college football

NCAAF national championship odds update: Ole Miss on the rise

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Jeremy Balan

September 27th, 2021

When I scanned the odds to win the College Football Playoff National Championship, after another exciting week of NCAAF action, I had to do a double take.

Is that... is that Ole Miss?

Indeed, it is.

The undefeated Rebels, in the week of their showdown with No. 1 Alabama, are the sixth price on the odds board to win the national title, at +2500, and even leapfrogged Penn State (+4000) without playing a game.

But does Lane Kiffin's squad actually have a chance to go all the way? Let's take a deeper look.

NCAAF Championship 2021/2022

Sun, December 5 2021, 10:56 AM

Alabama Crimson Tide


Georgia Bulldogs


Oklahoma Sooners


Oregon Ducks


Ohio State Buckeyes


Ole Miss Rebels


Penn State Nittany Lions


Michigan Wolverines


Texas Longhorns


UCLA Bruins


Can Ole Miss shock the world in Tuscaloosa?

If you're betting Ole Miss in this market, I have to think there is some expectation the Rebels will give Alabama a fight Saturday in Tuscaloosa.

Good luck with that.

Ole Miss is a 14.5-point underdog and has faced nothing close to the talent level it will see on the Crimson Tide sideline, but it has the advantage of entering fresh off a bye week. Alabama basically had a bye week, too, as it destroyed Southern Miss, 63-14, Saturday.

The Rebels' three wins have come against Louisville, Austin Peay, and Tulane, by an average of 32 points and all at home. What does that tell us about their chances on the road against Alabama? Nothing.

The last time Ole Miss won a national title, John F. Kennedy was president (1962), and the Rebels haven't won an SEC championship in almost as long (1963).

The only thing I'm confident about regarding Ole Miss football this week is that Kiffin will have plenty of smart-ass comments, before and after the game.

Notre Dame is overvalued

It seems to happen every year.

No. 9 Notre Dame is overvalued in the national polls, but that doesn't mean it needs to be overvalued on the odds board to win the national title.

The Irish are still overvalued in this market — tied for 11th on the board at +8000 — and they'll face No. 8 Cincinnati (which is also at +8000 to win the national title) on Saturday.

If you have watched Notre Dame's games this season and think the Irish are a top 10 team with a legitimate shot to win the national championship, my window is open.

The Irish needed overtime to defeat the dumpster fire that is the Florida State football program, trailed Toledo — an average MAC team — with two minutes remaining, and let Purdue hang around far too long. Even their win against Wisconsin last week, which looks like a blowout at first glance, was a 10-10 slog early in the fourth quarter. The Badgers even led, 13-10, before they completely imploded in the final 10 minutes.

Can Notre Dame beat Cincinnati? Sure. Can it finish the regular season undefeated, only to get destroyed in the CFP again? I guess.

However, if you have functioning eyeballs, have watched these games, and don't have green-and-gold colored glasses on, you know how talented this team really is.

I'd rather bet Arkansas (+10000), Florida (+15000), and even BYU (+25000) at significantly better prices.

Movers and shakers

There has been plenty of movement on the odds board this week, and even at the top. Alabama's slight edge over Georgia is gone, and the two programs are now co-favorites to win the national title, as their presumptive march to the SEC Championship Game continues.

Oklahoma slipped into a third-place tie with Oregon at +1200 (the Sooners were +800 last week), after an uninspiring win against West Virginia, and Clemson is toast (+1400 to +10000), after an upset loss to North Carolina State. Texas A&M also fell (+4000 to +10000) with a loss to Arkansas, which shot into the top 15 on the betting board with a huge move from +30000 to +10000.

Florida slipped again for reasons I don't understand (+10000 to +15000) — after the Gators handled Tennessee just fine in a letdown spot, following their heavyweight fight with Alabama — and still represents the best value on the entire board.