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College Football Playoff Odds: Ohio State Still Favored Despite Urban Meyer Scandal

Dwayne Haskins Ohio State
Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins is about equally likely to make the College Football Playoff and have the same coach in 2019, according to betting markets. (Photo by Lon Horwedel/Icon Sportswire)
  • Sportsbooks are now offering odds to make the Playoff
  • We should impress on you how hard it is to make a four-team playoff in a sport as big as college football
  • Unless, of course, you’re an Alabama fan

The College Football Playoff is a four-team playoff in a sport with 129-ish teams. Making the Playoff is thus an achievement most teams would celebrate for years, and something Dabo Swinney might get fired for failing to do. Some teams are near locks to make it (Alabama has made every iteration of the Playoff) and some teams have an almost impossible path to the Playoff: Central Florida went undefeated last year and weren’t even really considered.

Sportsbooks are now offering futures odds that teams will make the Playoff. We’ve selected a few of our favorite options, and excluded any bets that don’t have a “No” option. If a sportsbook won’t let you get on the other side of their odds, they don’t really believe in them.

College Football Playoff Favorites

From Bovada as of 8/7/2018

Team Make Playoff Miss Playoff
Alabama -260 +200
Clemson -130 EVEN
Ohio State +150 -180
Georgia +190 -230
Washington +250 -325

No surprise that Alabama is so high here, but it is interesting to see Washington as the fifth favorite. They’re listed ahead of Michigan (+350), Wisconsin (+375), Oklahoma (+400) and Auburn (+450), mostly because they’re in a easier conference and have a very complete team. Chris Petersen has the PAC-12’s most reliable program, and a mostly favorable schedule.

Ohio State is still very high, despite having a major coaching controversy just weeks shy of kick-off, a new quarterback to break in, and an increasingly tough division. The committee will likely only give the Big Ten one spot, so Ohio State has to get past a peaking Michigan, a terrifyingly consistent Wisconsin, and a still-dangerous Penn State. They also have a road game at TCU, which is historically a great way to put a loss on your record, and even travelling to East Lansing will be tough.

Ohio State is still very high, despite having a major coaching controversy just weeks shy of kick-off, a new quarterback to break in, and an increasingly tough division.

Interestingly enough, BetOnline offers odds on two Ohio State things: odds to make the playoff, and odds Urban Meyer is still the head coach in 2019. The similarity between those two numbers would suggest that something is very wrong.

Bet BetOnline Odds
Urban Meyer is the head coach of Ohio State in 2019 +200
Ohio State makes the College Football Playoff this year +160

These teams are boring, however, and Bovada is not giving you interesting odds on them anyway. Let’s talk about some potential Cinderella squads.

College Football Playoff Longshots

Again, these odds from Bovada

Team Make Playoff Miss Playoff
Texas A&M +1000 -2500
Missouri +2500 -10000
Utah +2500 -10000

Texas A&M leaps out at you, but +1000 isn’t nearly long enough. I mean, I understand: they’ve just hired Jimbo Fisher, one of four (and maybe soon three) active coaches to win a national title, they’ve got great access to talent, and if they make things happen on their schedule they’ll be a shoe-in. However: they are not going to win the SEC West, and they probably won’t come close. Bovada has their regular season win total at over/under 7.5, and that might be generous. Think how far TAMU will have to deviate from their expected result to secure a playoff spot.

Then think about the whole network of things that would have to go wrong for Missouri to make it in. According to Bovada, Missouri isn’t in the top three teams in its division, and are ninth in the SEC. Bovada’s odds would suggest that the Missouri Tigers are the third most likely Tigers to win the SEC.

If Missouri makes the Playoff, it’s because something much bigger than the Playoff has happened.

If Missouri makes the Playoff, it’s because something much bigger than the Playoff has happened. Think sweeping NCAA sanctions, or climate change-fueled hurricanes erasing much of the SEC’s scheduling. We’re talking about a total collapse of college football’s existing power structures and systems of hierarchy. And we’re offering it to you at 25/1, on the basis of “Drew Lock is pretty good.”

Utah making the Playoff is still weird, but at least it makes some sense on the field. Kyle Whittingham’s young squad did some great things in 2017, and now that they’re lighter on sophomores and deeper with juniors and seniors things are looking up.

The PAC-12 is a winnable conference, and if Utah can beat Washington at home they’ll have a great chance to keep the rest of the season together. They play Oregon, USC, and Arizona at home, and a loss to Stanford on the road would be thoroughly forgivable.

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Alex studied political science in university but spent most of that time watching college football. Started covering sports betting for this site in 2017. Avid tennis player, golf nut, and motorsports nerd. Career .600 against Ryan Murphy in NBA Jam: Tournament Edition.