College Football Playoff Week 13 Futures Odds & Predictions: How to Bet Before Tuesday’s CFP Rankings Reveal
Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: The College Football Playoff Trophy.
Week 13 CFP Rankings Revealed Tuesday, Nov. 23
Down goes another top-four team in the current College Football Playoff rankings.
Oregon was assaulted in all areas of football by No. 23 Utah on Saturday night. Supporting special uniforms for the USS Salt Lake City, the Utes stuffed 40% of the Ducks’ rush attempts and limited the Oregon offense to just a single point per drive that crossed the 40-yard line.
The final score of 38-7 is sure to send the two-loss Ducks racing down the College Football Playoff rankings — possibly outside the top 10, where Baylor and Ole Miss have similar records.
Michigan or Cincinnati at No. 4?
There are several contenders to fill the fourth seed in the Week 13 rankings. Cincinnati maltreated SMU for a 34-point victory, and Michigan took Maryland to the woodshed with a 41-point victory.
While the debate will center on Michigan and Cincinnati, the Wolverines’ inclusion largely depends on their performance when Ohio State travels to Ann Arbor as 7.5-point favorites on Saturday.
Bedlam Has Mighty CFP Implications This Season
There are more contenders bubbling on the outside.
Bedlam will produce a one-loss team in the Big 12 Championship game. A win by Oklahoma State will send Baylor to Arlington, while a win by Oklahoma sends the Pokes to AT&T Stadium for a second in-state matchup.
With Oklahoma State opening as a 3-point favorite over the Sooners, there may be a shot for Dave Aranda and the Bears to capture a conference championship.
Happy Trails to Wake Forest & Michigan State
As we return again to our Four Commandments of the College Football Playoff, we wave goodbye to Wake Forest and Michigan State.
Each team suffered its second loss of the season in Week 12, and the Spartans are now out of the running for the Big Ten. The Demon Deacons must survive Boston College to compete for the ACC Championship, but a shot at the College Football Playoff is long gone.
How Will the Committee Rank Alabama?
Another sticking point may be the placement of Alabama after a subpar result against No. 21 Arkansas.
The Razorbacks were within a possession of winning late in the game in Tuscaloosa. That close outcome may compel the committee to elevate Ohio State into the No. 2 slot.
If indeed that occurs, the move could have future ramifications for the Crimson Tide — especially if it loses by multiple scores in the SEC Championship.
Paths to the Playoff Are Becoming Clearer
Using our “Four Commandments of the College Football Playoff,” the paths to the Orange and Cotton Bowls are becoming clearer.
Week 13 is the penultimate event before Conference Championship Week, scheduled in the first weekend of December. The goal of our column is to identify the best betting value before each Tuesday checkpoint when the committee updates its top 25 rankings.
Previous recommendations have included Georgia at plus money, Michigan at 60-1 and Oklahoma State at 80-1. All three of those teams still have a great shot to make the playoff and compete for the ultimate prize.
Now, let’s review the Four Commandments of the College Football Playoff:
The College Football Playoff’s Four Commandments
For those wondering what the College Football Playoff’s Four Commandments are, here’s a refresher:
CFP Commandment No. 1:
“An undefeated Power Five conference champion is automatically in.”
Note: We have never had five undefeated Power Five champions. Georgia is the only remaining undefeated Power Five team in FBS. Even a loss in the SEC Championship would not deter the Bulldogs from the Orange or Cotton Bowl.
CFP Commandment No. 2:
“A one-loss Power Five conference champion is automatically in … barring a Purdue event.”
Note: Ohio State was left out of the 2018 College Football Playoff as a one-loss Big Ten Champion. Alabama was selected as an at-large after taking its first loss in the SEC Championship game; meanwhile, the Buckeyes could not recover from a 49-20 defeat by a 6-6 Purdue team.
Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Alabama, Ohio State and Michigan currently meet this criterion. None of these teams has suffered an embarrassing loss.
CFP Commandment No. 3:
“A two-loss Power Five conference champion cannot jump a one-loss team into the Playoff.”
Note: This precedent was set when Ohio State missed the Playoff in 2017 as the Big Ten Champion with losses to Oklahoma and Iowa.
Wisconsin, Wake Forest and Oregon will potentially win conference championships with multiple losses.
CFP Commandment No. 4:
“A two-loss Power Five team trumps an undefeated Group of Five team with the right strength of record.”
Note: UCF finished 2018 undefeated but was passed by two-loss Michigan and Georgia. Cincinnati continued to fall in the 2020 rankings, as three-loss Florida and two-loss Oklahoma passed the Bearcats.
This commandment may have an amendment with the inclusion of Cincinnati, which is expected to slide into the No. 4 seed of the Playoff with a limited number of one-loss at-large bids.
