PayPerHead Betting Guide: College Football Preseason
With August on the horizon we are finally in the home stretch of the College Football preseason, and what a long one it’s been. At least if feels like forever since I had a chance to sit down on a Saturday and watch 12 hours straight of NCAAF pigskin eating cereal out of a popcorn bowl in my Michigan Wolverine underooos. But casual fandom isn’t the only way to find joy in watching football. If you are even reading this article in the first place you already know that gambling might be even more fun that the life of an average sports fan.
2020, as with any year, brings about a whole new crop of talent, coaches and surely a few surprises. So lets tackle some of the bigger news and numbers coming out of the off-season so far and try to make some correlations in the betting futures market.
First up let’s take a look at the current betting odds preseason to win the make the 4-team College Football Playoffs.
Odds to Earn a Berth in the NCAAF Playoffs
Clemson Tigers | -300
Alabama Crimson Tide | -280
Oklahoma Sooners | +105
Georgia Bulldogs |+125
Ohio St Buckeyes | +160
Michigan Wolverines |+300
Florida Gators | +350
Notre Dame Fightin’ Irish | +400
Texas Longhorns | +450
LSU Tigers | +450
Oregon Ducks | +500
Washington Huskies +500
Well not too many surprises here, Alabama and Clemson are heavy favorites, Michigan is overvalued and Washington is getting no respect. Business as usual.
Alabama has yet to miss a College Football Playoff berth since it’s inception in 2014 while Clemson has only missed one, and are our reigning champions.
Clemson (-300) has crossed paths with the Alabama Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoff for four years on the trot. After years of debating when these two squads will fall off, I have decided to call it a day. From hereon forth until further notice I shall assume that this will be an annual occurrence in the Semifinal or Final. Having said that, I still think there is a lot left of this rivalry and I for one am not tiring of it in the least. Especially after last season’s epic meltdown by Alabama, losing to the Tigers 44-16. Not only are they the prohibitive favorites to make the playoffs but are a near lock to in their 5th ACC championship in a row. Their biggest asset at the moment has to be sophomore quarterback Trevor Lawrence who returns after a sizzling freshman campaign which saw him become a breakout start practically overnight. While the Clemson defense has taken a hit with many players leaving for the NFL last season, they are still a force to be reckoned with on any given Saturday. They are champions for a reason and I believe are the team to beat this season.
Alabama (-280) under the tutelage of Nick Saban runs like a fine Swiss made watch. Think New England Patriots but in college ball. It’s quite amazing that they are able to maintain such consistent dominance considering how many players they lose each and every season to the draft. It’s truly a testament to Saban and his recruiting staff who have annually kept this team on top of the league. They just keep finding guys to add to their elite prospects and make it easy to forget the previous crop of future stars. The major difference this season which bodes well for Alabama is the return of starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The Sensational Samoan is coming off a bittersweet season which saw him rise to superstar status despite narrowly losing both the Heisman Trophy and National Championship Game. With the talent and a hunger to make up for last season the Crimson Tide are a well deserved close 2nd in the future odds market.
Georgia (+125) are bringing some big guns to the party this season, especially on the offensive side of things. With dynamic quarterback Jake Fromm under center and stud running back D’Andre Swift the Bulldogs have a lot of people excited for college football 2019 preseason. After a brutal loss in the SEC Championship game to the aforementioned Crimson Tide, the whole gang is on track for a redemption story. A brutal loss made even worse by the fact it was their game to lose, but after allowing 14 points in the 4th quarter Georgia found themselves outside the playoff bubble with a 35-28 loss. If you think this had no effect on Georgia’s finest, just take a look at their next game in the Sugar Bowl. Going up against the Texas Longhorns, who were heavy underdogs heading into the game, they just didn’t have it in them to compete at such a level after Bama. Despite dropping their last 2 games of the season, they were one bad 15 minutes away from heading to the CFP. They are a very strong bounce back candidate after a strong recruiting off-season which saw many blue chip players heading to the peach state and suiting up for the Bulldogs. Two stars, most of their key players returning and bevy of new talent inbound has me really confident in their ability to make it to the playoffs come year’s end.
Ohio State (+160) might be the biggest question mark of the bunch after legendary coach Urban Meyer got the boot after a bit of 2018 scandal. Filling his rather sizable shoes will be former offensive coordinator Ryan Day in what is one of the more high pressure rookie seasons of any head coach in recent memory. OSU also will enjoy the services of incoming transfer Justin Fields, formerly quarterback at Georgia. Expectations are high for the new kid on the block with a Heisman Trophy run expected in his near future. This is rather odd considering he has a grand total of 39 pass attempts in his collegiate career, but hey, college football. The Buckeyes certainly should provide Fields a chance to contend for the trophy but I think its a bit early to be getting too confident on this happening. He does provide strong value at +1200 but so many questions for the Buckeyes heading into the season have me feeling cautions on him. Unless Michigan can pull their head’s out of their asses than Ohio State should find their way to a 3rd straight Big Ten Championship with relative ease.
