At long last, the 2017 College Football Playoff bracket is set. No. 1 Alabama will take on No. 4 Washington, while No. 2 Ohio State battle No. 3 Clemson. All four are great teams, but their odds are not exactly made equal. Let’s take a look at the odds for all four teams, and break down their chances of eventually taking home the title.
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2017 College Football Playoff Futures Odds Update
Alabama Crimson Tide (-265)
Alabama would’ve been the overwhelming favorite whomever it faced in the playoff. The Crimson Tide have been absolutely dominant during their undefeated 13-0 season. From Week 1, when they totally demolished USC, 52-6, to Week 14, when they totally demolished Florida, 54-16, in the SEC championship game, they were virtually untouchable.
The Tide defense is good enough that it can singlehandedly carry the team to the national championship. The run defense is virtually impregnable – just as LSU – and their pass rushers might be the most terrifying things in college football today. Their one weakness is the shaky passing of freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts, but he more than makes up for it withe way he complements the running game.
At this point, it would take an incredible performance from Washington and Clemson/Ohio State to even give Bama a fight, much less defeat it.
Ohio State Buckeyes (+400)
It says a lot about Ohio State’s resume that it didn’t even need to win its own division to make it back to the playoff. The Buckeyes beat Oklahoma at Norman, Wisconsin at Madison, and top-10 ranked Nebraska and Michigan at home. Their lone mishap was a tough road game against Penn State, which finished No. 5 in the playoff ranking.
On paper, Ohio State has the talent to fight fire with fire against Bama. The Buckeyes have a similarly formidable defense, as well as an offense led by an experienced dual-threat QB in J.T. Barrett. And of course, they have a head coach in Urban Meyer who has already shown he’s capable of defeating Nick Saban’s Bama.
The Buckeyes famously beat the Tide in the inaugural College Football Playoff semifinal in 2015 and went on to win the national title. So don’t be too surprised if the Buckeyes somehow manage to claim a second title in three years.
Clemson Tigers (+550)
Clemson gave Alabama quite a battle in last year’s national championship game. Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson had 478 total yards of offense, a new all-time record for a national title game, but his team came up just short in the end.
This year’s Clemson team, though, has not been quite as dominant as last year’s squad, which had gone undefeated heading into its matchup with Bama. The Tigers have been too up and down, although they do tend to come up big in the big occasion. They won their biggest games of the year to date against Louisville, Florida State, and Virginia Tech.
Clemson undoubtedly has the best quarterback left in the playoff field in Watson. However, getting a great performance in back-to-back games against two elite defenses in Ohio State and Alabama will be tough, even for a player of Watson’s quality.
Washington Huskies (+1,250)
Washington has been very good for most of the season, but it’ll a huge Alabama-sized roadblock in its path to a national title. The Huskies have an elite pass defense, which they showed in their wins over Washington State and Colorado. Although, it remains to be seen just how big of a factor that will be in beating an Alabama team that isn’t exactly reliant on the pass.
And with the Bama front capable of completely shutting the Huskies running game down, Washington will need sophomore quarterback Jake Browning to have the game of his life for U-Dub to stand any chance of surviving past the semis. Browning had anything but a good game against arguably the best pass defense he’s faced in Colorado, as he went just 9-of-24 for 118 yards.
That type of performance in a big spot is exactly why Washington has the longest odds to come away with the national title this year.
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