2019 National Title Odds Tracker: LSU Favored Entering College Football Playoff

2019 National Title Odds Tracker: LSU Favored Entering College Football Playoff article feature image

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Joe Burrow and Clyde Edwards-Helaire

  • We're down to just four teams remaining with a chance to win this year's college football national title, but only three are being given a legitimate shot by oddsmakers.
  • LSU is the favorite at +145, followed fairly closely by Clemson and Ohio State.

And then there were three four. As the College Football Playoff has been set, oddsmakers have released lines for all four remaining teams to win this year’s title, though only three are really being given a legitimate shot.

Odds to Win the College Football Playoff

  • LSU +145
  • Clemson +200
  • Ohio State +220
  • Oklahoma +1200

(via PointsBet)

LSU is the undeniably the favorite, though its +145 listing isn’t too far ahead of Clemson or Ohio State’s, who will meet one another in the semifinal round. That makes sense, as even though LSU earned the No. 1 spot, the Tigers rank third in our most updated power ratings, implying that they’d probably be underdogs in a championship game.

As for the team on the outside looking in, the Sooners’ +1200 odds to win the mini tournament are worth looking into given their +400 odds to beat LSU. They imply that Oklahoma would be a +160 underdog in a potential championship (a +400/+160 parlay pays out around +1200), which doesn’t seem likely.

In other words, if you’re looking to bet Oklahoma to pull back-to-back upsets, you’re better off doing so through an open parlay assuming you have that option.

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
  • 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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