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Florida Gators’ Playoff Odds Plummet From +700 to +1000

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The odds of the Florida Gators to make the playoff have grown longer. Photo by Berniestew (Wikimedia Commons) [CC License].
  • Florida’s path to the Playoff has always been one of the toughest, and now odds reflect it
  • The Gators just took a hit to a defense that needs to support a brand new offensive line
  • Florida is now on even footing with teams including Washington and Notre Dame in the CFP odds

Florida shifts its attention from preseason improvement and excitement to an opponent earlier than most, with its so-called Week 0 game against Miami coming up on August 24. As it does, the outlook for a surprise run to the College Football Playoff gets worse, by some estimations.

Will They Make The Four-Team Playoff?

Team Yes Odds No Odds
Clemson -550 +425
Alabama -350 +290
Georgia +120 -140
Ohio State +240 -280
Michigan +250 -300
LSU +500 -700
Texas +600 -8000
Oregon +800 -1250
Notre Dame +1000 -1500
Washington +1000 -1500
Florida +1000 -1500

The Gators are favored to win that opening game against Miami and could feasibly get out to a 6-0 start, yet recently, sportsbooks have gotten less optimistic about their chances of making the CFP. It may be a significant development for those inclined to back the Gators before the odds change, but for those in my line of thinking against long shots in today’s college football, Dan Mullen’s team never a valuable 2020 CFP odds bet.

Why the change?

It’s not been a fun offseason in Gainesville, with several high-profile talent defections both to the NFL and elsewhere in college football. But most of those came months ago and shouldn’t have impacted the recent change in odds.

The one recent development that could have started the change was the dismissal of John Huggins, a sophomore defensive back expected to see his role increase in the 2019 defense. Huggins’ short time in Gainesville was always troubled, starting with being accused of choking a female tutor in October and missing all of preseason practice to this point with what the school called a family issue.

Florida is hoping to get some unexpected help on defense with the addition of Georgia transfer linebacker Brenton Cox, but his waiver request is still pending. However, the Gators were already expected to be solid in the box with returning defensive linemen such as Jabari Zuniga and Kyree Campbell.

It’s also worth noting this is not the best schedule to have soft spots in the secondary, with Kelly Bryant now in the SEC East, LSU threatening to have a competent passing game this season and two September conference foes (Kentucky and Tennessee) returning quarterbacks. Not that Florida will be light in the secondary, with CJ Henderson and Marco Wilson who are promising prospects coming back, but Huggins was projected as a breakout player for Todd Grantham’s defense.

Then, in the context of this bet — requiring the Gators to make the College Football Playoff — that same secondary would likely have to meet Tua Tagovailoa and the nation’s best wide receiving corps in the SEC Championship Game. Oh, and we never mentioned Georgia — you know, the team that still has a talent advantage over Florida and the team most likely to win the SEC East.

Frankly, I’m not sure what inspired this change in odds. I doubt it was the Huggins news; maybe they have an inside lead on the Cox waiver being denied. In any event, I can (and kind of did) make the case that the odds should have been this long anyway. Florida may make the College Football Playoff someday soon, but it won’t be in 2019.

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