SEC vs. the World: Examining an interesting CFB prop bet

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You can debate the whys, but there is no doubt that the SEC is the most successful football conference in America right now. Nick Saban has elevated Alabama to the top of the sport since he arrived and on the rare occasions when the Crimson Tide does not win a national title, programs like Georgia and LSU rise up to take it.

Sure, programs like Clemson and Ohio State are stocked with NFL talent too, but the question is do you want to bet on it? Against the best?

In scouring the odds board the other day I saw an exciting prop bet for the upcoming college football season…It was Georgia/Alabama to win the championship vs. the field.

That is an interesting bet on a lot of levels, especially since it was -110 on both sides. 

The Value/Payoff

The thing I don’t like about this bet at all is the payoff. You are paying a premium on both sides and the sportsbook is going to hold your money for more than 5 months. 

That doesn’t mean the odds are wrong in terms of probability, but when it comes to a futures play I am looking for something that going to at least double my money. By comparison, five of the eight NFL divisions have better payoffs if you take the favorite to win right now, and none of those require a winning performance in a championship game.

Again, given how good Georgia and Alabama are this might be priced right but that does not necessarily make it a good bet.

The Teams

I will not go too deep on Alabama and Georgia here but both are super talented (and played in the Championship Game a year ago).

With Alabama, you have a team that might have the best offensive player (QB Bryce Young) and defensive player (LB Will Anderson) in the game. Those two are surrounded and supported by a cast of players who are mostly going to get drafted to the NFL at some point.

With Georgia, they might have peaked last year (with the championship) but the Bulldogs have continuity on offense at quarterback. Even though they lost a number of elite performers on defense, the guys that remain from last year’s unit are all first-round quality. 

Both of these teams are expected to be favored in all of their games this season (and they don’t play each other) so it is set up where they could certainly both make the playoffs, just like last season.

The Other Teams

Last year we saw a couple of “new” teams in the playoffs with Michigan and Cincinnati crashing the party. They were disposed of with relative ease by the above and are not really expected to have the goods to be involved again this season. Heading into the summer I see just a few teams that can make it to the playoffs and knock off the Dawgs or the Tide. 

Ohio State

When it comes to talent accumulation Ohio State is right there with these two teams. They have a quarterback in C.J. Stroud who might be the top pick in next year’s draft and more than enough talent on both sides of the ball to win the Big Ten like they have for most of the past decade. In the playoff era, Ohio State and Clemson are the only non-SEC teams to win it. 

Clemson

Clemson was “off” last season. After so many years of elite QB play, it fell at that most critical position and it prevented the Tigers from winning like they have in the past. The question is whether they have solved the problem or not. Their defense should be among the best in the nation, so perhaps they could follow the formula Georgia did last season. An undefeated regular season is still a likely scenario. 

USC

The buzz at USC is intense and deservedly so. With head coach Lincoln Riley and QB Caleb Williams coming from Oklahoma, the Trojans have a chance to jumpstart a rebuild in SoCal. Riley has gotten teams to the playoffs before and while they have failed against the “big boys,” getting in is half the battle. 

Texas A&M

The Aggies might be the most interesting team to consider in examining this bet right now. There is no way the SEC could get three teams into a 4 team playoff, could they? If Alabama and/or Georgia stumbles the Aggies seem like the best bet in the SEC to take the spot. They have recruited well so maybe if the offense takes a step they are ready to finally win for coach Jimbo Fisher. He has won it all before. 

Final Analysis

Getting back to the beginning of this article, I do not like the payoffs with this bet. Taking Alabama or Georgia is super chalky but the odds are saying it is as likely to happen as not. At this point on the calendar, I would rather have the flexibility of the field knowing that at least a couple of other teams will be in playoffs with a chance to knock off one team or the other. 

I would definitely hold on to this one and see if the odds change at all. As we get closer to the season you start to get more exotics, like Alabama or Clemson vs. Georgia or Ohio State (where a Cinderella winner becomes a no bet). 

I love that this is on the board, but it is the field or nothing for me right now. 





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