It’ll score significantly fewer points, but maybe a little ball control could help that defense out. And that schedule isn’t exactly terrifying.
Morgan: Florida +2500
Obviously this is a risky bet, given that the Gators are only beginning to have some clarity at quarterback after a decade without it, but Dan Mullen’s Year One surprised the hell out of me. I’m not a betting gal, but screw it, I’m excited to put some money down on my alma mater.
Jason’s bold, adventurous bet: LSU +3300
Same story as ever: LSU has nearly the same talent level as the teams at the top of the odds list, but needs to put it all together.
Complicating matters: road trip to Bama, the rest of a hard conference schedule, trip to Texas, and two non-powers who could’ve given LSU scares this year (Georgia Southern and Utah State).
But vibrant living means slapping down real currency on the LSU Tigers against all better judgment and then worrying about it for a calendar year, so let’s live mas.
Alex: USC +10000
In light of Clay Helton not being fired and Kliff Kingsbury dashing off to the NFL after a month as offensive coordinator, there’s a solid chance they struggle again. But this remains one of the five or so most talented rosters in the country, and five-star QB JT Daniels will be a sophomore instead of a freshman.
The Pac-12 is bad, and this is a much more enticing play to me than conference favorite Washington at +2500. I don’t expect USC to win much, but I’m excited about the chance to get an ultra-talented team in a lousy conference, at a number where I can play $10 just for fun and hope I luck into $1,000.
Richard: Syracuse +25000
I’m supposed to give you some sharp-like advice. The truth is I think all these odds suck, so why the hell not swing for the fences if I have to make a play? I’ll take a flier on Clemson’s kryptonite. A $10 bet could turn into $2,500. Let’s get this bread.
Oh, and odds are +350 for a Bama-Clemson title rematch
Alternatively, you could get a -550 line on the Playoff National Championship not being between the Tide and Tigers after the 2019 season. It makes sense that in a sport with 130 teams, oddsmakers would view it as highly unlikely that any two specific teams would meet in the title game, no matter their history. But these teams could both absolutely get even better, somehow, and their schedules aren’t scary at all.