On Tuesday, college football fans were given a lovely early season gift: Updated college football national championship odds! After the odds were first released in January, the folks at the Westgate Super Book have given us new odds now that we’re three full weeks into the season.
Clearly quite a bit has changed, both at the top (where Louisville went from 60-1 down to 5-1) and the bottom, where USC now has the same odds as Indiana to win the title (1,000-1 for those of you who are feeling frisky). But with the new odds out, who are the best bets?
Here are our Top 10. Please note that this isn’t a list of the teams most likely to win the title, but instead the best values, given what we’ve seen and who they play from here on out.
Let’s get it started!
Getty ImagesScott Halleran
Washington, 12-1 (opened at 40-1)
No, the competition hasn’t been great, but the Huskies are 3-0 with three dominating wins. With a game at Stanford at home in two weeks (and with as bad as the Pac-12 has been this year), if the Huskies can win it isn’t hard to imagine them cruising to a Pac-12 North title. From there, a Pac-12 title and spot in the College Football Playoff doesn’t just seem probable, but likely.
Now, would it be great to get the Huskies at a better number than 12-1? Sure. But think about how low these odds will drop in a few weeks if Washington beats Stanford. If you believe in U-Dub, get on the bandwagon while you can.
Getty ImagesOtto Greule Jr
Tennessee, 25-1 (opened at 15-1)
For all the handwringing about how inconsistent Tennessee has been early in the season, the simple truth is they’re 3-0 and appear to be a cut above the rest in the SEC East. Winning the division gets them into the SEC title game, and who knows, stranger things have happened than a loaded Vols squad winning the SEC. Do that, and you’re almost certainly in the playoff.
Is that all likely to happen? Probably not, but at 25-1 you could do a lot worse with your money.
Texas, 100-1 (opened at 100-1)
Yes, the Longhorns lost in controversial fashion last week, but doesn’t this feel a bit low for the new-look Longhorns? They’re still a work in progress but just might be the most impressive team so far in the Big 12, and if you win the Big 12 -- without a conference championship game for one more season, mind you -- you have a shot to get in the playoff.
With a talented, young roster, could the 2016 Longhorns take the look of the 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes? It seems possible.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY SportsKevin Jairaj
Arkansas, 100-1 (opened at 100-1)
Quietly, the Razorbacks have looked like one of the best teams in college football, and we should learn a lot more about them this weekend against Texas A&M.
Arkansas has struggled against the Aggies since Bret Bielema arrived (losing the last two in overtime), but they have also had late-season success against LSU and Ole Miss, beating those two clubs in each of the last two seasons. They also came within one point of beating Alabama two years ago, the last time the two clubs met in Arkansas (where they’ll play this year).
If Arkansas can beat Texas A&M, there isn’t a single game on the entire schedule that isn’t winnable.
Louisville, 5-1 (opened at 60-1)
Dropping Louisville so low on this list isn’t an indictment of what we think of them as a team, just the odds that we’re getting them at. If the Cardinals can beat Clemson in two weeks, that would almost unofficially wrap up an ACC Atlantic title (they’d need to lose twice in conference for either Florida State or Clemson to jump them), and put them in the driver’s seat for an ACC crown, too.
Still, wouldn’t it have been nice to get the Cards at 60-1 as opposed to the meager 5-1 they’re going off at now?
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY SportsJamie Rhodes
Florida State, 25-1 (opened at 15-1)
Of course, if the Cardinals do falter in a few weeks, it opens up the door for Florida State to jump back into the ACC and national championship mix.
There’s a reason so many of us had the Seminoles in the playoff race before the season: They have as much talent as anyone. If they could somehow get into the playoff, they could absolutely win it. At 25-1, this seems like a darn steal for the Seminoles.
Ohio State, 4-1 (opened at 10-1)
The Buckeyes are no different than the Cardinals above: Yes, we like their chances to take home a title after Saturday’s dominant win at Oklahoma. But man, wouldn’t it have been nice to get them at a better number than 4-1?
Getty ImagesScott Halleran
Stanford, 25-1 (opened at 20-1)
Hmm, so let me get this straight: The Cardinal opened at 20-1, completely dominated their first two opponents and have somehow dropped in the national championship odds? What am I missing?
Grab the Cardinal while you can: If they can get through their next four weeks -- which includes road games at UCLA, Washington and Notre Dame -- that number will drop massively. And even if they lose one game, they’ll still find themselves in the Pac-12 title and College Football Playoff mix.
Getty ImagesThearon W. Henderson
Alabama, 7-2 (opened at 6-1)
I don’t care if the odds are worse than they were six months ago. It’s Alabama. And betting on Alabama to win the title -- at whatever price you can get them at -- is never a bad decision.
Matt Bush-USA TODAY SportsMatt Bush
Michigan State, 60-1 (opened at 20-1)
So Michigan State goes on the road, gets a victory at Notre Dame and their odds to win the title are three times worse? What am I missing?
I’m not sure, but I love this number and Mark Dantonio. Remember, the Spartans are not only the defending Big Ten champs, but get both Ohio State and Michigan at home this season.