College Football Playoff Chaos Offers Attractive Betting Lines

Posted on: November 16, 2016, 01:00h. 

Last updated on: November 16, 2016, 01:39h.

College Football Playoff Alabama
There’s Nick Saban’s Alabama and then everyone else, as the 2016 College Football Playoff bracket is expected to come down to the final regular season snap. (Image: The Sun Photo/

The College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings are out for the third time this season, but aside from undefeated Alabama at #1, the all-important top four spots remain largely in limbo heading into week 12 of the NCAA season.

The CFP, which replaced the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) in 2014, consists of a 12-person selection committee chaired by Texas Tech University Athletics Director Kirby Hocutt.

The committee’s most recent rankings has Alabama (10-0) followed by Ohio State (9-1), Michigan (9-1), and Clemson (9-1). But two additional one-loss teams in major power conferences remain. Louisville out of the ACC and Washington from the Pac-12 trail closely in fifth and sixth.

Combine that with the fact that Ohio State and Michigan play each other on November 24, and it’s easy to see why the CFP bracket is predominantly still written in pencil.

Wisconsin (8-2), Penn State (8-2), Oklahoma (8-2), and Colorado (8-2) round out the top ten.

Bearish on Wolverines

Following a weekend of upsets, there are a handful of teams that can theoretically win the College Football Playoff National Championship on January 9. But Las Vegas, as always, has chosen its favorites.

The Westgate SuperBook has Alabama at 5/7 and Ohio State at 2/1. The two favorites are followed by Louisville (6/1), Clemson (12/1), Wisconsin (15/1) and Michigan at a perhaps surprising 20/1.

Michigan seemed to be the best foe to Alabama’s title defense heading into last weekend. But a loss to an unranked Iowa team that was destroyed by Penn State a week earlier has quickly turned Vegas into a non-believer on the Wolverines.

That’s likely because Michigan travels to Columbus for its matchup against the Buckeyes.

Bovada isn’t quite so convinced. Though the online sportsbook also has Alabama as the National Championship favorite (EVEN) and Ohio State (+250) and Louisville (+750) next, Bovada lists Michigan and Clemson both at +1000. Wisconsin is at +2000.

Pigs in a Blanket

The top four big dogs have relatively easy Saturdays this weekend as all four take on unranked programs.

Alabama plays Chattanooga, a team that competes in the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-AA). The Tide is so heavily favored that sportsbooks aren’t even offering a line to bettors.

Ohio State plays Michigan Sate (3-7) and is favored by 22.5 points. The Spartans are one of the bigger disappointments in college football this year after being ranked #12 in the Associated Press preseason poll.

Michigan plays a 5-5 Indiana team that is sneaky strong on defense. Though the Wolverines are still favored by 23.5, the game might be a tad closer than some expect.

Finally, Clemson travels to Winston-Salem to play Wake Forest (6-4). The Tigers are 22.5-point favorites.

Unless a monumental upset occurs on Saturday, the CFP rankings will likely look identical to this week’s lineup. That means bettors have more than a week to place their wagers before the wild week 13 kicks off on November 26.

In addition to the marquee Michigan and Ohio State game, Alabama plays #15 Auburn (7-3) and Clemson takes on South Carolina (5-5). Both Auburn and South Carolina are respective rivals of Alabama and Clemson.