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NCAAF national championship odds update: Don't give up on Clemson

Profile Picture: Jeremy Balan

September 7th, 2021

The first full week of the college football season featured plenty of impressive performances and ample disappointments (looking at you, Pac-12), but only one team with a serious chance to win the College Football Playoff National Championship really took a hit in the futures market.

NCAAF Championship 2021/2022

Sun, December 5 2021, 10:56 AM

Alabama Crimson Tide


Georgia Bulldogs


Ohio State Buckeyes


Oklahoma Sooners


Clemson Tigers


Texas A&M Aggies


Iowa State Cyclones


LSU Tigers


Florida Gators


Penn State Nittany Lions


Clemson will bounce back

Clemson’s 10-3 loss to Georgia moved the Tigers from +350 to +800 to win the national title. You might want to jump on that price now. Although the loss was discouraging in the short term, it doesn’t change much in the long view.

The Tigers will almost surely be a double-digit favorite in every game for the rest of the regular season, and if they roll through the ACC, as they do seemingly every season, the CFP selection committee isn’t going to leave out a one-loss Clemson squad.

After a brutal night against a ferocious Georgia defense, Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei will be fine. He won’t face that kind of pressure (seven sacks!) for the rest of the regular season, and will put up huge numbers against the overmatched defenses of the ACC.

You may not get a better number than +800 on Clemson the rest of the year.

Georgia jumps up the board

The outlook is similarly rosy for Georgia, which moved from +700 to +300 to win the national title.

A trip to Auburn on Oct. 9 won’t be easy, but the only ranked matchup on the Georgia schedule is its rivalry game with Florida on Oct. 30. The rest of the SEC schedule — South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee — should not be a problem.

But +300, off one slim win, for a program that hasn’t been able to get past Alabama for the last 13 years or so? I’ll gladly fade that action.

Movers and shakers

Oklahoma (+600 to +700) and Ohio State (+450 to +550) both saw their odds inch higher to adjust for the Georgia move up the board — while Wisconsin, Miami, and North Carolina dropped off a cliff after losses — but the most compelling move of the week was UCLA, which went from +20000 to +10000 after its defeat of LSU.

For reasons I can’t explain, LSU has maintained at +5000 to win the national championship. But if you watched the Tigers in Pasadena, I don’t know how you could endorse even a sniff at a national title.

For UCLA, however, the time might be right.

The Bruins’ 38-27 win over LSU was the lone bright spot on the Pac-12 schedule. The conference has struggled in recent years, but Saturday was particularly awful.

Ranked Arizona State and Utah, as well as Colorado, handled their business during the work week, but then the trouble began. Oregon slipped by Fresno State after the Ducks trailed in the fourth quarter, USC sleepwalked through its game against San Jose State until a surge in the fourth, No. 20 Washington could only muster seven points (at home!) in a loss to Montana, Stanford got crushed by Kansas State, Oregon State fell to Purdue, Cal was upset by Nevada at home, Arizona couldn’t get past BYU, and Washington State blew a double-digit fourth-quarter lead in a defeat to Utah State.

Need any more evidence this is the year for UCLA to capitalize?

Are the Bruins a viable candidate to win the national title? No. Can they make things interesting in a weak Pac-12 at a big price? Maybe.