Revised NCAA Football Odds To Win The Championship

Posted by Ryan Knuppel on Monday,May 23, 2016 4:18, EDT in

How does a Clemson-Ohio State national championship game sound to you? That would be a pretty juicy matchup and the Tigers and Buckeyes are currently each priced as +650 favorites to win the 2016-17 national title in on NCAA football odds.

An In Depth Look at the Revised NCAA Football Odds To Win The National Championship

Of course Clemson played in last season’s title game and lost a terrific matchup against Alabama. The Tigers bring back the most electric player in college football in quarterback Deshaun Watson, who is the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy. One could argue he should have won it last year but Alabama running back Derrick Henry did — he’s now in the NFL, a second-round pick by the Tennessee Titans. Watson had perhaps the best season ever by a Clemson player, rushing for 1,105 yards and 12 scores and completing 333-of-491 passes for 4,104 yards, 35 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Watson finished third in the Heisman vote. Clemson’s offense should be fantastic thanks to Watson, running back Wayne Gallman and the return of wide receiver Mike Williams from injury.

If there’s a concern, it’s on the defensive side. Coordinator Brent Venables lost nine starters from the nation’s No. 1 defense and forged a unit that still finished No. 10 nationally. There are holes everywhere, from the gap left by All-America defensive end Shaq Lawson to a vacancy at cornerback left by Mackensie Alexander’s early entry into the NFL draft. Clemson also will have to get past a Top-10 team in Florida State in its own division just to play in the ACC Championship Game again. The Tigers visit Tallahassee on Oct. 29.

Ohio State lost even more than Clemson did this offseason. OSU lost star running back Ezekiel Elliott, three starting offensive linemen, all three starting wide receivers and its starting tight end. That leaves only three returning starters on this offensive side of the ball, a total that is tied with TCU for the lowest among Power 5 teams and tied for 125th among all FBS teams. That list doesn’t even include Cardale Jones, who was the Buckeyes’ starting quarterback for most of the 2015 campaign. The only returning receiver is Curtis Samuel, who posted only 22 receptions. The rest of the returning roster tallied a total of 12 receptions last season. The situation is no better on defense, as the Buckeyes lost three starting defensive linemen (including both starting defensive tackles), two starting linebackers, one starting cornerback (Eli Apple, the team’s best at that position) and both starting safeties.

OSU also has one of the toughest non-conference games in the nation, visiting Top-10 team Oklahoma on Sept. 17. In Big Ten play, the Buckeyes have tough trips to Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan State, while hosting Nebraska and Michigan.

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Alabama is +700 to repeat as champion. Replacing Henry is the biggest challenge. Who will play quarterback? Jake Coker expired his eligibility after the national championship, leaving Cooper Bateman, Blake Barnett, David Cornwell and Jalen Hurts to compete for the starting spot. Bateman has the edge in experience with one career start under his belt, while Hurts just arrived on campus in January. The Tide have a very tough season opener in Arlington, Texas, against USC. And then there’s the always brutal SEC schedule, including tough visits to Ole Miss, Arkansas, Tennessee and LSU.

Michigan is the only other team priced at under +1000 on NCAA football odds with the Wolverines at +800. They also must find a new starting quarterback with Jake Rudock have moved on. Most believe that Houston transfer John O’Korn will win the job. The Wolverines have a pretty easy non-conference schedule. But they have to visit both Michigan State and Ohio State in Big Ten play.