Labor Day, to me, always signals the start of a fall routine. You do your work for games that usually start on Thursday, there’s football on during the entire weekend, then Monday and Tuesday, you gear up to do it all over again.
One of my routines is checking out the national title (and Heisman) futures markets when they re-open. Price changes, surprisingly unchanged prices, monitoring wherever Texas falls to…every week it’s something new.
Here are some noticeable things about the national-title market as we head toward Week 2 of the season:
All odds from 5Dimes:
Prices Going Down
Well, Alabama was so impressive in its total dismantling of Louisville that the Tide went from +210 to +175 from Week 1 to Week 2 to win the title. I find this drop interesting because two of the tougher teams on Alabama’s schedule — Auburn (which beat Washington) and LSU (which beat Miami) — looked better than the public anticipated.
I guess the show Tua Tagovailoa put on was enough to convince people there’s no stopping Alabama in 2018.
Clemson, which figured to gain the most from conference mates Miami and Florida State looking awful, stayed basically the same at +450. Weird.
Speaking of LSU, the Tigers didn’t drop nearly as much as I thought after whooping the ‘Canes, falling to just 55-1 after being between 60-1 and 75-1 throughout the offseason. I still don’t have faith in Ed Orgeron’s crew to put together a really good run considering LSU’s difficult schedule.
Auburn, Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Notre Dame all dropped slightly in price, occupying the positions behind the “main contenders.” Georgia and Ohio State, two of those contenders, remained virtually unchanged.
The last two odds drops to mention: Oregon, which didn’t even look that good at times against lowly Bowling Green at home, dropped from 110-1 to 75-1. And Mississippi State — which soundly beat Stephen F. Austin — dropped from 125-1 to 75-1.
Prices Going Up
So…we’re all off the Michigan bandwagon, are we? After occupying space as the fourth or fifth choice at times this offseason, hovering in the neighborhood of 15-1 to 18-1, the Wolverines are now a whopping 70-1 to win the title at 5Dimes (which will most likely require running the table and winning at Ohio State).
Michigan State scared enough people by almost losing to Utah State that the Spartans went from 35-1 to 50-1.
Florida State, Texas and Miami all ballooned up well into the 100-1 and higher range, which is not surprising considering how public and humiliating their failures were. The ‘Canes are now 125-1, and FSU and Texas are both 200-1.
One increase that made no sense to me at all was Florida. The Gators blew out Charleston Southern on Saturday and actually went up, from 100-1 to 125-1. Consider that the Gators’ road game at Florida State to close the year may have gotten easier perception-wise, and that’s a little flabbergasting.
Maybe oddsmakers universally decided teams from Florida should not be rated highly as a rule as the season progresses.
Prices With Value
One price that didn’t drop at all (actually increasing slightly) was Stanford, which looked great behind K.J. Costello in a convincing win over San Diego State. The Cardinal are now 75-1 to win the title, and there was nothing particularly inspiring about USC’s performance last weekend that would change things. Stanford is currently -4.5 against the Trojans on Saturday.
>> All odds as of Tuesday afternoon. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and track your bets.
Stanford checks a lot of boxes in terms of the profile of past College Football Playoff teams and even champions, and a lot of its poor performance last year, especially on defense, was almost inexplicable. With Costello now clearly in charge of the offense, maybe Stanford can put together a season worthy of CFP consideration.
Another price to keep an eye on: Boston College, which dropped from 750-1 to 500-1. The Eagles were excellent in their throttling of UMass over the weekend, and now the schedule shapes up in a way where they could be 7-0 before hosting Miami on Oct. 26.
Several of the Eagles’ upcoming opponents — Wake (which will still be without its starting QB for the game), Purdue, and Temple — looked subpar compared to expectations in Week 1.