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2020-21 National Championship Odds: Clemson Remains Preseason Favorite

Last season in college football feels like an eternity ago, with the LSU Tigers bursting onto the scene with a perfect record, a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and a national title. LSU can be found fourth on the oddsboard to pull off the repeat and win a second straight national championship, but it is the Clemson Tigers, the team LSU defeated last year in the final, that are favored to win in 2020-21 at +225.

Online sportsbook Bovada has listed Clemson as the betting favorite at +225, followed by Ohio State at +350, Alabama at +450, LSU at +850, Georgia at +900, Florida at +1200, Oklahoma at +2500, Oregon at +2500, Penn State at +2500 and Auburn at +2800 to round out the top 10 on the oddsboard.

Why Is Clemson The Early Favorite?

Head coach Dabo Swinney has put together quite the program recently, making the College Football Playoff in each of the last five seasons, advancing to the national championship game four times and winning two titles. Clemson has the No. 1 recruiting class in 2020-21 with six five-star recruits, including the top-ranked recruit, defensive tackle Bryan Bresee. The defensive line is an area where the Tigers have been particularly dominant over this stretch.

Not only will the Tigers have a great new crop of young players to start the next wave, but they are also bringing back junior QB Trevor Lawrence, the projected first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. All Lawrence has done as a starting QB is go 25-1 and appear in two national championship games, winning one.

Furthermore, in a surprising move, junior running back Travis Etienne decided to return for another year. He had the seventh-most rushing yards and eighth-most rushing TDs in the country in 2019-20. There’s no doubt the Tigers will still be in contention to win yet another national title in 2020-21.

What Teams Are Providing Better Value Than Clemson?

Although it’s not a sleeper pick, the Ohio State Buckeyes at +350 are a team that should be competing for the national title in January. Similar to Clemson, Ohio State is returning its starting QB, Justin Fields, who was a 2019 Heisman Trophy nominee and finished the season with an impressive 41-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

Additionally, the Buckeyes have the fourth-best recruiting class for the 2020-21 season, including bringing in the top-ranked wide receiver in Julian Fleming and the top-ranked offensive lineman, Paris Johnson Jr. There are weapons all around Fields and this OSU team should be one to watch in 2020-21.

Another team that deserves a little love is the Florida Gators at +1200. The squad finished second in the SEC East last year with a 6-2 record, behind only Georgia, and its only losses were to LSU and Georgia.

QB Kyle Trask took over the team in its fourth game and performed quite well after Feleipe Franks suffered a season-ending injury. The Gators have a very favorable schedule; they have tough tests against Georgia and LSU but that’s about it. They return many of their starters from 2019 and could be sneaky good in the SEC.

What About The Reigning Champs?

Some people may be looking at LSU for a wager on the heels of a tremendous 2019-20 campaign that led to a national title. I would be a little hesitant, though, as starting QB Joe Burrow, the 2019 Heisman Trophy winner and projected first overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft, will not be with the team and it will be Myles Brennan leading the charge.

The Tigers will still have a very strong running game with former five-star recruit John Emery Jr. leading the way, but in an always tough SEC with an unproven QB, it’s hard to lay a wager on them at +850 at this point.

Here’s a look at the full list of odds for the 2020-21 College Football Playoff National Championship:

Odds to win the 2020-21 College football National Championship

Clemson Tigers+225
Ohio State Buckeyes +350
Alabama Crimson Tide+450
LSU Tigers+850
Georgia Bulldogs+900
Florida Gators+1200
Oklahoma Sooners+2500
Oregon Ducks+2500
Penn State Nittany Lions+2500
Auburn Tigers +2800
Texas A&M Aggies+3000
Notre Dame Fighting Irish+3500
Texas Longhorns+4000
Michigan Wolverines+4500
USC Trojans+5000
Wisconsin Badgers+6600
Miami Hurricanes+8000
Oklahoma State Cowboys+8000
Tennessee Volunteers+8000
North Carolina Tar Heels+10000
Utah Utes+10000
Arizona State Sun Devils+12500
Iowa State Cyclones+12500
Minnesota Golden Gophers+12500
Nebraska Cornhuskers+12500
Washington Huskies+12500
Florida State Seminoles+15000
Iowa Hawkeyes+15000
TCU Horned Frogs+25000
Missouri Tigers+30000
Arizona Wildcats+35000
Stanford Cardinal+40000

Odds as of March 30 at Bovada

What is a Futures Bet for NCAA Football Teams?

When it comes to big events for any sport, you can bet months in advance. In this case, a futures bet is a wager made on which team will win the national championship. Each week, oddsmakers will update the odds to reflect how a squad is doing. If a team is plagued with injuries, their chances of making it to the NCAA football final game slim down. A surging squad will see their odds skyrocket.

Understanding College Football Championship Odds

When you go to a college football sportsbook, you’ll see the betting lines laid out like this:

  • Alabama +250
  • Clemson +275
  • Ohio State +275
  • LSU +450
  • Georgia +1400

Unlike a traditional straight-up bet where there’s a clear favorite marked by the minus sign (-), ‘Bama is the fave since they have the lowest odds. The rest are considered underdogs.

If you believe that LSU has the greatest odds of winning the championship, and you bet $50 on them, you’d get a payout of $275 – your original $50 is returned along with your winnings of $225. On the other hand, if you’re looking at Georgia and think they’re going to turn it around and win it all, that same $50 would give you $750 – you get your $50 back, plus your prize of $700. Our odds calculating tool will show you how much you’d win based on the odds and amount bet.

When you see futures odds that you like, it’s best to jump on them early. As mentioned above, betting sites will adjust the odds as we get closer to bowl season and teams move up and down in the standings.