Predicting the playoffs is arguably the trickiest part of the college football betting season. Especially when considering that the playoffs were only introduced in 2014, so fans haven’t grown accustomed to the selection process and logistics of the tournament. But if fans knew ahead of time which teams would make the final four, then they’d have a much easier time predicting the outcomes of this year’s toughest football games. So, as things stand now, how will this year’s playoff picture shape up?
1. Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama sits at the zenith of two things; the national rankings, and the top sportsbooks’ future predictions. Sure, they may have uncertainty at the quarterback position but that hasn’t stopped them from making the playoffs the previous two years. The Crimson Tide will have to decide between junior Cooper Bateman and redshirt freshman Blake Barnett. Whoever they decide upon, Alabama can be confident that their quarterback will be throwing to a talented batch of receivers. Alabama’s 2016 schedule will put this team to the test; they have to face Mississippi, Tennessee, and LSU on the road. But fierce opposition will just give this Crimson Tide defense the opportunity to flex their muscles. Barring injuries this Alabama team should be a shoo-in for the No. 1 spot at the end of the season.
2. Clemson Tigers
Clemson and Alabama gave us a title contest so fierce last year that it silenced any critic’s questions regarding the introduction of the playoffs. Alabama ultimately came out on top 45-40 but the game will go down in history as one of the best title contests. Clemson will be eager for another shot, and unlike their counterpart, they don’t have any questions at the quarterback position. Deshaun Watson is college football betting’s favorite to take home the Heisman this year, and last year he proved more than capable of carving up the Crimson Tide defense. Watson is joined by seven other starters on offense and will be vying to make it two consecutive years with more than 4,000 yards passing and over 1,000 yards rushing. The defense has been depleted after losing most of its talent to the NFL but Clemson should be able to rebuild. Their biggest challenge will come when they play Florida State at their home in October.
3. Oklahoma Sooners
The Sooners are currently ranked No. 3 in the nation and there’s a good reason for it. Well two reasons, to be specific; Baker Mayfield and Samaje Perine. Mayfield was a force through the air scoring 36 touchdowns to only 7 interceptions. Perine backed him up all season on the ground rushing for over 1,300 yards. Oklahoma has some holes to fill on the offensive line and how their current group performs has yet to be seen. However, both of those players are talented enough to carry the load offensively, even with some poor play from the O-line. The defense will be without four all-Big 12 players but there’s enough depth on the roster to accommodate. The Sooners will be looking to make it into the playoffs for the 4th straight year.
4. Michigan Wolverines
Many questioned the Wolverines decision to hire Jim Harbaugh at the end of the 2014 season. But after a 10-3 season that included 6-2 play within the Big Ten and a 41-7 victory over the Florida Gators in the Citrus Bowl, those questions have turned to praise. Currently ranked 8th, if the Wolverines are able to win key matchups then there’s no reason Harbaugh won’t be making his collegiate playoff debut. The Wolverines are currently ranked 7th in the nation and once they start performing the college football betting odds should start showing them some love.