2015-16 College Football: Playoff Preview

The College Football 4-team playoff was announced a few weeks back and here’s how it all shakes up: #1-Clemson will take on #4-Oklahoma while #2-Alabama will face #3-Michigan State on New Year’s Eve. Prior to the season Alabama had the best odds of making the playoffs at +190 while Clemson was +525, Michigan State +550, and Oklahoma +800. Below we’ve looked at opening odds and movement for the semifinal matchups, title odds throughout the season, and potential title game scenarios.

Here’s how each team’s National Championship odds have fluctuated throughout the season at 5Dimes:

School Dec 28 Dec 7 Nov 19 Oct 23 Sep 3 July 19 May 24 Jan 13
Alabama +106 -111 +240 +600 +1000 +750 +700 +1000
Oklahoma +208 +235 +1000 +10000 +4200 +2800 +2500 +2500
Clemson +450 +515 +400 +1450 +3100 +2200 +2200 +3300
Michigan State +910 +710 +5000 +1415 +2800 +2500 +2500 +1600

Below was published on December 7, 2015:

First let’s get to the opening odds and movement for the semifinal mathchups. On Sunday afternoon right after the playoff matchups were announced, Pinnacle Sportsbook opened Alabama -9.5 over Michigan State. Initially the line dropped to -8.5 with heavy betting on Michigan State, but throughout the day Alabama eventually crept back up to -10 where they are now. 75% of early bets are taking the underdog Spartans which is a bit of a surprise against an Alabama team who is usually backed by the public. We’d expect sharp bets on Alabama to continue to outweigh the public bets coming in on Michgan State. Right now the total has not moved off of 49 and more than 90% of early total bets are coming in on the UNDER.

In the other matchup, the #4-seed Oklahoma Sooners actually opened -1 against the #1-seed Clemson Tigers, which just shows how little the “rankings” actually mean. The committee was likely trying to set up the playoff for an Alabama-Oklahoma National Championship and bettors seem to agree. This was proven further when Oklahoma was bet up to -4 by Monday morning despite the majority of public bets coming in on Clemson. Clearly sharp bettors were waiting to pounce on Oklahoma from the start, and it’s hard to see this line coming back down below -3 even if the public continues to hammer Clemson. The total is set very high at 65 and over 90% of bettors like the OVER in this one.

5Dimes has released odds on the exact National Championship game scenarios:

Exact Scenario Odds
Alabama beats Oklahoma +218
Alabama beats Clemson +328
Oklahoma beats Alabama +370
Oklahoma beats Michigan St +650
Clemson beats Alabama +819
Michigan St beats Oklahoma +1263
Clemson beats Michigan St +1290
Michigan St beats Clemson +1424

And finally they’ve also listed potential spreads and moneylines for National Championship matchups:

Potential Title Game Matchup Spread Moneyline Odds
Alabama/Clemson Alabama -6 Alabama -230
Clemson +190
Alabama/Oklahoma Alabama -3 Alabama -145
Oklahoma +125
Michigan St/Oklahoma Oklahoma -6.5 Oklahoma -245
Michigan St +205
Michigan St/Clemson Clemson -3 Clemson -150
Michigan St +130

With just a few more days until kickoff, be sure to keep up with all the latest odds and betting trends from our Free Live Odds page.

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Dan McGuire

Dan McGuire is the Operations Manager and soccer specialist at Sports Insights. He can be reached at dan.mcguire@sportsinsights.com.

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