It will be nearly impossible for both the Alabama Crimson Tide and the LSU Tigers to make this year’s College Football Playoff, but one of them certainly has a great shot to emerge as the frontrunner to win the national title by midseason.
Defending NCAA champion Alabama is the +600 favorite (bet $100 to win $600) to repeat at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com with LSU right behind as the +650 co-second choice.
The winner between the Crimson Tide and Tigers in their huge SEC showdown on November 5 figures to be the team to beat in the West Division. The odds of two teams making the CFP field from the same conference division seems highly unlikely, although they did play each other for the BCS national championship back in 2012 with Alabama winning 21-0 over LSU as an at-large team against the SEC champs that season.
The other top team that is a co-second choice with LSU is the Clemson Tigers, last year’s national runners-up. Clemson is also +650 and led again by Heisman Trophy favorite Deshaun Watson, who finished third in the voting last season behind running back Derrick Henry of the Crimson Tide and Christian McCaffrey of the Stanford Cardinal.
Watson’s play and health will be the key to a potential return to the CFP if the team can manage to win another ACC Championship after starting out 14-0 a year ago.
Three more schools to consider when betting futures for the CFP championship are the Ohio State Buckeyes, Michigan Wolverines and Florida State Seminoles.
The Buckeyes and Wolverines are both listed at +900, and similar to Alabama and LSU they play in the same division of the Big Ten. Ohio State is a slight favorite to win the conference, but the winner of their annual rivalry game on November 26 has a good chance to end up as the Big Ten champ and earn a spot in the CFP field.
The Seminoles are also the second choice to win the ACC behind Clemson and have a Heisman candidate of their own in running back Dalvin Cook. Florida State lost last year’s meeting with the Tigers 23-13 on the road and will probably need to win the rematch on October 29 at home to win the ACC’s Atlantic Division this season.