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Odds Move Points to Clemson Being Popular Pick to Win it All

Clemson opened up as the favorite to win the national championship in the spring, and the Tigers have become an even larger favorite as we close in on an uncertain college football season.
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If you're looking for evidence of how volatile the 2020 college football season is, look at sports betting. 

Look at websites or Las Vegas sportsbooks and you won't find nearly the amount of wagering options and prop bets to get your money down on. With the Big Ten and Pac-12 announcing their intentions last week of playing conference-only games, and the SEC, ACC and Big 12 still contemplating their next move, oddsmakers have adjusted. 

At one point earlier this summer, you could bet on nearly every Power 5 contest, including non-conference games. There were options for which team would win each conference. Heisman Trophy odds were everywhere, and sportsbooks were putting up about anything they could to attract bettors at a time when there were no sports. 

Now in late July, with there still be uncertainty about a college football season at all, much of that has dried up. once offered dozens and dozens of 2020 games. Go there now and you'll find just one college football offer: Syracuse vs. Rutgers. That game isn't even happening anymore. 

There are no Heisman odds or national title winners to choose from. Good luck finding win totals right now. At Bovada, you can still get 72 games and national champion options, but the only conference listed is the Big Ten, and even it just has the option of "who will win the most games."

It's a bizarro time in sports betting. It's a bizarro time in sports. It's a bizarro time in this world. 

Normalcy in college football won't be obtained in 2020, and oddsmakers have adjusted and are waiting to see which models the rest of Power 5 choose. We aren't even sure what a postseason or College Football Playoff will look like, but one thing seems evident: Clemson is a popular pick to win it all.

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Clemson's ranking marks the 11th straight year the Tigers will open a season ranked in the AP Poll. In each of the previous 10 years, they have finished the year ranked in the top 15 of the final poll.

When odds first emerged back in March, the creators of such things pegged the Tigers as a +225 favorite to capture the national title, and bettors have been backing Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne since. That means you would've gotten a little over double your money if they hoisted the golden scepter in January. 

By the middle of June, that number was down to +200 in some shops. Fast forward to now and Clemson is all the way down to +150 at Draft Kings Sportsbook and on A bet of $100 will net you $150. That's not a great return on investment, but it does produce an implied probability of 40 percent. 

That's awfully high, and the betting world seems awfully high on Clemson. It's hard to find a favorite to win it all that's been in that range in recent years, much less the CFP era. Alabama was around +175 at one point in the summer of 2018, when many thought the Crimson Tide had assembled one of the best teams of all-time. 


Clemson went on to crush that squad in the CFP title game, and now the Tigers are even more favored to win it again than Alabama was that season. This doesn't mean people are believing Clemson will necessarily be one of the legendary teams of this generation, but it could speak to the uncertainty that is college football. When in doubt, go with what you know the most, which is that the Tigers have won two of the last four titles and have been to five consecutive playoffs. 

Dabo Swinney has a factory of talent being produced and a conducive-to-winning schedule for making a run to the postseason. The ACC should be better than the last two years, but Clemson is still the class of the league and it's not even close. People are getting behind that, especially not knowing what will get teams into the CFP. Clemson feels like a reasonable bet.  

The closest team to the Tigers this year is another popular pick to win it all: Ohio State. The Buckeyes, who are ranked No. 1 by some experts, are not far behind Clemson at +275. There's a short dropoff after that with Alabama being +400, followed by Georgia at +1200 and defending champ LSU at +2000.

In Heisman odd, Ohio State QB Justin Fields has separated himself from Lawrence a tad more. Fields opened as a +350 favorite with Lawrence right behind at +400. According to, Lawrence has moved to +500 to win college football's top honor.