• LSU, Clemson, Ohio State, and Oklahoma qualified for the 2020 CFP
  • See how their odds to reach the national semifinals changed during the 2019-20 season
  • See the current four-team playoff odds here

The 2020 College Football Playoff included three familiar faces – Clemson, Ohio State, and Oklahoma – plus newcomer LSU. The Tigers ultimately captured the title in dominant fashion, but it took some time for sportsbooks to buy into Joe Burrow and company.

As shown in charts and graphs below, LSU’s four-team playoff odds lagged behind the favorites for most of the year. See how the odds for all the contenders ebbed and flowed over the course of the 2019-20 NCAAF season.

Average 2020 College Football Playoff Odds

  • [Nov 19] Minnesota and Baylor are both off the board after losing their first games of the season in Week 12.  Alabama dropped from +220 to +280 after Tua’s hip injury.
  • [Nov 12] Meet the Gophers! Minnesota improved from +1400 to +600 after its statement win over former no. 4 Penn State. Of course, the biggest gainer was LSU (-240 to -800) which beat the Bama in Tuscaloosa.
  • [Nov 6] The day after the initial CFP rankings put Clemson at #5, the Tigers’ odds to make the playoff improved to a nation-leading -450.
  • [Oct 28] After Oklahoma (+250) lost in Week 9, there’s now a big divide between the top-four (Alabama, Clemson, LSU, Ohio State) and the field.
  • [Oct 23] Clemson (-300) and Alabama (-230) are back in the top-two spots, with Ohio State falling to -190 despite remaining undefeated.
  • [Oct 10] Midway through the year, Ohio State now has the shortest odds (-360), even though Clemson (-220) and Bama (-260) remain undefeated.
  • [Aug 29] On the eve of Week 1, the two favorites saw their odds get a bit worse: Clemson (-560 to -530) and Alabama (-340 to -290).
  • [Aug 12] Florida and Auburn both saw their odds get considerably longer, dropping from +700 to +1000 as bettors continue to pound the favorites, Clemson, Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, and Oklahoma.
  • [July 26] Two second-tier contenders are trending down: Ohio State fell outside the top-five (now at +230), getting passed by arch-rival Michigan (now +220). Oklahoma fell from +140 to +190.
  • [July 17] Good Lord, Clemson is now -480 on average to qualify for the CFP. As the table below shows, BookMaker.eu is paying +425 on the Tigers missing out.
  • [July 4] Clemson is now a -340 favorite to make the CFP (77.3% implied probability). The other big gainer since the odds opened is Notre Dame, which started at +380 and is now +330.
  • [May 17] Originally, only eight teams were on the board, but now 14 teams are available. The six new teams are Auburn, Florida, LSU, Nebraska, Oregon, and Washington.
  • [May 9] Alabama and Clemson both start the offseason as -250 favorites to make the four-team playoff yet again.

Odds to Make 2020 College Football Playoff

2020 CFP Contenders at BetOnline (Nov. 19) Yes No Previous CFP Appearances
Alabama +280 -340 5 (2015-2019)
Baylor OFF OFF 0
Clemson -1000 +700 4 (2016-2019)
Georgia +175 -210 1 (2018)
LSU -1250 +800 0
Minnesota OFF OFF 0
Ohio State -1000 +700 2 (2015, 2017)
Oklahoma +400 -500 3 (2016, 2018, 2019)
Oregon +400 -500 1 (2015)
Utah +290 -350 0

NB: the year of the title game is used to denote that season’s four-team CFP, even though the semifinals are often played prior to New Year’s Day. 

Understandably, Alabama and Clemson opened as huge chalk to reach the four-team playoff. Alabama had literally never missed out in the five-year history of the playoff before 2019-20. Clemson had made it four straight years heading into the season and returned 2019 Heisman Trophy-favorite Trevor Lawrence.