Updated 2016 College Football Conference & Championship Odds
To no one’s surprise, 2015-16 National Championship finalists Alabama and Clemson lead the entire FBS in the College Football odds to win the upcoming season’s National Championship. Expectedly, both teams also lead the odds to win their respective conferences, with Alabama having the shortest odds in the SEC and Clemson taking the honors in the ACC. That notwithstanding, the Crimson Tide and the Tigers are expected to face stiff competition from a handful of teams across the league.
Let’s Take a Look at the Updated 2016 College Football Conference & Championship Odds
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The National Cream
Most notable of the top competitors for Bama and Clemson in the national arena are Big 12’s hottest favorite in the Oklahoma Sooners, Pac-12’s odds-on favorite in the Stanford Cardinal, SEC’s top competitors in LSU, Mississippi and Tennessee, the dicey contending duo of Michigan and Ohio State in the Big Ten, and Clemson’s biggest hurdle in the ACC in the Florida State Seminoles.
Needles to say, no non-Power Five Conference has made the college football playoffs since it was launched two years ago, but many experts feel that the Houston Cougars of the American Athletic Conference (AAC) stand have the potential to end that cycle under the guidance of their star quarterback Greg Ward Jr. Meanwhile, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish of the FBS Independent Schools Conference is the other team receiving a lot of props in regards to making the 2017 NCAA Football National Championship game.
SEC Football Odds
Across the conferences, there aren’t much of new changes to talk about in regards to the odds. The experience in Tennessee’s squad combined with LSU’s heck-of- a-runner in Leonard Fournette and Ole Miss dangerous journeyman Chad Kelly is debatably expected to put an end to Alabama’s dominance in the SEC, but with Nick Saban coaching the Crimson Tide so effectively as he’s done since he was hired as a coach nearly a decade ago, it remains to be seen if Bama will be ousted from the helm of the conference.
ACC Football Odds
In the ACC, it’s pretty much a two-horse race between Clemson and the Seminoles. The Noles won the previous two ACC titles before Deshaun Watson and Clemson took over the reigns last season. It’s a head-scratcher figuring who is bets of these two teams, but with FSU getting to play Clemson at home in a likely conference-deciding game towards the end of the season; leaning more on the Seminoles sounds better, given that FSU has dominated its past home games vs. Clemson. But then again, that’s a big gamble if you consider that Watson is easily the best QB in the ACC, if not the entire country, which will most likely swing a lot of value to his tea in crunch time moments like the game against FSU.
Pac-12 Football Odds
The Pac-12 is hell of a mess with a brutal schedule and very little to separate the likes of UCLA, USC, Oregon and Washington, the teams that offer the strongest competition to Stanford. Heck, if you take away the versatile Christian McCaffrey out of the Cardinal picture, you get a very average Stanford team. And with the Pac-12 conference constituting several high-caliber running backs that can go toe-to- toe with McCaffrey on the field, I’d be careful about trusting the Cardinal to repeat as conference champs, especially now that the QB position in Stanford is in disarray and the defense lost a couple of key contributors from last season. If you asked me, I’d say a new Pac-12 champion could easily be in the books this season.
Big 12 Football Odds
Barring any major injuries, the Big 12 should be Oklahoma’s to lose, considering the balance in the returning Sooners team that includes star QB Baker Mayfield and a dangerous running back tandem in Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon. That said, don’t overlook the likes of Oklahoma Cowboys, Baylor Bears and even TCU just yet, as they all have decent units to cause some noise and deliver some upsets that could eventually prove pivotal in the run of things.
Big Ten Football Odds
And as you’ve probably read severally already, Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines are considered as the biggest darlings in the FBS this season following a strong Cinderella season in 2015. I am all for surprises and I wish Harbaugh the best, but I have to admit that I will only be bought on the whole Michigan hype when I’ve seen what the team can do with its question-filled offense.
For the Buckeyes, it’s the exact opposite, as J.T. Barrett is a formidable QB, but the Ohio State defense is full of questions marks. Then, of course, we have Michigan State as a lethal sleeper with coach Mark Dantonio who must not be joked with. As for the pretending championship contenders from the Big Ten West–Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska and all–I bet you know better than to trust their hype ahead of the new football season.
Conclusion and Writer’s Picks
There is too much football to be played, so I’d rather just sit and enjoy the new season rather than give my picks. But since most of you need to validate your picks and I’ll probably get fired if I don’t conclude this article with my not-so- early season predictions, here are my college football conference and national championship betting picks for 2016:
ACC: Florida State
Big 12 Champion: Oklahoma
Big Ten Champion: Ohio State
Pac-12 Champion: USC
SEC Champion: LSU
College Football Playoff Teams: Florida State, LSU, Oklahoma, Notre Dame
National Championship Game: LSU vs. FSU
National Champion: LSU
Oh, and for good measure, be on the lookout for Houston finishing the season as a No. 5 ranked team, missing the playoffs mainly because the college playoff committee will rule them out in a biased way. Otherwise, good luck with all your picks and have a happy football season!