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Clemson’s 4-Team Playoff Odds (-215) Have Gotten Much Worse Despite Tigers Sitting at 5-0

Brady Trettenero

by Brady Trettenero in College Football

Oct 10, 2019 · 4:21 PM PDT

The Clemson Tigers at Memorial Stadium
Clemson's odds to make the four-team CFP have fallen to -215 despite a 5-0 start. Is there value in betting the Tigers to make the playoff at these new odds? Photo by Mike Burton (Flickr) [CC License]
  • Clemson’s odds to make the College Football Playoff have dropped to -215
  • The Tigers were -530 chalk to reach the four-team CFP in the preseason
  • Will this (so far underwhelming) Clemson team make the playoff for a fifth straight season?

Clemson’s four-team CFP odds have fallen to -215 despite a 5-0 start. The Tigers were heavily favored to make the College Football Playoff entering the year, sitting at -530 odds on Aug. 29.

Sportsbooks now have both Ohio State and Alabama ahead of the Tigers in the updated CFP odds heading into Week 7.

Odds to Make the 2019-20 CFP

Team Odds
Ohio State -350
Alabama -260
Clemson -215
Georgia +105
Oklahoma +105
LSU +190
Penn State +375
Notre Dame +450
Wisconsin +475
Florida +800
Auburn +900
Oregon +1000

*Odds taken 10/10/19.

Clemson has failed to live up to preseason expectations, while other ranked teams have exceeded their forecasts. The Tigers narrowly avoided an upset to North Carolina in Week 5 and star quarterback Trevor Lawrence has fallen out of the 2019 Heisman race.

The Tigers have made four straight appearances in the CFP and have a favorable schedule in the ACC, though. If they win out, they’re getting in.

Is there value in betting Clemson to make the four-team playoff at -215?

Tigers ACC Favorites

The Tigers are undefeated through five games this season and rank No. 2 in the latest AP Top-25 Poll. Their odds to make the CFP have fallen due to a close call against unranked UNC in Week 5. The Tigers didn’t have the lead until the fourth quarter when Lawrence connected with Tee Higgins on a 38-yard touchdown pass with 9:54 left.

Despite narrowly avoiding the upset, Clemson is still the clear favorite in the ACC. Their closest call in the first four games was a a 24-10 win over a ranked Texas A&M team that didn’t get into the endzone until the final seconds.

Clemson’s 15-0 National Championship 2018 season wasn’t without a few hiccups. The Tigers beat the Aggies by just two points and escaped with a four-point win over Syracuse with QB Lawrence out with an injury.

Clemson’s Week 5 game against the Tar Heels should serve as a wake-up call and lead to better play in the second half. The Tigers have a very manageable schedule that will likely lead to a second straight undefeated regular season.

Their toughest test will be against Wake Forest in Week 12, a matchup the Tigers won 63-3 in 2018.

Assessing the Competition

Unlike last year, the top-tier of college football is about eight teams deep this season. The strong competition means that Clemson will likely need to go undefeated to make the CFP.

Ohio State currently has the best odds to make the playoff at -360. Justin Fields is leading a dominant Buckeyes team that has won every game by at least 24 points. If Ohio State wins the Big Ten, they will be in the playoff, even if they drop a game along the way.

The SEC is loaded with talented teams, but Alabama is the only team whose odds are better than even-money. LSU and Georgia are also undefeated powerhouses, but they’ve got tough remaining schedules with games against ranked teams.

LSU and Georgia are likely to pick up one or two losses each, but they’ve looked better than Clemson so far. If all three end up with one-loss resumes, expect UGA and LSU to get in over Clemson.

Heisman favorite Jalen Hurts and Oklahoma are also a strong bet to make the CFP. After the Red River Shootout with Texas in Week 7, the Sooners have a very manageable Big 12 schedule that should see them win out.

With how good the competition has been (we haven’t even touched on still undefeated Wisconsin, Penn State, and Florida), I don’t see Clemson getting in unless they remain unbeaten.

History of the CFP

While the College Football Playoff selection committee takes strength of schedule into consideration, they also look at a team’s history. Clemson has won 20 straight games and four straight ACC titles. The Tigers were National Champions in 2016 and 2018.

Despite strong competition and the ACC having a down year, the history speaks for itself.

Since the inception of the CFP, no power-five program has gone undefeated in their conference and not made the playoff. If the Tigers go undefeated for the third time in five years, it goes without saying they will be one of the four teams in the field.

Verdict on Clemson’s CFP Chances

I think there’s value in betting Clemson to make the CFP a their new odds. The UNC game should be a wake-up call and they can use the bye in Week 6 to rejuvenate for a big second half.

I expect them to make a statement against a wildly unpredictable Florida State team in Week 7 and finish the season strong.

I expect [Clemson] to make a statement against a wildly unpredictable Florida State team in Week 7.

Clemson’s only remaining game against a ranked opponent is Wake Forest. The Tigers demolished the Deacs last season and have better talent on both sides of the ball. I like the chances of Clemson running the table.

Out of all remaining schedules for CFP contenders, Clemson’s makes them a good bet to go undefeated and make the CFP.

Pick: Clemson to make CFP (-215)

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