The college football season is going to be a little different this year. Gone will be the horribly dull and boring blowouts of FCS teams by FBS powerhouses and other uneven matchups. We will not see as many games from our favorite teams. But we will have football, and that is what matters.

With the Coach’s Poll coming out, we now know for sure where everyone stands. There were no real surprises, of course. Now, where they start and where they finish are often two different things. But with the CFB national championship, the winner is rarely a surprise.

The odds, according to WilliamHill.com, are as follows:

  • Clemson Tigers +250
  • Ohio State Buckeyes +320
  • Alabama Crimson Tide +500
  • Georgia Bulldogs                 +800
  • LSU Tigers                 +1000
  • Oklahoma Sooners +1800
  • Florida Gators                  +2000
  • Oregon Ducks, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Auburn Tigers +3000
  • Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Longhorns, Penn State Nittany Lions +4000
  • Michigan Wolverines, Wisconsin Badgers, USC Trojans                  +5000
  • Miami (FL) Hurricanes, Oklahoma State Cowboys                 +6000
  • Utah Utes, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Washington Huskies, Iowa Hawkeyes +10000
  • Minnesota Golden Gophers, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Florida State Seminoles, Baylor Bears, Tennessee Volunteers +15000

If you really want to roll the dice and go with one of the teams with odds of +20000 or longer, check out the selection at WilliamHill.com. But if you’re going to throw away your money, there are better ways to do it.

It is not hard, of course, to figure out who the frontrunners are. They are the same guys as the last several seasons. With the rosters returning to Clemson and Ohio State, it would not be shocking to see them facing off for the title at the end of the season.

So, yeah—those two are your safe bets. But the team with the shortest preseason odds does not always win the national championship. Occasionally, you get a surprise winner emerging from the pack. But it is usually a team with at least reasonable odds if not great ones.

With that in mind, which teams could pull it off? Is there an LSU in the group this year? Who has value?

Alabama is the first team that comes to mind. The Crimson Tide are always in the hunt, and prior to last season, had been in every college football playoff. Yes, they have holes to fill thanks to graduation and the NFL. But they have an excellent offensive line returning, a Heisman-caliber running back, a good quarterback, and a strong defense.

The odds for Alabama are never going to be longer than they are now. So, if you are going to take the Crimson Tide, take them now.

As for some of the other top teams, there are too many questions about Georgia. LSU lost too many starters, as did Oklahoma. Florida has the potential, but Dan Mullen will need to get a lot more out of Kyle Trask this year.

Notre Dame could make a case by winning the ACC and handing Clemson a rare regular-season loss. Penn State could potentially make a run if they can make it past Michigan and Ohio State.

So—how should you bet?

Playing it safe is boring. Take advantage of the preseason odds on Alabama and roll with the Tide. If you want a longshot to roll the dice on, take Penn State. They looked good last season, and if they can improve this year, they could make a run.

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