The College Football playoffs are one of the most wagered on events in all of the football season. Be up to date with the information you need to come out ahead with this handy preview.
Before we dive into this season’s playoff picture, let’s take a look back at the history of the CFP and the betting results from the first 5 seasons of the playoff system.
College Football Playoffs History & Betting Results
The College Football Playoff started its life back in 2014 as a four-team postseason for the top FBS programs in the nation. Teams are chosen by committee with the winners of the first two games to go head to head in the finals. Each of those three games are played on a neutral field with venues regularly rotated.
This season’s No. 4 seed, Ohio State, defeated Alabama in the semifinals and Oregon in the championship game to win the first CFP. Ohio State closed as underdogs in both of those games, cashing 2/1 odds in each. It was a rather high-scoring affair as well with two of the three games surpassing their closing total.
Crimson Tide got back in the winners circle the following year by defeating Michigan State and Clemson and giving Alabama it’s fourth national title in the previous seven seasons. Unlike the Buckeyes in 2014, Bama played as a favorite in their 3 games and failed to cover, winning the finals by a score of 45-40 against the Tigers as seven-point favorites.
The following season Ohio State got back on track and made it back to the final four. The problem for them was the Clemson Tigers who smoked the Buckeyes in the opening round and carried that momentum into an underdog win against Alabama. This marked Clemson’s first National Championship win in 36 years.
In 2017 we witnessed the emergence of eventual Heisman Trophy winner, Baker Mayfield. He led Oklahoma all the way to the CFP but fell to the mighty Georgia Bulldogs in the Rose Bowl. These two teams combined to score the most points in the Bowl’s history with 102 and played the game’s first overtime ending. Georgia survived and moved on to New Orleans to face Alabama who exacted their revenge on Clemson with a 24-6 trouncing. The National Championship game was also a thrilling overtime affair with The Crimson Tide eking out a victory over Georgia 26-23 and giving Nick Saban his fifth National Title as coach at Alabama. Once again, the Crimson Tide failed to cover in a National Championship game while Georgia has covered their previous four trips to the big game.
Last season the semifinals were a bit of a letdown as both were complete blowouts. Notre Dame got shut down by Clemson, losing by 27 points in an embarrassing effort. Not to be outdone, Oklahoma laid an egg in their game against Alabama and despite only losing by 11, the game was not close at all. Kyler Murray may have won the Heisman but it was Tua Tagavailoa who had the last laugh as he and his team earned a shot at the National Championship trophy at Levi Stadium.
Those aspirations were quickly snuffed out however as Clemson came to play ball. Despite a tight game after the first quarter, with the Tigers clinging to a 14 to 13 lead, things went south not long after that for the Crimson Tide. The Tigers came out after the half and went on a 30-3 run and becoming the first team in history to go 15-0 in College Football.
In what has been a real trend in these games is that the underdogs were far from as lacking as bookmakers expected them to be. In fact, underdogs in CFP National Championship games are now 5-0 against the spread. An important consideration for all PayPerHead agents.
2019 College Football Playoffs Preview
Looking ahead now to the 2019 College Football Bracket and we are in for a treat with a pair of truly great matchups.
First up, the Peach Bowl featuring the LSU Tigers squaring off against the Oklahoma Sooners with the Tigers currently 14 point favorites. This is a huge number for a game in the College Football Playoffs but much of the betting public still believes that the Sooners have a real shot at keeping this game interesting. After a 13-0 season and a win in the SEC Championship, the Tigers are the favorite to emerge victorious from the playoffs at +125 while the Sooners are +1800 to win their next two games.
The next game on the slate and probably the better of the two will see Ohio State take on the Clemson Tigers in the Fiesta Bowl in the latter semifinal game. Clemson is a two-point favorite as things stand right now, but this game is really a coin flip based on the season which the Buckeyes have played. As it stands, Clemson is +225 to win it all while the Buckeyes are +300. Clemson’s defense will have to be on their best game if they hope to stop what was the best offense in the nation for most of the season. Ohio State averages an insane 48.7 points per game and 531.5 yards, especially impressive considering they don’t play a whole lot of cupcake matchups.
Clemson will also have issues scoring a lot, even with Trevor Lawrence under center. The Buckeyes have recorded 15 interceptions in 13 games so far this year, picking off at least one in 11 of those games. Lawrence will also have to deal with the footsteps of Chase Young who has 16.5 sacks on the season.
Many people are saying this is the best team Ohio State has ever fielded, Young is the best defensive player in the nation while Jeff Okudah is likely the most talented cover player in the game today. Justin Fields and J.K. Dobbins will keep the offense moving without a doubt. Fields became the first quarterback this decade to throw over 40 touchdowns and so little interceptions while Dobbins is likely to go over 2,000 yards before the season is over.
It’s rather peculiar to see Ohio State as an underdog in this game and the odds movement is worth monitoring from now until game time. As a PayPerHead agent its little things like this which can make a big difference.
Taking a look at the other game, the odds here make a lot more sense as it’s clear that LSU is a far better team than Oklahoma. Sorry, Sooners Nation. But if they win the Peach Bowl, it will go down as the biggest upset loss in the history of the College Football Playoffs. While Oklahoma has qualified for the CFP four times now, this marks LSU’s first trip to the show. Worth noting that Oklahoma is 0-3 their first three times around.
While most expect LSU to walk into the National Championship game, this game will be a high scoring affair on both sides. LSU and Oklahoma each have explosive offenses with truly electric quarterbacks at the helm. Joe Burrow has been setting records for LSU and Jaylen Hurts has been a tremendous addition to this Oklahoma football team.
We are likely to see a rather close game up until about halftime at which point LSU turns it on in the second half with better red-zone execution and limiting turnovers.
We hope we’ve gotten you up to speed with the need to know numbers and names heading into the College Football Playoffs. As a Pay Per Head bookie agent, it is imperative that you prepare well ahead of time for big-ticket events such as the CFP games. If you still have yet to pull the trigger on signing up then head on over to check out our current promotions and get your bookmaking career started today.