Looking ahead to the 2021 college football season: Odds, best bets and predictions for the National Championship
Football season is approaching, and a somewhat normal 2021 college campaign will be a welcome sight. Hey, at least we had a season in 2020; that’s a lot better than nothing! But it wasn’t the same, with conference-only schedules, some teams deciding not to play, all kinds of game cancellations, and little to no fans in attendance. It just didn’t feel right—but don’t tell that to Alabama.
Amidst all the chaos, one thing stayed the same: Alabama remains a dynasty. Nick Saban and company won another National Championship, easing past Notre Dame in the College Football Playoff semi-finals and then destroying Ohio State for the title. Led by Heisman Trophy winner Devonta Smith and fellow first-round draft picks Mac Jones and Najee Harris, the Crimson Tide went 13-0 on their way to their sixth title in the last 12 years.
Will the Tide go back-to-back? Let’s take a look at the odds and discuss what could be in store for the 2021 college football season.
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National Championship odds
Ohio State +400
Iowa State +2800
Texas A&M +2800
North Carolina +5000
National Championship best bets
When you can get Alabama at well into the plus-money ranks, it’s always something to consider. Obviously, there was a mass exodus to the NFL, but that is nothing new for Saban’s program. The Crimson Tide don’t rebuild — they reload. New quarterback Bryce Young is expected to be a Heisman Trophy contender (see more below), in part because he will have all kinds of weapons around him. Keep in mind that Clemson and Ohio State lost a lot from the 2020 season, too, so it’s not like Bama is the only powerhouse that will look a little bit different.
There is also good value on Oklahoma at +650. The Sooners have an established star quarterback in Spencer Rattler and perhaps even more important is the relative lack of competition in the Big 12. You have to get to the College Football Playoff before you can win it, of course, and OU has a clear path to the playoff coming out of that conference. Iowa State could be a factor, but as usual, the Big 12 should go to the Sooners.
Other college football futures markers
Heisman Trophy odds
Spencer Rattler +550
DJ Uiagalelei +600
Bryce Young +800
CJ Stroud +1000
JT Daniels +1200
Sam Howell +1700
Taking the favorite isn’t the most fun or lucrative, but +550 odds on Rattler really aren’t that bad. In 2020 he passed for more than 3,000 yards with 28 touchdowns compared to only seven interceptions. Rattler also rushed for six TDs. His season ended on an especially high note, with three passing touchdowns, no interceptions, and one rushing score in a 55-20 Cotton Bowl rout of Florida.
Conference title futures are also available, and the one I like the most is Boise State at -110 to win the Mountain West Conference. That basically means it’s straight up Boise State vs. the field, which gives solid value to the Broncos. They may not have been dominant last year, but they bring back a total of 16 starters. Look for order to be restored in the MWC.
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