College Football Playoff Betting

College Football Playoff Betting

After decades of allowing biased sportswriters and corporate committees decide the NCAA football national champion, 2015 ushers in the inaugural College Football Playoff featuring four teams vying for the title. The system still isn’t ideal, but it sure as hell beats the nonsensical BCS, which used some mysterious formula fed into a computer to decide the two schools deemed most worthy to compete for the prize. When Alabama, Ohio State, Oregon, and Florida State take the field on Thursday, they will be making history, no matter who comes out on top. A Final Four in football? What a novel concept. Why again did it take this long for the boneheaded NCAA to figure out this could work both competitively and financially? Anyway, here’s a breakdown of the first ever college football playoff.

FLORIDA STATE VS OREGON -8

The ‘Noles haven’t been installed as an underdog since 2011. They’ve reeled off 29 consecutive wins and of course are the defending national champions. They are 4-0 versus Top 25 competition in 2014, but won all four by a combined margin of 23 points. Jameis Winston has made more headlines for his off field antics than his on field play. With the exception of the Citadel and Wake Forest, Florida State has been pushed to the brink of defeat, only to find a way to survive. Their resolve is admirable, but there is an overwhelming sense they are operating on borrowed time. The Seminoles are 3-10 ATS on the season and 9-1-1 ATS in their last eleven Bowl games.

Oregon might be the most talented team from top to bottom among the final four. Marcus Mariota is a Heisman winner and the favorite to be selected number one overall in the April Draft; he accounted for an eye-popping 52 touchdowns and by far is the most elite player the ‘Noles have faced this season. The high octane offense ranks 3rd in the country in scoring, and an underrated ballhawking defense yields 22.5 points per game, which is better than Florida State. Remove the puzzling home loss to Arizona in early October, and the Ducks have manhandled pretty much every team on their schedule. Oregon has covered five straight and are 9-4 ATS overall.

Florida State excels at overcoming mistakes and coming through in the clutch. Containing Mariota and the Oregon run game will be a challenge, but the ‘Noles have the athletes on defense to keep this one tighter than the spread.

Bet Florida State +8

OHIO STATE VS. ALABAMA -9

Cardale Jones is the Buckeyes’ third signal-caller to step under center since Spring camp. Jones and Co. steamrolled an overrated Wisconsin team in the Big Ten title matchup, but Alabama’s fast and powerful defense presents a much stiffer challenge for head coach Urban Meyer and his staff. Leaning on sophomore tailback Ezekiel Elliott will be key to controlling the clock and keeping the potent and balanced Tide offense on the sidelines. Elliott rumbled for a career best 220 yards against the Badgers, but he will find the holes and lanes closing much quicker Thursday night facing a stifling ‘Bama defense that ranks third in the nation in points allowed. Ohio State is 1-5 ATS in its last six versus SEC opponents.

Nick Saban has had a lot of time to find ways of attacking Ohio State. Loading up to stop the run and forcing Jones to pass should be top priority. Jones is green and will likely be battling a case of the jitters in the spotlight, so baiting him into committing costly turnovers is something to look for. On offense, Amari Cooper is a one-man wrecking crew who can kill defenses over the top and underneath; he’s caught at least 8 balls in eleven of 13 games and has excellent chemistry with quarterback Blake Sims. However, Sims is prone to mistakes when pressured and the Buckeyes front four led by Joey Bosa can bring the heat. Offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin must utilize the backfield duo of Yeldon and Henry to quell the pass rush.

Lot of points here considering how resilient the Buckeyes have been all season. That said, Tide are 4-0 ATS in their last four versus the Big Ten and appear motivated to smash anyone who gets in their way. Still, this number is too big to trust.

Bet Ohio State +9