Ohio State has nation's best odds to win conference title in 2015
Sportsbook CG Technology has released its latest conference championship odds for the Big Ten, SEC, ACC, Pac-12 and Big 12 in 2015. Let's take a look at the teams with the best odds in the Power 5 conferences, as well as others who could be interesting values to take a closer look at this fall.
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Big Ten: Ohio State Buckeyes (1/2)
Ohio State not only has the best odds to win the Big Ten title, but at 1-to-2 is has the best odds to win any league title in the nation. The defending national champions are the easy favorites to win the B1G, but if you're looking for "value," then Urban Meyer's team probably isn't the best bet considering you'd have to wager $200 to win $100 at these odds. Who's next?
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Big Ten: Michigan State Spartans (13/4)
Considering how difficult it is to win back-to-back league titles, there's plenty of reason to think Ohio State will catch some bad luck in 2015. In that case, the Spartans are as good a bet as any. They do have to travel to Columbus this year, but Mark Dantonio's team is good enough to win anywhere. After MSU, Wisconsin has the third-best odds to win the Big Ten at 8-to-1.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY SportsKevin Jairaj
ACC: Florida State Seminoles (5/2)
Even without Jameis Winston, it's no surprise FSU is the favorite to win the ACC entering 2015. The Noles will still be loaded with talent -- hello, RB Dalvin Cook (pictured) -- and the ACC isn't exactly the deepest league in the country. But FSU could be knocked off by this next team ...
ACC: Clemson Tigers (3/1)
Clemson is right behind FSU in the ACC pecking order and not by much. The Tigers get FSU at home this year (Nov. 7), as well as Louisville and Georgia Tech. They do have to travel to Miami and NC State. If QB Deshaun Watson returns fully healthy from knee surgery and takes the leap that some believe he will as a sophomore, Clemson is easily an ACC title contender.
Brett Davis-USA TODAY SportsBrett Davis
ACC: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (4/1)
Before we move on from the ACC, we have to give perennially overlooked Georgia Tech some love, as the Jackets are just behind Clemson at 4-to-1. GT won the ACC Coastal last year, and returns QB Justin Thomas in Paul Johnson's triple-option offense. They play at Duke and at Clemson -- with FSU at home -- but GT will be a tough out again in the ACC.
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Big 12: TCU Horned Frogs (17/10)
Trevone Boykin and the Frogs were good enough to play in the College Football Playoff last year, which was evident when they destroyed Ole Miss after getting left out. TCU was a co-champ with Baylor last year and enters 2015 as a playoff favorite. Speaking of Baylor ...
Big 12: Baylor Bears (5/2)
The Bears are right behind TCU in this oddsmaker's view of the Big 12, probably because they have to break in a new QB and also travel to Fort Worth for the TCU game this year. Seth Russell should pick up right where Bryce Petty left off, though, and nobody would see it as an upset if the Bears won the Big 12.
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY SportsMark D. Smith
Big 12: Oklahoma (4/1)
Considering how mediocre the Sooners were in 2014, entering this fall this close to Baylor seems like a lot of respect for Bob Stoops' program. Everything will depend on new OC Lincoln Riley a) finding a quarterback and b) jacking up OU's tempo in the Air Raid to get some more points on the board. If you're looking for true "value," Kansas State at 10-to-1 is interesting because you know Bill Snyder's team won't flop.
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Pac-12: Oregon Ducks (9/4)
No surprise that the Ducks have the best odds to win the Pac-12, as Oregon is coming off a national championship appearance and have a ton of weapons on offense. QB Marcus Mariota is gone, but transfer Vernon Adams Jr. could step in and be a star this fall. Until further notice, the Pac-12 goes through Eugene. Meanwhile, this next team is getting a ton of hype.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY SportsGary A. Vasquez
Pac-12: USC Trojans (11/4)
USC is one of those legacy programs that will always get respect, perhaps even more than it has earned. Many are calling for USC to win the Pac-12 South in Steve Sarkisian's second year, with QB Cody Kessler a possible Heisman candidate, and the Trojans are indeed capable of that. But they have holes to fill on defense -- beginning with Leonard Williams up front -- and need a new reliable No. 1 WR to emerge. Plus, they have to play at ASU and at Oregon. USC will be in the mix, but it's not a foregone conclusion.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY SportsKirby Lee
Pac-12: Arizona Wildcats (7/1)
Arizona is a dark horse to win the league -- it's behind Stanford (5/1), UCLA (5/1) and ASU (6/1), in addition to Oregon and USC -- but the Wildcats are interesting as a sleeper. They have stud LB Scooby Wright on D, a breakout candidate in QB Anu Solomon and a ton of WRs. They have to go to USC, ASU and Stanford but get UCLA at home and miss Oregon. Plus, the Wildcats got some experience last year by winning the North a year earlier than they were expected to even be a contender. They are capable of getting back to the league title game.
Casey Sapio-USA TODAY SportsCasey Sapio
SEC: Alabama Crimson Tide (5/2)
Not many coaches can be the unquestioned favorite to win their league despite not having a clear starting QB entering fall camp, but that applies to Nick Saban. We can be assured he'll have some solid under center to hand off to Derrick Henry and spread the ball to Bama's bounty of playmakers. Plus, the defense could be the SEC's best, per usual. If you're looking for value, though, the Tide don't offer it. There are numerous other teams that could win the SEC.
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY SportsMarvin Gentry
SEC: Auburn Tigers (15/4)
Auburn has the second-best odds to win the SEC, and the Tigers might be in the best shape of any team depending on a first-year full-time starter at QB. Jeremy Johnson filled in for Nick Marshall when the latter was suspended last year and was phenomenal; Johnson could be a Heisman candidate in 2015. We know Gus Malzahn will score points, but the real promise at Auburn this year is Will Muschamp taking over the defense. The Tigers get Alabama at home and certainly could see themselves in Atlanta.
Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY SportsShanna Lockwood
SEC: Georgia Bulldogs (5/1)
UGA is third in the SEC odds ranking at 5-to-1, probably for two reasons: Nick Chubb and the overall state of the East. The sophomore running back could be the best at his position this fall, and Georgia is the clear favorite in the East with Florida and South Carolina retooling and Tennessee not quite on its level. If Brice Ramsey settles into the QB spot and the defense improves some more in Jeremy Pruitt's second year, UGA should be playing for the title.
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SEC: Missouri Tigers (12/1)
Let's end on two value picks. First, Missouri -- because everyone always overlooks Missouri. The Tigers have won the East the last two years and are still at 12/1. Their schedule alone is enough reason to take a shot on them: no Alabama, no Auburn, no LSU, no Texas A&M, no Ole Miss. They do have to go to Georgia and Arkansas, but Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee come to Mizzou. It's set up for a third straight trip to ATL.
SEC: Texas A&M (15/1)
The SEC West is the toughest division in college football, but A&M is definitely worth a flier at 15-to-1 odds. Why? The Aggies won eight games last year with a freshman QB and absolutley zero defense. In 2015, QB Kyle Allen should be a breakout star in his second year and superb defensive coordinator John Chavis has come from LSU to show the Aggies what an SEC D looks like. Plus, A&M gets Bama, Auburn, Arkansas and Mississippi State at home while having to travel to only Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and LSU (they play only three road games all year, not counting the neutral-site opener against Arizona State). If you want a sleeper, A&M is as good as any.