The 4 Paths to the 2021 College Football Playoff
Bracket No. 1: SEC Championship
Contenders: Georgia & Alabama
Arkansas gave Alabama a scare in Tuscaloosa, getting within a possession late in the game. Protecting Bryce Young continued to be an issue against a Razorback front that rushed three defenders for most of the night.
Georgia is projected to be a 6.5-point favorite over the Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship game. Ohio State is the only other team in FBS that projects within a touchdown of the Bulldogs.
There is value in the Georgia national title odds through -140.
As for Alabama, consecutive wins over Auburn, Georgia and then the CFP field are not reflected in the +400 odds and present no value.
Bracket No. 2: Big Ten East
Contenders: Ohio State & Michigan
Goodbye, Michigan State, from the ranks of the one-loss teams in the Big Ten East.
The Ohio State and Michigan rivalry will not only send a team to Indianapolis for the conference championship but will also serve as a knockout game for the National Championship. Ohio State hovers around a touchdown favorite against the Wolverines in the Big House.
The Buckeyes’ true odds of beating Michigan and Wisconsin to get into the College Football Playoff are -130. When projections against Georgia and Alabama are added as potential semifinal and championship games, that number rises to 10-1, leaving no value in the current +300 odds for the national title.
Any number under -150 to win the Big Ten is suggested.
There’s a different calculation for the Wolverines, a current +280 on the moneyline against Ohio State and potential 3-point favorite over Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship.
The true odds to make the playoff for the Wolverines are 6-1, while winning the national title expands to 37-1 with Georgia as the projected semifinal opponent.
Odds at 40-1 are short for Michigan, but anything 55-1 or better has value for the Wolverines to pull off a shocker and win the national title.
Bracket No. 3: Bedlam
Contenders: Oklahoma & Oklahoma State
Oklahoma continues to drop in the eyes of oddsmakers after being listed at +1400 before the loss to Baylor.
This column calculated the Sooners’ chances of winning the national title as the futures market sank to +3500. This week, Oklahoma is +4500 to win the national title despite a victory over Iowa State.
The turnover luck against Brock Purdy and Cyclones did little to lower the odds on Oklahoma. The Sooners are now a 3-point underdog to Oklahoma State and would project as a pick to beat the Cowboys for the Big 12 Championship in Arlington.
The true odds for Oklahoma to make the playoff are +350 while winning the national title projects beyond the listed number of 45-1. A potential path that includes Ohio State and Georgia sends the Sooners’ true odds to 55-1.
Oklahoma State was the value last week at +8000, a number that now lists at +5000 as oddsmakers continue to ignore the Cowboys.
The Pokes have true odds of +275 to win the Big 12 Championship and 47-1 odds to win the National Championship against Georgia and Ohio State. Those odds become much shorter if any other team stands in the Pokes’ path in the Cotton Bowl or Orange Bowl.
There is slight value on the +5000, but that number is sure to be gone after Oklahoma State moves up in the rankings and potentially beats Oklahoma in Stillwater this weekend.
Bracket No. 4: Wild Card
Contenders: Georgia, Alabama & Cincinnati
Teams are beginning to hop off the train headed to the College Football Playoff.
Oregon and Wake Forest are no longer considered to be outside contenders to slip into the fourth seed. Ole Miss and Baylor continue to hold the two-loss bubble and are now joined by Michigan State, but none of those three teams have the resume to jump an undefeated Cincinnati.
Our Four Commandments of the CFP must be followed in determining betting value before Thanksgiving weekend.
Georgia Loses the SEC Championship
Georgia is projected as a 6-point favorite in Atlanta for the SEC Championship.
The Bulldogs will be double-digit favorites in the Orange or Cotton Bowl against most teams that would fill a semifinal spot. Georgia’s odds of -120 have value through -140.
Alabama Loses the SEC Championship
No two-loss team has ever made the College Football Playoff, but an Alabama team with a resume that includes losses away from Tuscaloosa against Texas A&M and Georgia may potentially give the Crimson Tide a second game against the Bulldogs.
The all-important strength of record would come into play, and Cincinnati would be expected to drop with its remaining schedule.
Cincinnati Goes Undefeated and Wins the AAC
The good news for Cincinnati is a slide to No. 5 last week, indicating a jump to No. 4 is in order this week.
The bad news is a strength of schedule outside the top 100 will not reflect well when other teams build a resume.
The Bearcats are 6-5 against the spread, leaving the explosive appeal of the 2020 team behind. Cincinnati needs Notre Dame — which has Stanford on deck this weekend — to continue blowing opponents out.
While the Bearcats have a high probability of winning the AAC, a semifinal game against Georgia as a projected 18-point underdog sends Cincinnati odds sky-high.
The current number of +3500 would not pay any more than a rolling open parlay card, which may be the only route if there’s committee exclusion.