The 2020 College Football Playoff is over. It’s time for preparations for the 2021 version to begin and in Indiana, that means looking at the 2021 college football championship betting futures.
Three of the four current online sportsbooks in the Hoosier State offer such bets. At one of those, the field of contenders is far deeper but all three have two teams local to Indiana among their top contenders.
2021 college football championship futures favor Ohio State
Although other operators like PointsBet will soon join the fray, Indiana’s legal sportsbooks currently offering odds on next year’s playoff are BetRivers, DraftKings, and FanDuel. BetAmerica did not have any lines on the next college football championship as of Tuesday morning.
The odds at BetRivers and DraftKings are almost identical. Both books have the Ohio State Buckeyes alongside the Clemson Tigers as a co-favorite for 2021. The line currently sits at +250.
A little further down the list, bettors will find the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Notre Dame is currently slated at +2,500. Only five teams have shorter odds than the Irish right now.
The only other team of local interest in the field for these two books is the Michigan Wolverines. Both books boast a line of +6,600 on Michigan.
FanDuel stands out from its two competitors not only in terms of a better line on Ohio State but the depth of its field as well. That book has the Buckeyes +350 to win the title next year.
While FanDuel’s line on Notre Dame isn’t as attractive (+2,000), the book makes up for that with a much deeper array of available teams. FanDuel includes a total of 13 teams that call Indiana or an adjacent state home.
The rest of FanDuel’s field as of Tuesday morning is as follows:
It’s very early in the process of predicting a favorite for next season. There are many variables that could shift these odds significantly.
Some football players could still go pro or transfer
In the next few weeks, players from these schools who haven’t yet exhausted their NCAA eligibility but are eligible for the NFL draft have a decision to make. Some players, like former Notre Dame safety Alohi Gilman, have already declared for the draft.
Rosters could not only change based on graduation and players leaving for the draft but transfers as well. The 2020 Playoff featured three quarterbacks who transferred to their programs, so these moves can have a lot of impact on futures odds as they happen.
Players aren’t the only people whose decisions affect the lines. Movements in coaching staffs will cause odds to shift as well.
A final factor that will affect lines tremendously is scheduling. As personnel changes happen, those moves impact the futures for not only the teams which see those alterations but every team they are scheduled to play next season as well.
For example, the Fighting Irish play Boston College every year. Eagles quarterback Anthony Brown is a possible transfer candidate and if he does so, that could hurt the perception of Notre Dame’s strength of schedule (SOS).
SOS is a big consideration for the College Football Playoff Committee. Even if the Irish win all their games next season, if the committee sees Notre Dame’s schedule as too soft, they may pass on the Fighting Irish for the 2021 Playoff.
While it’s far too early to get a real sense of which teams are the frontrunners for next year’s title, Indiana’s legal sportsbooks have action for anyone who wants to get in now. The risk of waiting to see how the offseason pans out is that the line on teams like Ohio State may be at their best right now.