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  • The Alabama Crimson Tide went undefeated on their way to the 2020-21 College Football Playoff National Championship
  • Nick Saban’s team wasn’t favored from the outset; See how the odds shifted over the course of the season
  • Looking for this year’s National Championship odds?

On Jan. 11, 2021, the Alabama Crimson Tide demolished the Ohio State Buckeyes 52-24 in the National Championship Game, putting a bow on a perfect 13-0 season. But the Tide weren’t considered the favorite from the outset, taking a backseat to Trevor Lawrence’s Clemson Tigers for much of the year.

The graphs below show how the odds shifted during the COVID-19-impacted season, along with a timeline of major news and notes.

National Championship Favorites

  • Jan. 2: Even after Ohio State’s impressive upset over Clemson in the semifinals, the Buckeyes are a big underdog in the title game (+242).
  • Dec. 28: After the CFP field was set, the early betting led to Alabama improving from -169 to -173 and Clemson improving from +255 to +198,  while Ohio State faded from +531 to +673 and Notre Dame faded from +2050 to +2425.
  • Dec. 21: After dismantling Florida in the SEC title game – as expected – Alabama is a -169 favorite to win the College Football Playoff. Bama faces Notre Dame (+2050) in the semifinals while Clemson (+255) meets Ohio State (+531).
  • Dec. 14: Heading into conference-championship weekend, Alabama has shortened to -142; Clemson remains the second-favorite, but the Tigers faded slightly from +250 to +265.
  • Dec. 7: For the first time this season, the favorite (Alabama) is shorter than even money, sitting at -104.
  • Nov. 30: Ohio State’s inability to take the field in Week 13 (due to COVID) led to their national championship odds fading from +224 to +413.
  • Nov. 25: Not much change after last week. Alabama (+142), Ohio State (+224), and Clemson (+321) continue to sit well ahead of secondary contenders like Florida (+1100) and Notre Dame (+1400).
  • Nov. 16: Alabama (+163), Ohio State (+263), and Clemson (+313) are still heavily favored over the rest of the field, but Florida (+1050) has seen its odds improve two-fold in the last three weeks.
  • Nov. 9: With Trevor Lawrence sidelined for a second straight week, Clemson fell 47-40 (2OT) to Notre Dame. But their title odds only fell from +188 to +313. Oddsmakers still expect Dabo Swinney to win the ACC title once Lawrence returns.
  • Nov. 2: Clemson barely eked out a win over Boston College (34-28) with Trevor Lawrence sidelined by COVID. Their odds fell from +140 to +188. They remain the chalk, but Alabama (+200) is on their heels.
  • Oct. 26: Ohio State held serve in its opener against Nebraska (52-17) and saw its odds improve modestly from +300 to +292.
  • Oct. 18: Despite getting shutout in the second half of a 41-24 loss to Alabama, Georgia (+1400) still has the fourth-best odds to win the title. But the gap between UGA and the top three – Clemson (+135), Alabama (+300), Ohio State (+300) – is growing.
  • Oct. 11: Florida’s loss at Texas A&M dropped its odds from +1333 to +2300. Miami also fell hard, fading from +5000 to +13333 after Clemson handed the Hurricanes a 41-17 beatdown.
  • Oct. 5: Oklahoma (+8200) has tumbled out of the top ten after a second loss in as many weeks. Alabama’s rout of Texas A&M moved them into second at +283, ahead of still-idle Ohio State (+293).
  • Sep. 17: With Ohio State (and the rest of the Big Ten) inserting itself back into 2020 National Championship contention, Clemson and Alabama saw their odds fade slightly.
  • Sep. 11: The National Championship odds are finally back up at multiple sportsbooks. The new data shows Clemson’s odds shortened from +225 to +169 after the Big Ten and Pac-12 opted out of the season.
  • July 16: LSU didn’t stay in quadruple digits for long. The reigning champions improved from +1075 to +825 over the last month.
  • June 17: There has been little change among the favorites, except that reigning champion LSU has dropped from +750 to +1075 since mid-April.
  • May 9: The biggest movement of late saw Oregon (+2500) and Auburn (+2800) move into the top ten, bumping out Texas A&M (+3000) and Notre Dame (+3500)
  • Mar. 13: CFP title futures are still up during the coronavirus pandemic; Clemson (+225) and Ohio State (+300) remain a tier above even Alabama (+450).
  • Feb. 13: Texas A&M (+2800) and Penn State (+3300) both entered the top ten in the last update, while Auburn and Texas (both +4000) dropped out.
  • Jan. 21: Travis Etienne’s return to Clemson has consolidated the Tigers’ status as 2021 title favorites.
  • Jan 14: Though they were just trounced by LSU in the 2020 title game, the Clemson Tigers have opened as 2021 title favorites at almost every sportsbook, ranging from +225 to +250.

Final 2021 National Championship Game Odds

Team Odds
 Alabama -303
Ohio State +242
Clemson Eliminated
Notre Dame Eliminated

Odds as of Jan. 2, 2021.

ACC Contenders

Thanks to Clemson, the ACC has won two of the last four National Championships, and has played in four of the last five.

With QB Trevor Lawrence entering just his junior season, the Tigers are early favorites to win the 2021 title.

Florida State also made an appearance in the playoff back in 2015, losing badly in the semifinal to Oregon.

Big 12 Contenders

The Big 12 is the only Power 5 conference to have never sent a team to the CFP National Championship.

Oklahoma has made the playoff four times, but lost in the semifinals each year.

Big Ten Contenders

The Big Ten is just one of three conferences that has won a CFP National Championship. Ohio State won the very first edition back in 2015.

The Buckeyes lost in the semifinals in both 2017 and 2020. Michigan State made an appearance in 2016, but were hammered 38-0 in the semifinal by Alabama.

PAC-12 Contenders

Oregon is responsible for the PAC-12’s only CFP National Championship appearance. The Ducks lost 42-20 in the very first edition.

Washington is the only team from the conference to make it back to the playoff since then.

SEC Contenders

The SEC is the only conference to ever send two teams to the same playoff. Both Alabama and Georgia were a part of the 2018 CFP, and actually met in the National Championship, as well.

Group of Five Contenders

Archived NCAAF CFP National Championship Odds: 2020, 2019