As is tradition, as soon as a major championship event wraps up, we look forward to the futures odds coming out for the following season; college football is no different, and Georgia is already favored to keep winning.
After going without a championship for 41 years—and having several close calls in between—the Bulldogs avenged a loss to Alabama in the 2021 SEC Championship game in a 30-15 win over the Crimson Tide in that season’s national championship contest.
For 2023, the Bulldogs will have six starters back on each side of the ball but will have to replace Stetson Bennett, the former walk-on quarterback who ended his career with two national championships to his credit.
Sophomore Carson Beck is expected to take over at QB, and he has tight end Brock Bowers coming back along with solid transfers in Rara Thomas and Dominic Lovett. The running game should be strong again, and a defense that allowed 13 points per game has five starters who were freshmen or sophomores coming back. The schedule is also soft—the only non-conference Power 5 opponent is Georgia Tech on Thanksgiving weekend with the biggest road challenge looking to be at Tennessee the week before.
The name of the game when it comes to futures this far out is setting odds that are attractive to casual bettors. In college football, the powerhouse teams are typically strong every year, so many of them will be overvalued.
Alabama is just behind Georgia in the odds. The Crimson Tide are coming off a two-loss season, but they lost both of those games on the road on the final play of the game. Quarterback Bryce Young will have to be replaced, and offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien may be gone as well (he’s rumored to head to the NFL’s New England Patriots).
Out of the Big Ten, Ohio State and Michigan are in the top five of the national championship odds. The Buckeyes need to replace QB C.J. Stroud and have a road game at Notre Dame to go along with ones at Wisconsin and Michigan, whom they have now lost twice in a row to. The Wolverines may be the better bet—as long as head coach Jim Harbaugh stays. Quarterback J.J. McCarthy and running back Blake Corum are both returning for Michigan, as are eight of the 11 starters on defense.
USC rounds out the top five with Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams coming back to lead a strong offense. But what we learned during Lincoln Riley’s first season with the Trojans is that it looked a lot like his Oklahoma teams. A Heisman-winning quarterback but a defense that couldn’t stop elite teams. After losing twice to Utah, the Trojans blew a 15-point lead in the Cotton Bowl to AAC champion Tulane in a 46-45 defeat. The Trojans have to earn our trust on the national stage.
Which Teams Have Good Value in their Odds?
Clemson is at +1800 at Caesars Sportsbook, but take a look at Florida State in the ACC, which can be had at PointsBet for +2800. In ESPN’s Way-Too-Early Top 25, the Seminoles are ranked fourth to the Tigers’ 15th. After a seven-point loss to Clemson in early October, the Noles finished the season by winning six-straight games and easily handled Oklahoma in their bowl game. In head coach Mike Norvell’s third season, FSU won 10 games for the first time since 2016, and returning QB Jordan Travis could be a Heisman contender. The Tigers, on the other hand, finished their season losing two out of three games (both to SEC schools), and quarterback Cade Klubnik was shaky against Tennessee in the Orange Bowl. Running back Will Shipley returns, so that will be a positive for the Tigers.
Penn State (+2200 at Caesars) only lost to Michigan and Ohio State this year. While the Nittany Lions lost quarterback Sean Clifford, his replacement, Drew Allar, is highly touted, and the rest of James Franklin’s team has star players coming back at the running back, wide receiver, linebacker, and cornerback positions.
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