Odds to Win the National Championship

With the 2016/2017 NCAA College Football Season ready for kickoff, there are many teams on the national radar primed to emerge as the College Football Playoff Champion. Here is a breakdown of the top favorites to win, our pretender selection and our top play as a dark horse. The betting odds to win the National Championship this season have been provided by BetOnline with analysis by Keith F.

TOP FAVORITES
ALABAMA +600

As highlighted, the defending National Champs know how to hoist the hardware. Alabama has emerged as the premier program of College Football, achieving a remarkable four National Championships in the Saban era. Alabama has also qualified for the College Football Playoff in the last two consecutive seasons. Alabama also features a defense comprised of all five-star recruits which has dazzled both pundits and backers alike. At this price, Alabama is certainly worth a look as they have all the tools and weapons to repeat as champion.

LSU +900

LSU, even if they were to lose to Alabama in November is still a solid play as an outlier. In fact, the first ever all-SEC National Championship Game featured both Alabama and LSU in a rematch of an instant classic, when the two met on College Football’s biggest stage in 2012. It is not unimaginable to see this team qualify for the College Football Playoff as a wildcard if Alabama is their only blemish on their schedule. The Tigers feature a gifted runner and Heisman contender in Leonard Fournette. Fournette is the focal point of their offense and no one seems to be able to solve the riddle. The Tigers are a convincing candidate for national title aspirations.

OHIO STATE +900

Similar to Alabama, Ohio State simply knows how to play at an elite level on a consistent basis. The Buckeyes feature a prodigal coach in Urban Meyer who employs a “next-man up” approach in their personnel. We saw Ohio State enter the 2015 season with an interesting dilemma as they had a quarterback battle comprised of three elite NFL prospects. The Buckeyes reload talent year-in and year-out and while they have to replace some key personnel, the Bucks have always find ways to work with what they have. Ohio State has their hands full with a schedule featuring Michigan State, Oklahoma and Penn State on the road but they are winnable games for the Buckeyes and at this price, there is certainly fair upside.

TOP PRETENDER
CLEMSON +700

The price here is likely driven from a reaction based on Clemson's performance in 2015 alone. However, Clemson is at great risk for attrition. The Tigers lost eight starters on defense, six of which are NFL-level talent now playing on Sunday. Even with prolific athletes on defense, Clemson was known more for offensive exploits. The return of standout QB Dashaun Watson suggests Clemson will be right back in the driver seat, but they have tough road contests at Georgia Tech, Florida State and Auburn. All three of these games can be a problem for the Tigers and just one loss may spell jeopardy if the ACC remains weaker compared to year's past.

TOP DARK HORSE
STANFORD +2800

One name stands above the rest: Christian McCaffery. The Cardinal return a likely frontrunner for the Heisman and this talent gets more touches than any player in the game. His workload yields dividends and very quietly Stanford has emerged as a national power under the captainship of David Shaw. The Cardinal have been in contention for the Pac-12 virtually every season and have secured a bid to a major New Year's bowl game in five of their last six seasons where they are 3-2 in those games. Stanford has some tests on the docket as usual but Notre Dame and Oregon are not fixtures that are out of reach for the Cardinal by any means, even if those two contests are in hostile confines away from Palo Alto. Excellent hedge possibilities matched by a friendly price for a team that has a fair chance to qualify for the College Football Playoff.