Why These NCAAF Betting Favorites Won’t Win the 2015-16 Title

Posted by Alex Murphy on Tuesday,June 9, 2015 9:54, EST in

The Ohio State Buckeyes lead the upcoming season’s NCAAF betting odds to defend the CFB National Championship title, followed by a host of strong competitors in teams like Alabama, LSU, Oregon and USC. Considering the last couple of NCAA Football Championship odds have been dominated by betting favorites, it makes total betting sense to feel inclined towards wagering on the chalks.

But then again, college football odds are as fickle as movie roles in Hollywood, where the most popular actor is often favored to get the best role, even when it is not warranted to do so. And as the media-loving people we are, we often get carried away in the hype of sweet-tailored media messages, forcing us to forget the real fundamentals of logical judgment, which call for a full-spectrum analysis of everything at hand. Have I lost you in my allegorical comparison? Okay, lemme track back a little and explain myself better with a fitting example…

Lesson on Why You Shouldn’t Be Too Hasty to Bet on the Chalk

As of last year August, the Buckeyes were far from a team you’d categorize as a betting favorite, fetching as high as a 50/1 win the National Championship and ranking third behind the Spartans and the Badgers in the Big Ten race.

Come December 2014, the Bucks (who at that time were beating everyone and anyone in the Big 10) climbed up to a third-favorite to win it all, behind the Seminoles and Ducks. Of course, even at this point in December, not many looked at the Bucks as a team worth going all the way, with most focus zeroed on FSU and Oregon, plus a bit of some love for Alabama (a perennial national competitor).

oregon-ncaaf-betting

Fast forward to the last week of regular season when the Buckeyes lost their 2nd-choice quarterback and had to rely on a third-string QB in the playoffs, Urban Meyer’s troops were only in the playoff odds by virtue of being a top-4 team, rather than a team most bettors considered as a solid championship contender. In the end, you all know what happened, as Cardale Jones and Ezekiel Elliott suddenly rose to national prominence by leading their team to a convincing win in the Finals.

So in short, whereas it is irrefutable that being labeled as a favorite team is often a strong indicator of a team’s solid competing potential (which is often right anyway), there are many other factors that can easily shift the odds away from the favored teams. Bearing that standpoint in mind, here are the reasons why the following betting favorites are likely to fail in their quest for the 2015-16 college football championship title:

ohio-state ncaafOHIO STATE BUCKEYES

Though the Buckeyes are the prohibitive favorites to successfully defend both the Big 10 title and National Championship, the 2015 season has its fair share of pitfalls that may derail Meyer’s troops from their objectives. Even with a good recruiting class and a solid core team returning in 2015 (including three talented quarterbacks), the Bucks will have to go through Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines—a unit that has nothing to lose, coming off a 5-7 season. Underestimating The Great Harbaugh, even with his limited squad, would be a huge mistake. Also, the Spartans are still capable of handling their own. And the season-opener against Virginia Tech, a team that beat Ohio State in Week 2 of 2014, also has the potential of bringing another upset.

Assuming the Bucks finished the season unscathed (which I don’t see happening anyway), the Badgers will be probably be waiting for them, looking to avenge last season’s 59-0 blowout loss in the Big Ten Championship game. If you still feel confident on chalking on the Bucks after all such factors have been considered, then good luck with your bet..!

alabama crimson tideALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE

The Crimson Tide’s Coach Nick Saban may have solved many questions about Alabama through his top-rated recruiting class in 2015, but as long as there is no clear directive as to who will fill the vacant spot that was left by QB Blake Sims, then nothing about Alabama’s national ambitions will come to fruition. Of the current players in Bama, Florida State transfer Jacob Coker looks like the player to beat for the QB job, though redshirt freshman David Cornwell, junior Alec Morris and true freshman Blake Barnett also figure to be in the running.

During spring training, none of the QBs was well-above the rest, no wander Saban is still undecided about who will get the start. There have also been further complications in the QB department, with various reports throughout the offseason linking Alabama with Ohio State senior Braxton Miller, who is eligible for transfer. If Miller (or someone better than Coker and Co.) finds his way to Alabama, then the Crimson Tide will be a genuine force to reckon with. Until then, I don’t see why you should waste your money on Alabama ‘coz the SEC is too tough to be hacked by the subpar quarterbacks that are currently in Tuscaloosa.

oregon ducksOREGON DUCKS

Marcus Mariota is gone, so Oregon’s fast-paced offense is in the books, right? Quite the opposite! The Ducks have a new or better Mariota in Eastern Washington transfer Vernon Adams, who threw for a whopping 10,438 yards, while rushing for 1,232 and accounting for 121 touchdowns in his three years at Eastern Washington, including a good number of solid numbers against FBS opponents. Therefore, even though he has never taken a snap at the FBS level, he comes with a lot of versatility and experience that should make him an instant hit at Oregon, especially with receivers Devon Allen, Byron Marshall and Dwayne Stanford and running backs Thomas Tyner and Royce Freeman (who were Mariota’s main weapons) returning to support the new quarterback.

Still, the loss of Hamani Stevens, Hroniss Grasu and Jake Fisher in Oregon’s offensive line could hurt the team in 2015. But more worryingly, the Ducks have landmine-filled schedule, including games against USC, Stanford, Arizona State and Michigan State. And of the 4 games, I can bet my house that the Ducks will lose at least two of them to finish the season probably with a 10-2. And with such a record, going to the Pac-12 title game should be possible for them, but their tarnished record will keep them out of the Final Four Playoffs.

usc trojansUSC TROJANS

Trojans Second-year Coach Steve Sarkisian has one of the most talented rosters in the CFB, including 15 starters from the 2014 season. Considering the Trojans finished 9-4 in 2014 and capped their season with a pulsating 45-42 win over the Cornhuskers in the Holiday Bowl, the 15 returning starters (8 on offense and 7 on defense) should be able to have a good foundation to build on in 2015.

Unfortunately, the Trojans lost very crucial starters, including their leading rusher Buck Allen (276 carries, 1.489 rushing yards and 11 TDs) and a powerhouse in WR Nelson Agholor (104 catches, 1,313 yards, 12 TDs), which is likely to limit the efficiency of their returning QB Cody Kessler. Meanwhile, the defense will also be missing tackle/end Leonard Williams, who accounted for 80 tackles, including 9.5 for loss, and 7 sacks in 2014. So whereas I would comfortably bet on the Trojans winning the Pac-12 South with more than 8 wins to their record, I see a couple of losses in their games against the Ducks and Arizona State. And with at least two losses to their name, the Trojans are unlikely to finish in the top-4, so you better avoid them on the college football playoff odds.

lsu tigersLSU TIGERS

Coming off spring training, LSU Coach Les Miles said that QB Anthony Jennings was superior to his competitor Brandon Harris in closed scrimmages, thus making Jennings the frontrunner in LSU starting quarterback job. However, Miles was keen to reiterate that the position is yet to be settled. Now, assuming that Jennings gets the call, then the Tigers should be prepared for trouble, as he completed just 49 percent of his passes last season and hasn’t improved much in the spring, according to sources close to the Tigers. If Harris is the starter, it is probably going to be more trouble, as Harris looked bereft of the team’s playbook, while his general immaturity was also evident in how he called plays.

Just about the only positives for the Tigers are in their replenished offensive line, a top-flight secondary and the presence of a solid running back in Leonard Fournette, who is arguably the best offensive player in LSU. Even so, unless the QBs shows sufficient improvement, the Tigers are likely to be a non-factor in SEC, let alone the NCAAF Playoff odds