On Tuesday, we were treated to the most significant College Football Playoff rankings to date and the final set before the official reveal following conference championship weekend.
As expected, Georgia held the top spot ahead of undefeated squads Michigan and TCU. Those three were followed by one-loss USC, which has ridden a late-season surge into the playoff field and is ahead of a reeling Ohio State team in need of help this weekend.
With those results still up in the air, there remains some serious value in the current title market on both the outright favorite and trendy dark-horse contenders. Here are the latest odds to win the College Football Playoff at BetMGM, along with the three bets we’d consider making among the six available options:
2022-23 College Football Playoff championship odds (via BetMGM)
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2022-23 College Football Playoff predictions
If you’re going to bet on one of the four teams currently in the playoff field, make it the defending champions, who ought to be priced as overwhelming favorites with what remains at the top.
Michigan deserves credit for its huge win last week over Ohio State. Still, the Wolverines’ offense won’t find those big plays against Georgia, which has allowed the nation’s fewest points per game (11.3) and smothered this team when they met in last year’s playoff opener. This will be an especially daunting task if Heisman contender Blake Corum (knee) remains as limited as he was last week for Jim Harbaugh’s squad.
TCU’s rise in the Big-12 has been a nice story, but the Horned Frogs lack the obvious roster talent that has anchored previous teams that took down an SEC juggernaut like Georgia. USC has strong together impressive wins but still owns a leaky defense that would rank second-worst in efficiency for any playoff team since 2014.
Both of those teams have struggled to separate from lesser foes all year long. In contrast, Georgia has blown the doors off nearly every opponent this season – boasting a near-identical scoring margin (+26.9) to what we saw from last year’s championship squad (+28.4). In a season defined by constant chaos, the Bulldogs remain the surest bet in the sport.
Ohio State (+1100)
This may feel a bit silly on the surface to lay a similar price on the Buckeyes to what you can get for the two teams above them in the latest rankings. Still, does anyone think Ohio State isn’t one of the three best teams in the country and among the only ones with a legitimate chance to challenge top-ranked Georgia?
Don’t get too caught up in the latest rankings, as the final weekend is a minefield full of potentially explosive outcomes for the current field. In fact, ESPN’s College Football Power Index gives the Buckeyes a 71% chance to make the playoff, mostly because they remain idle while fellow hopefuls TCU (-2.5) and USC (-3) must survive conference title matchups with highly ranked opponents.
Individually, each of the top four teams are expected to win this weekend. Collectively, at least one seems likely to stumble, opening the door for Ohio State to reclaim a top-four spot and showcase its title ceiling at a long-shot price.
Betting on College Football?
I wouldn’t necessarily advise this as your only play, as it still feels unlikely that the Crimson Tide would get a fair shot at the final field as a two-loss team. That said, this price feels a little too dismissive of just how dangerous this team could be if all hell breaks loose.
After Tuesday’s rankings reveal, College Football Playoff committee chair Bob Corrigan said it was “not necessarily the case” that Alabama couldn’t leapfrog Ohio State in the final rankings despite neither team playing this week. There’s a case to be made for the switch: the Crimson Tide rank second in ESPN’s FPI and are the only playoff hopeful with a strength of schedule in the top 10.
If they get a shot, I wouldn’t want to be the one to bet against Nick Saban, Bryce Young, and the seemingly unassailable program that has reached six of the last seven championship games with three wins in that stretch. The path to the playoff remains tricky, but the upside is worth the risk here.
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