Please Don’t Bet on LSU National Championship Futures

Please Don’t Bet on LSU National Championship Futures article feature image

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: LSU quarterback Joe Burrow

  • LSU is currently listed at 30-1 to win the college football national championship.
  • I will explain why not even the biggest LSU fan in Baton Rouge should even begin to consider that price.

Excitement grows after the release of the first College Football Playoff rankings, and bettors race to their book to see if any team has value in the futures market.

Well, that value rarely exists this late in the year. Let’s look at a specific case involving the LSU Tigers, who currently sit at 30-1 to win the national championship.

I think most would agree that 7-1 LSU has to win out in order to get to the College Football Playoff. If so, the Tigers would have to win the following games just to get a ticket to the dance, assuming Georgia beats Kentucky this weekend:

  • Alabama
  • at Arkansas
  • Rice
  • at Texas A&M
  • Georgia (SEC Championship; neutral)

If we use our current college football power rankings to project spreads for each of the above matchups, we can easily derive each moneyline. I will even bump LSU by three points in the power ratings for their games after Alabama since we are assuming the Tigers pull off the upset for this particular exercise. Also, I will simply assume a blanket three points for home-field advantage in the interest of simplicity.

A parlay of those moneylines gives you LSU’s true odds of just getting to the College Football Playoff. Well, those odds are about 23-1. The problem is the market is offering 30-1 on LSU to WIN IT ALL. That means they would have to win two more games on top of the five we already included in that calculation.

So, let’s be extra conservative and assume LSU is a four-point underdog on average in both playoff games. In all likelihood, it would be a bigger underdog on average.

If that’s the case, the true odds of them winning it all are closer to 180-1 — almost six times greater than the odds being offered in the market.

And if I remove my conservative assumptions, LSU’s true odds of winning it all are actually closer to 300-1!


I am all for someone wanting to believe in LSU. If that’s the case though, please, for the love of math, do one of two things:

  1. Start a seven-team open parlay that you will fill with LSU in their remaining seven games they’d have to win out in. An open parlay is when you choose a fixed amount of games for a parlay, but don’t choose the teams upfront.
  2. Or you can play LSU moneyline this week and then continue to roll it over until they lose. But check your book’s moneyline limits to make sure you’ll be able to get down enough money should the Tigers keep winning.

If LSU does indeed win it all, you will end up with a much better payout then the egregious 30-1 being offered.

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