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Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett (left) watches running back Kenny McIntosh after the handoff. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire)
October 12th, 2021
Alabama's reign atop the College Football Playoff National Championship odds board is over, after the Crimson Tide's stunning loss at Texas A&M on Saturday, and the new king of the college football world is Georgia.
After a 10-3 defeat of Clemson in a blockbuster opener, the Bulldogs have dominated, with an average margin of victory of 39.8 points in the five games since, including ranked wins over Arkansas and Auburn.
Alabama's misstep pushed Georgia to No. 1 in all the polls and also to the top of the odds board, at +110 to win the national title, but there is still a long way to go.
How fancied are the Bulldogs in other markets? Georgia will face its third ranked opponent in a row, No. 11 Kentucky, this week, and the Bulldogs are favored by 23 points.
A rivalry game with Florida Oct. 30, after a bye week, would be more concerning to me if I were wearing red and black.
The Crimson Tide fell to No. 5 in the AP Top 25, but only dropped to the second spot on the odds board to win the national title, at +250, still well ahead of Ohio State (+800).
That's because the Texas A&M loss means little in the grand scheme of the season. Although it may provide doubt that Alabama is as good as everyone thought it was, if the Crimson Tide rights the ship and wins out, it will still be in the SEC Championship Game against Georgia. And if Alabama takes down an undefeated Georgia squad, there's a good chance both will be in the College Football Playoff.
If Alabama wins out and beats Georgia, they’re getting in anyway. pic.twitter.com/vbOmEf0gis— Jeremy Balan (@jeremybalan) October 10, 2021
If Alabama wins out and beats Georgia, they’re getting in anyway. pic.twitter.com/vbOmEf0gis
Does anyone think the other teams ahead of Alabama in the polls — Iowa, Cincinnati, and Oklahoma — would be favored against the Tide? I don't think so.
Iowa had some luck on its side to aid the Hawkeyes' comeback win Saturday over Penn State, namely the injury to Nittany Lions starting quarterback Sean Clifford, but a win is a win.
Penn State sure could have used Will Levis today in 23-20 loss at Iowa. NIttany Lions scored 17 and chewed up 208 yards with Sean Clifford but were held to a field goal and only 50 yards after he was injured in second quarter. https://t.co/UHaggaS5FC— Brandon Marcello (@bmarcello) October 10, 2021
Penn State sure could have used Will Levis today in 23-20 loss at Iowa. NIttany Lions scored 17 and chewed up 208 yards with Sean Clifford but were held to a field goal and only 50 yards after he was injured in second quarter. https://t.co/UHaggaS5FC
The Hawkeyes moved from +5000 to +2500 to win the national title, and Penn State slipped from +2500 to +10000.
Last week, we talked about how much easier Iowa's schedule was, in comparison to Penn State, but the nature of the Hawkeyes' victories should give you pause. Even though the remaining schedule is soft, if the Iowa defense can't continue its torrid turnover pace, I'd be willing to wager some of the games ahead will be a little too close for comfort for the No. 2 team in the nation.
Outside of the Penn State-Iowa tussle and the expected Texas fall after it choked away the Red River Shootout, there isn't much in terms of movement on the odds board for this market.
But one prominent program has inched back into the top 10 — Clemson.
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and this is the only explanation I can come up with for Clemson's move from +15000 to +6600 to win the national title. Off a bye week, the unranked Tigers will head to Syracuse for a Friday-night game this week and still have every chance to win the ACC.
I still need to see significant improvement, specifically from quarterback DJ Uiagalelei, if I'm going to put the Tigers back in the contender category.
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