BetOnline released look-ahead lines for potential College Football Playoff matchups on Saturday.
It’s possible to wager money on those lines, but they’ll be graded as no contest (and your money returned) if they don’t ever take place.
The College Football Playoff committee slotted Alabama at No. 1 in its initial rankings prior to the Iron Bowl, which the Tide won 42-13. Alabama also is the consensus No. 1 in the AP Top 25.
So it isn’t surprising that BetOnline installed Alabama as a favorite against the other three programs that rank in the top four in the College Football Playoff rankings:
- Alabama -4 vs. Ohio State
- Alabama -6.5 vs. Clemson
- Alabama -10.5 vs. Notre Dame
BetOnline posted odds for three other potential College Football Playoff title games:
- Ohio State -1.5 vs. Clemson
- Ohio State -6 vs. Notre Dame
- Clemson -5 vs. Notre Dame
As of Sunday evening, Alabama (-28 at LSU), Notre Dame (-33 vs. Syracuse), Clemson (-21.5 at Virginia Tech) and Ohio State (-22.5 at Michigan State) were all heavy favorites this week.
The presumptive SEC and ACC championship games should have a big impact on the final College Football Playoff selection. It seems like No. 1 Alabama will play No. 6 Florida and No. 3 Clemson will get a rematch with No. 2 Notre Dame.
But the drama unfolding in Columbus, Ohio, may be just as significant.
Undefeated Ohio State keeps losing opportunities
According to the BetOnline oddsmakers, Ohio State is the second-best team in college football, 1.5 points better than Clemson.
Quarterback Justin Fields has completed 79.6 percent of his passes, leading an offense that averages 45.3 points per game against Big Ten competition.
However, Ohio State didn’t play its first game until Oct. 24, the opening weekend for the Big Ten due to COVID-related decisions by the conference.
Compounding the issue, COVID-19 canceled Ohio State’s games at Maryland (Nov. 14) and at Illinois (Nov. 28). Ohio State’s game at Michigan State presumably is in jeopardy this week as the Buckeyes continue to deal with a COVID outbreak.
According to Big Ten rules, a team must play at least six games in order to qualify for the conference title game.
There are loopholes that involve a number of canceled games by other teams in the conference. But Ohio State may need to play Michigan State and Michigan in the next two weeks in order to have a chance at a conference championship win.
If the Buckeyes are unable to play the Spartans, they could be sitting at 5-0 in two weeks.
It’s hard to predict what will happen from there. Perhaps that would still be a strong enough resume to justify keeping Ohio State in the four-team field ahead of a one-loss Texas A&M or an unbeaten Cincinnati.
In any event, another Ohio State cancelation will make it more likely that the Buckeyes get the No. 4 seed in the College Football Playoff.
Alabama almost certainly will get the No. 1 overall seed if the Tide win