Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: J.K. Dobbins
- The biggest beneficiary from LSU's win over Alabama was Ohio State -- at least based on the futures market.
- The Buckeyes are now favored to win the College Football Playoff, listed at 3/2 odds (+150).
Which team really won in Saturday’s LSU vs. Alabama matchup? Based on the updated national title odds, the answer would be Ohio State (I suppose putting up more than 70 points also helps the Buckeyes’ case).
From its 11/4 odds last week, Ohio State has jumped into the sole position atop the odds board at 3/2 (+150), and has become the first team to be listed inside of 2/1 in over a month. That jump also equates to a 26.67% to 40% increase in implied probability.
With the loss, Alabama fell from being a co-favorite at 9/4 down to 10/1, and the win bumped LSU up from 6/1 to 15/4.
Further down the list, Oregon made a big leap from 50/1 to 19/1, while Penn State’s loss did almost the exact opposite, sending the Nittany Lions from 18/1 to 50/1.
Odds as of Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150). No strings attached. No rollover required.
2019 College Football National Title Odds Tracker
Implied probability is the percentage chance that team wins the national title, based on these betting odds. Click “Implied Probability” for an updated sort.
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
- Florida State
- Penn State
- Notre Dame
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).