- Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Michigan and Georgia have championship odds of 10-1 or less.
- A dark horse of at least 30-1 odds from the preseason has made the playoff the past three years.
In the four-year history of the College Football Playoff, only nine programs have made the semifinals, and only three programs have won it all (Ohio State, Alabama and Clemson).
Over the past three years, one team with preseason national-title odds of 25-1 or greater has made the playoff. With odds that high, it creates scenarios to guarantee profit no matter the team’s seeding.
In 2015, Michigan State was listed at 25-1 at most Las Vegas shops, and a few 40-1 tickets could be found at offshore books. That year the Spartans played Alabama in the Cotton Bowl in the semifinals, and even though the Crimson Tide were -9.5 favorites, there was still a chance to hedge out of a Spartans ticket.
In 2016, Washington was 66-1 before the season started. Last year, Georgia was 30-1 to win the title and was so a few plays from beating Alabama in the title game.
Here are this year’s odds. The usual suspects are up top.
The goal with a futures ticket at these odds is not necessarily to win the College Football Playoff, but to get in a position to guarantee a return on your investment. Here are four dark horse teams that can challenge for this season’s College Football Playoff.
Michigan State 30-1
There’s a lot to like about the team that returns more production than anyone in the country. The Spartans will need to upset Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State, but they avoid Wisconsin and host the Buckeyes and Wolverines, so there’s a shot.
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If they can get to 11-1 with this schedule, they will get consideration from the selection committee. Coach Mark Dantonio is no stranger to getting to the playoff, and the Spartans have what it takes to make a run.