Michigan (+300) once again ended their season in bitter disappointment. The were on the cusp of their first playoff berth in what would have been a much needed notch on the belt of Jim Harbaugh after a string of subpar seasons under the much hyped hiring. And once again they have their hearts broken by the Ohio State Buckeyes. This last loss was made even worse by the fact that Michigan was coming into the game as a better team and with an notoriously stingy defense. A defense which gave up 61 points to OSU and looked more like a defense suited for Ann Arbor HS than a D1 college football powerhouse. They had a chance for redemption at the Peach Bowl against the Florida Gators but laid another turd of a game and lost 41-15 while Wolverine fans began calling for Harbaugh’s head. Good news is that changes have been made with Josh Gattis taking over as offensive coordinator in the hopes of making the most of quarterback talent Shea Patterson. They have also recruited well with highlights including 5-star players in safety Daxton Hill and offensive tackle Chris Hinton. Now Michigan is consistently overvalued in the futures market with Harbaugh calling the shots and a strong roster year in and year out. But they always seem to come up short. It’s hard to trust them yet again but if Gattis can really shake up the play calling on the offensive side of things and the defense can put together another top-5 campaign we might be in for some fireworks in the Bit Ten.
2019-2020 Heisman Trophy Betting
While betting on the playoff or to straight up win the national championship is popular and exciting some argue the market has become stale due to Alabama and Clemson’s recent domination. The Tigers and Crimson Tide have played in 3 of the 5 championship games so far and have 9 appearances in 10 chances with Clemson missing just one year in the tournament. Due to this I have found a lot more appeal in betting on the Heisman Trophy winners. So lets run down the odds and go over a few of my favorite candidates.
College Football Heisman Trophy Preseason Betting Odds
Trevor Lawrence +275
Adrian Martinez +1000
Justin Fields +1000
Jalen Hurts +1000
D’Andre Swift +1200
Justin Fields +1200
Travis Etienne +1200
Jonathan Taylor +1800
Jake Fromm +2000
Justin Herbert +2000
Ian Book +2000
Shea Patterson +2000
Austin Kendall +2500
Jerry Jeudy +2500
JT Daniels +2500
Kelly Bryant +2500
K.J. Costello +3300
Rondale Moore +3300
Tua Tagovailoa had the Heisman pretty much locked down for the first 11 weeks of the NCAAF 20108 season and bettors were already counting their winnings. But an incredible late push from Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray combined with a 2nd string effort from Tua against Georgia in the SEC championship game led writers to award Murray with the crown. Despite this there is no reason to shy away from betting him this season, he will at the least be in the thick come week 12. He is still just a Junior and has Biletnikoff winner Jerry Jeudy and Jaylen Waddle to throw too behind a strong offensive line.
Trevor Lawrence took little time to chase incumbent starter Kelly Bryant out of the starting lineup last season. The 6’6 freshman never looked back and Lawrence’s only real blip came early in the year after getting knocked out of a game vs Syracuse. But the lanky first year star bounced back and finished with an impressive 2,606 yards, 24 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions. Make no mistake a bout it, Trevor Lawrence is a Heisman Trophy winner, but whether he has it in him for 2019 or sticks around long enough to realize it is another story. Lucky for him he will have a full preseason as the starter and a full college football season under center without having to battle Bryant again for the job.
Adrian Martinez might be a surprise to some to be this high on the list, the word over-hyped comes to mind. But isn’t that kind of what betting on college football is all about? Taking big chances on smaller names. Sure he has just one starting season and went a very unimpressive 4-8 at Nebraska. But the Cornhuskers have a lot of hype surrounding them and Scott Frost’s second season manning the helm and a big leap expected for Martinez as well. Despite the record he completed 65% of his passes for 2,617 yards, 17 touchdowns and 7 picks, he also ran 8 in himself. If the success off McKenzie Milton after his time with Frost is any indication, Martinez has the tools to make a name for himself in 2019.
Justin Fields will be next in line at Ohio State to be turned into a college football beast. After the success of molding Dwayne Haskins into a first round draft pick for the Redskins. New HC Mike Yurcich, Ryan Day and Kevin Wilson have the same goal for Fields this year. The 5-star recruit got a waiver for immediate eligibility and has had the entire off-season to work on the young stud. Sure the Buckeyes lost 3 WR’s to the draft, but they always recruit strong and have K.J. Hill, Binkimen Victor, Austin Mack and Chris Olave as downfield play makers for Fields. Bettors just have to trust he will be able to get them the ball.
The college football preseason is a great time to be creative in the way you promote to clients in order to ensure a profitable year. Digging into the stats, trends and futures and we will continue to provide weekly content to keep our readers on the pulse of what is happening.
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