- BetOnline lists Alabama as -175 favorites to win the National Championship
- Clemson (+250) and Ohio State (+625) will meet in a CFP semifinal rematch
- Devonta Smith (-160) is favored to become the first receiver to win the Heisman since 1991
The College Football Playoffs are set after the committee predictably selected Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Notre Dame to do battle on New Year’s Day. After looking at the latest national championship odds, we’ll break down the semifinal matchups and examine a wild Heisman race that became even more up-in-the-air following the weekend’s conference championship games.
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2020 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP ODDS
CFP SEMIFINAL MATCHUPS
Who says variety is the spice of life? Alabama, Notre Dame, Clemson and Ohio State have held the first four spots in the AP Top 25 since Oct. 25, so no one should be surprised that the undefeated Cincinnati Bearcats were ignored by the committee.
Since the College Football Playoff format started in 2014, only five of the 130 FBS teams have made multiple tournament appearances and four of them are in this season’s field. That includes three (Alabama, Clemson, and Ohio State) that have combined to fill 16 of the 28 total spots in the playoff’s seven-year history.
The #CollegeFootballPlayoff semifinals are set. It’ll be Alabama vs. Notre Dame and Clemson vs. Ohio State. https://t.co/cQjOkTCB9C pic.twitter.com/k4rs350KIE
— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) December 20, 2020
The Fighting Irish and Crimson Tide will meet Jan. 1 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, after a late pandemic-related relocation from the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, while the Tigers and Buckeyes are set to play the same day at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.
Alabama (-175) remained undefeated on the season with a 52-46 win over Florida in the SEC championship and no one expects them to have too much difficulty in the Rose Bowl against a Notre Dame (+2000) program that was crushed 34-10 by Clemson (+250) in Saturday’s ACC championship. Brian Kelly’s Irish team was also embarrassed 30-3 by the Tigers in their only previous CFP appearance two years ago.
Ohio State (+625) improved to 6-0 with a 22-10 victory over Northwestern in Saturday’s Big Ten championship game. Considering the Buckeyes jumped out to a 16-0 lead over Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl last year before a few controversial calls led to a 29-23 loss, it would seem that Ryan Day’s club is easily the best value on the board.
However, the Buckeyes have not won a playoff game since winning the national championship in 2014 and have lost three semifinal meetings to Dabo Swinney’s Tigers since 2016. Expect Clemson and Alabama to meet in the national championship – their fifth playoff meeting in the past six years.
HEISMAN TROPHY ODDS
|Devonta Smith – Alabama WR||-160|
|Mac Jones – Alabama QB||+130|
|Trevor Lawrence – Clemson QB||+650|
|Kyle Trask – Florida QB||+2500|
|Najee Harris – Alabama RB||+2500|
UNPREDICTABLE HEISMAN RACE
Last week, we implored you to bet Trevor Lawrence to win the Heisman Trophy at +2200, and following a dazzling performance against Notre Dame where he accounted for 412 yards of offense and three touchdowns, the presumptive No. 1 pick in the NFL draft is now at +650.
Heisman voters have to be cast today (Monday, December 21), but there is a chance the junior quarterback ekes out the award if the three Alabama contenders — wide receiver Devonta Smith (-160), QB Mac Jones (+130), and running back Najee Harris (+2500) — split the vote. All three Bama players showed up in Saturday’s 52-46 win over Florida with Jones throwing for 418 yards and five touchdowns, Smith hauling in 15 receptions for 184 yards and 2 scores, and Harris rumbling for 245 combined yards and five end zone trips.
“It would be a crying shame if the Heisman didn’t attach their name to Trevor Lawrence.”#Trevor4Heisman ? pic.twitter.com/XoEEjaJgTr
— ACC Network (@accnetwork) December 20, 2020
On the season, Smith leads college football with 1,327 receiving yards and is second with 83 receptions and 15 touchdowns. However, only three wide receivers have ever won the Heisman and none since Desmond Howard in 1991.
Jones has thrown for 3,739 yards and 32 touchdowns against only 4 interceptions this year. That’s fewer yards (4,125) and touchdowns (43) than Kyle Trask put up, but that’s now a moot point after he defeated the Gators’ senior head-to-head on Saturday. A -110 favorite just three weeks ago, Trask saw his Heisman odds fall to +2500 despite throwing for 408 yards and three touchdowns in the loss to Alabama.
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