- Clemson has opened as 2021 National Championship favorites (+225)
- Most sportsbooks have Alabama as the second-favorite, but Bovada has the Tide at +500
- Is there value betting on Nick Saban’s team to win the College Football Playoff next season?
The 2019-2020 college football season has come to an end after LSU finished its immaculate season with a 42-25 win over Clemson in the National Championship game, a rare title game without the Alabama Crimson Tide.
The Tide missed the four-team College Football Playoff for the first time in its six-year history, and next year’s team is going to look a lot different with a good chunk of offensive and defensive starters departing.
Most sportsbooks remain high on Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide in 2021, but there’s a pretty sizable difference in their 2021 CFP National Championship odds at BetOnline and Bovada.
Odds to Win the 2021 National Championship
|Team||Odds at BetOnline||Odds at Bovada|
Odds taken January 14 2020.
Addition by Subtraction
It is not going to be easy for Nick Saban to field a team as formidable as this past season. On the offensive side of the ball, they averaged 342.2 passing yards per game with one of the best receiving cores in the country. They scored 47.2 points per game and allowed just 18.8 points per game.
We don’t have a big enough sample size to know how good quarterback Mac Jones actually is. Jerry Jeudy, DeVonta Smith, and company made Jones look like a star in the Citrus Bowl. However, he won’t have the same sort of talent that Tua Tagovailoa was blessed with in the last couple of years.
Tagovailoa, offensive lineman Jedrick Wills Jr, and wide receivers Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs will all probably go in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft this April. These players were all integral parts of the well-oiled machine that was the Alabama offense.
There’s still plenty coming back, though: leading receiver DeVonta Smith (1,256 yards, 14 TDs) has announced that he’s returning for his senior season; fellow wideout Jaylen Waddle (560 yards, 6 TDs) will be back as a junior; and lead running backs Najee Harris (1, 224 rushing yards, 20 total TDs) and Brian Robinson Jr. (441 rushing yards, 5 TDs) will keep the ground game formidable.
On the defensive side of the ball, Alabama will be losing a lot of starters. Defensive backs Xavier McKinney and Trevon Diggs and defensive lineman Raekwon Davis have all been slated as potential first-round picks, as well.
Alabama has serious defensive talent coming in, as usual. The Tide have locked down the number-one ranked defensive end in Chris Braswell, and the number-five ranked defensive end, Will Anderson. Demouy Kennedy has also signed with the Tide as the third-ranked inside linebacker in the 2020 class.
The unit will be led by linebacker Dylan Moses, who elected to come back for his senior season after missing the entire 2019-2020 season with a knee injury.
With Alabama losing Anfernee Jennings and Terrell Lewis at OLB, it’s a good thing 3 of the 4 edge players in the 2020 class are early enrollees.
• Chris Braswell (#1 overall/#1 WDE)
• Drew Sanders (#21 overall/#2 ATH)
• Will Anderson (#78 overall/#5 WDE)
— Clint Lamb (@ClintRLamb) January 9, 2020
Even though they won’t see a lot of time on the field with Harris and Robinson getting a bulk of the carries, Alabama has recruited two four-star running backs in Jase McClellan and Roydell Williams. After losing Jeudy and Ruggs, the Tide also signed two four-star receivers in Thaiu Jones-Bell and Traeshon Holden.
The biggest signing for Alabama is the number-one ranked quarterback in the 2020 class, Bryce Young. The young dual-threat quarterback will be nipping at the heels of Mac Jones for the starting job this summer.
Mac Jones was thrown into the fire when Tagovailoa went down with an injury halfway through the year, but he was ready for it. Jones threw at least three passes in five games as Tua’s backup before Tagovailoa was declared out for the season. Once Jones claimed the starting role, he finished with 1,338 passing yards, 13 touchdowns, and two interceptions.
Young and Tua’s brother, Taulia Tagovailoa, will be looking to turn heads in training camp. Young finished with 4,528 passing yards and 58 touchdowns as a senior in high school, while Taulia Tagovailoa played in three games this year for Alabama and threw for 100 yards and one touchdown.
I think Mac Jones will start the season as Alabama’s quarterback, but if he struggles at all, Nick Saban will feel confident putting in either Young or Tagovailoa.
Alabama’s Always a Safe Bet
Although Alabama will lose a lot of players to the NFL Draft this year, so did a lot of other teams in the SEC. LSU is losing Heisman quarterback Joe Burrow, star safety Grant Delpit, and receiver Justin Jefferson. Georgia is losing quarterback Jake Fromm, running back D’Andre Swift, and offensive tackle Andrew Thomas.
Alabama’s odds at +350 seem like the right number, so I am keen on the +500 on offer at Bovada. Alabama will have the best team in the SEC coming into the 2020-21 season, it is just a matter of staying healthy, finding their QB1, and executing in big games.
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