Once again, Alabama emerges as the benchmark at the college football national level. Shocker!
The Crimson Tide entered the College Football Playoff national championship futures markets as the top favorites and the team to beat for national glory this week following a conference championship weekend that delivered intriguing plot twists and turns before it coughed up the Fab Final Four.
Joining Alabama in the bid for the championship is Georgia, Michigan and Cincinnati.
Betus sportsbook tips the Tide as the +120 favorites, just a smidgen ahead of Georgia at +140. Michigan and Cincinnati are the longshots in the competition at +650 and +1400, respectively.
Below we break down the teams and opening odds in further detail.
Odds to Win NCAAF Championship
- Alabama +120
- Georgia +140
- Michigan +650
- Cincinnati +1400
Alabama Crimson Tide +120
There’s a reason why the NFL knocks on coach Nick Saban’s door each year and pilfers the coffers of his locker room. Saban’s knack for nurturing and developing championship-pedigree players and teams is second to none.
When 10 Alabama players were drafted earlier this year – tied with Ohio State for the most players selected in the 2021 NFL Draft – one would have easily forgiven Alabama for any struggles this season. It’s not easy to recover quickly after having a squad depleted of its best talent. But the Tide didn’t struggle. Not at all.
5️⃣ STRAIGHT YEARS 💪💪
— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) May 1, 2021
Alabama finished with a 12-1 record overall and a 7-1 mark in the Southeastern Conference regular season. The only wobble came in a narrow 41-38 loss to Texas A&M on Oct. 9. The Crimson Tide perked up immediately after the setback and decimated Miss State 49-9.
They rolled to the finish line with a seven-game winning streak, which included a convincing 41-24 win over the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC Championship Game. The Crimson Tide entered the title clash against then-No. 1 Georgia as the +6 underdogs for college football picks. Seems laughable now, doesn’t it.
Bryce Young padded his Heisman Trophy bid with a dominant performance against the vaunted Bulldogs defense as the Tide rolled to another SEC title. He was named the Heisman winner, becoming Alabama’s first quarterback to claim the honor.
— ESPN (@espn) December 12, 2021
Georgia Bulldogs +140
This was supposed to be Georgia’s year. Finally! It was supposed to be Kirby Smart’s turn to get one over Saban, his very own Miyagi. The Bulldogs were easily the best team in the country and the top favorite in betting online markets to win the SEC title and the CFP national championships.
Everything seemed to be falling into place beautifully until they ran into what must have felt like a tsunami tidal wave that laid them to waste at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Georgia went undefeated in the regular season, going 12-0 and 8-0 in SEC play before its date with Alabama put a spanner in the works. To say it was a bitter disappointment is an understatement.
So, the Bulldogs aren’t infallible. But all is not lost. Georgia received an invite to the CFP national championships and has everything to play for, including a second crack at Alabama should the outcome of the semifinals fall in line with the college football odds and the pair reprise their SEC rivalry on the biggest stage in NCAA football.
Michigan Wolverines +650
The Michigan Wolverines are the epitome of dangerous floaters in the competition. Michigan crushed Ohio State 42-27 in the regular-season finale, marking its first win over the Buckeyes in six attempts. The Wolverines followed that victory with a 42-3 rout of the Iowa Hawkeyes. comfortably covering as the 12-point favorites to win the Big Ten championship.
Coach Jim Harbaugh couldn’t stop waxing lyrical about his team’s achievements this season. He even went on to suggest defensive end Aidan Hutchinson should go No. 1 in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Jim Harbaugh says Aidan Hutchinson is going to be the No. 1 pick in the draft 👀 pic.twitter.com/LnCToNYCPC
— ESPN (@espn) December 12, 2021
The Wolverines finished the season with a stellar 12-1 record and an 8-1 regular-season record in the Big Ten. Their lone defeat came to Michigan State, a narrow 37-33 loss on Oct. 23.
Cincinnati Bearcats +1400
The Cincinnati Bearcats arrived on the national stage with an affirming 13-0 record overall and an 8-0 Atlantic Athletic Conference regular-season record. They capped off the season with a straightforward 35-20 win over the ranked Houston Cougars in the AAC Championship Game. However, despite their unblemished record, they emerge as the longshots of the Fab Final Four with hefty +1400 odds.
By all accounts, the Bearcats exceeded expectations. They were expected to be good, but not this good. Quarterback Desmond Ridder has enjoyed a banner season, throwing for 3,190 yards while accounting for 37 touchdowns and tossing eight interceptions.
Cincinnati’s offense has reaped the rewards of Ridder’s performance to reach its first-ever playoffs, but its defense has played a major part in the historical season.
It’s impossible to say the Bearcats do not have a chance to win the CFP national championship, but they’re going to be up against it with a date against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the semifinals. And, if they pull off the unthinkable, Cincinnati gets a date against the winner of Georgia vs Michigan.
Indeed, the main reason why the Bearcats are priced in quadruple-digit obscurity is the Crimson Tide, whose championship pedigree sets up a daunting hurdle for Cincinnati to overcome.