After Clemson stamped the envelope on a 15-0 season and second national title in three years with a victory over Alabama on Monday, some oddsmakers have pushed the Tigers' 2020 championship odds ahead of the Crimson Tide's.
With that in mind, we selected a favorite, underdog, and long shot to be crowned next season's champion despite the final being a whole calendar year away.
Favorite - Alabama (+250)
If you needed to be reminded of how far ahead Clemson and Alabama are from the rest of the college football pack, Caesars offered a unique bet for the 2020 CFP title a few days ago: Alabama +180; Clemson +500; Field -120. In selecting a way-too-early champion for next season, starting with these two powerhouses is a necessity. The Crimson Tide opened up +150 and swung to +250 all because of a blowout loss - one that was closer than the box score would suggest. We recommend taking the better price here.
Alabama's offense wasn't outmatched Monday despite some atrocious play-calling. The Crimson Tide ripped up the nation's No. 1 defense for 443 yards but only mustered 16 points due to stalling deep in Clemson territory. As the Tigers return a vast majority of their offensive stars who lit up an SEC defense for 44 points, so does Alabama. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will be back, as will all four starting wide receivers in Jerry Jeudy, Devonta Smith, Henry Ruggs, and Jaylen Waddle. We know the Tide will reload in spots where they lose players to the NFL draft. You could almost flip a coin between Clemson and Alabama next year, so why not take the better odds?
Underdog - Oklahoma (+1600)
National titles are contingent on star-studded recruiting classes. Clemson and Alabama bring in top talent every year. A coincidence? We think not. But it's also important to not base a national title hopeful off a coup of five-star 18-year-olds who might not even contribute right away. Oklahoma's stock is increasing by leaps and bounds under head coach Lincoln Riley, who has propelled the program into the College Football Playoff in each of his first two seasons at the helm. And he has one of the top recruiting classes in the nation for 2019, rife with multiple five-star wide receivers and a five-star quarterback to boot. Even if Heisman-winning quarterback Kyler Murray and potential first-round wide receiver Marquise Brown aren't replaced, Riley employs one of the most plug-and-play, quarterback-friendly systems in the country that should have the Sooners lighting up the scoreboard in the Big 12 again in 2019. What makes Oklahoma even more intriguing is the hiring of defensive coordinator Alex Grinch, who will coach a litany of players who earned valuable experience in a trying 2018 season.
Long shot - Oregon (+2500)
Let's buy some Oregon stock as the program will be led by the nation's top quarterback in Justin Herbert, who opted to return to Eugene despite some draft pundits pegging him as the No. 1 overall quarterback in the 2018 class. The Ducks will have the benefit of two bye weeks in 2019 and do not have consecutive road games. They will play their four toughest games - at least on paper - away from Autzen Stadium, including an opening-week, neutral-site clash with the Auburn Tigers. But with the trajectory of some teams in the Pac-12 (USC, Stanford) and others losing significant key players under center (Washington, Washington State), we recommend Oregon as the long-shot pick to make noise in '19.
(All odds were taken from BetOnline.ag. Always shop around for the best numbers on your wagers.)
Alex Kolodziej is theScore's betting writer. He's a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 11 years. He can quote every line from "Rounders" and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AlexKoIodziej.
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