Who is In, Who is Out of the College Football Playoff
The first official College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings aren’t due to be released until Tuesday, November 2nd, but that won’t stop rampant speculation with the season not yet halfway completed. With Alabama’s stunning loss to Texas A&M and Iowa’s victory over Penn State, there are now eight Power Five teams that remain without a loss, with that number sure to dwindle to no more than four by the end of regular season play in the conferences and drop to three after the league championship games.
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At odds of +130, Georgia has an overall record of 6-0 and is an overwhelming favorite to win the national championship. The Bulldogs’ next two games are the most difficult that remain on their schedule, as they host 11th ranked and unbeaten Kentucky on Saturday, then take on rival Florida in Jacksonville following a bye week.
Despite losing 41-38 at Texas A&M, fifth ranked Alabama still has odds of +240 to win it all and continue to control their own destiny to make it to Atlanta for the SEC Championship game. The Tide only has one currently ranked team remaining on their schedule and Alabama is likely to be favored in every contest for the rest of the season.
Even though 5-1 Ohio State isn’t among the three remaining unbeaten teams in the Big Ten, they have the best odds at +800 to win their second CFP title. The Buckeyes’ lone loss was to Oregon from the Pac-12, so they still control their own destiny, but it will be a tough road with three top ten teams from the Big Ten East left to play.
There is a big drop off in the odds after the top three, with two 6-0 teams rounding out the top five with Oklahoma at +1600 and Iowa at +1800. Cincinnati, who is looking to become the first Group of Five team to be included in the CFP, is at +2800 with only one quality game against SMU left on their slate.
Underdogs Still in the Mix
Halfway through their conference schedules, Wake Forest at +15000 from the ACC and Kentucky at +13000 in the SEC possess overall records of 6-0 and league marks of 4-0. Neither team is getting the respect they deserve, with Kentucky at 11th and Wake Forest at 16th, and while it’s unlikely either one will work their way into the top four by the end of the season, they could both have a big impact on their respective conference races.
The top teams in the Big Ten East have yet to face off, with Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State all still looking at games against each other the rest of the season. Penn State at +7500 already has a conference loss, but they could still win the division and seriously disrupt the chances of a team from their conference getting into the CFP.
If turmoil persists in the other conferences, Arizona State with odds of +8000 could emerge from the Pac-12 and sneak into the CFP field as the fourth seed, especially if Cincinnati gets upset somewhere along the line. N.C. State, at long odds of +18000 and with an overall record of 4-1, has already defeated Clemson and will need to run the table and win the ACC Championship game to have a chance to represent their conference in the CFP.
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