2019 National Title Odds Tracker: Week 4 Showdowns Will Shake Things Up

Sep 17, 2019 09:11 PM EDT

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson

  • There wasn't much movement in national title odds after Week 3, but two ranked matchups could shake things up this week.
  • Below are updated odds from the Westgate Superbook as of Monday afternoon.

There have been plenty of upsets in college football so far this season, but none to marquee teams that have drastically shaken up the national title landscape.

That could change this week. Four teams with odds in the top 10 to win the national title meet this week — Michigan at Wisconsin (-3) and Notre Dame at Georgia (-13.5) — which will all but knock the losers out of the College Football Playoff hunt.

If Wisconsin wins, you’ll likely see its odds drop from 60-1. Same with Notre Dame if the Irish can pull off the shocker.

All odds above are as of Sept. 16 from Westgate.

2019 College Football National Title Odds Tracker

Implied probability is the percentage chance that team wins the national title, based on these betting odds.

How Do You Reach the College Football Playoff?

There have been two main requirements to reaching the College Football Playoff in its five years of existence.

  • Be a Power 5 team (ACC, SEC, Big 12, Pac-12, Big Ten)
  • Lose 0 or 1 games

That’s it. Those are the only two qualities every College Football Playoff team have shared.

People like to make a big deal about conference titles and strength of schedule, but the committee has consistently favored teams with fewer losses — see one-loss Ohio State over two-loss Big Ten champion Penn State in 2016.

Teams That Fit the College Football Playoff Profile in 2019

The requirements above aren’t predictive — we don’t know who will have one or fewer losses.

So how do we determine the most likely College Football Playoff winner before the season? Recruiting. Every national title winner in the modern recruiting era (since 2000) has had at least 50% 4-star and 5-star players on their roster.

This year, those schools are:

  • Ohio State
  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • LSU
  • Florida State
  • Clemson
  • USC
  • Penn State
  • Michigan
  • Texas
  • Oklahoma
  • Auburn
  • Washington
  • Notre Dame
  • Florida
  • Miami

Not surprisingly, all nine teams with a greater than 2% chance to win the national title are on this list.

College Football Playoff Betting History

The sample size is so small — there have only been 15 College Football Playoff games played — but underdogs have fared well in the title game and poorly in the semifinals.

The underdog has covered in every national title game of the playoff era, winning three outright. Clemson did it twice against Alabama.

But in the semifinals, the underdog is 1-8 straight-up and 2-7 straight-up (Clemson-Ohio State in 2017 closed at around a pick’em, depending on your book).

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