Clemson failed in its bid to win back-to-back national championships on Monday, but oddsmakers still favor the Tigers to dominate college football next season.
The first 2020 national championship odds were released just hours after LSU defeated Clemson 42-25 to win the 2019 College Football Playoff championship, and Clemson is universally seen as the team to beat.
Lawrence Returns to Clemson in 2020
FanDuel Sportsbook lists Clemson as the +200 top choice to win a title next season, ahead of Ohio State (+400). Perennial favorite Alabama is next on the board at +550, while SEC powerhouse Georgia is at +1000. LSU is fifth on the board at +1200.
The long odds on LSU reflect how much change is expected heading into the 2020 season. The defending champions will lose Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow, which could be one of the most dramatic losses a team has faced in years. The quarterback threw for a record 60 touchdown passes this year, including five in the title game, and seven against Oklahoma in the semifinal. Burrow is widely expected to be the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Conversely, Clemson keeps its biggest star for another run. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence – a potential No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft – will be back once more before likely turning professional. Lawrence has already won one national championship with Clemson, when the Tigers beat Alabama 44-16 in last season’s title game.
Starting quarterback Justin Fields will remain at Ohio State for 2020. That’s enough to keep the Buckeyes near the top of the pack, according to bookmakers. Ohio State and Clemson finished the regular season ranked No. 2 and No. 3 in the country, making them obvious favorites heading into next season.
2020 National Championship Odds
- Clemson: +200
- Ohio State: +400
- Alabama +550
- Georgia: +1000
- LSU: +1200
Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
The odds lengthen quickly after those top five teams. Notre Dame comes in sixth at +2000, followed by Florida (+2500), Texas (+2500), and USC (+2500). Oklahoma, which lost to LSU in the national semifinals, comes in at +3000, as do Texas A&M and Wisconsin. FanDuel has all other teams at +5000 or longer.
DraftKings Taps Ohio State as Co-Favorite
Other sportsbooks offered similar opening odds.
ICYMI earlier this evening…
HOT OFF THE PRESSES from @SuperBookUSA!!!
— Covers (@Covers) January 14, 2020
At the Westgate SuperBook Las Vegas, Clemson is a 9/4 favorite, ahead of Ohio State (3/1), Alabama (6/1), Georgia (8/1), and LSU (8/1). DraftKings bucked the trend slightly, posting both Clemson and Ohio State as +250 co-favorites ahead of LSU (+600), with the defending champs given slightly shorter odds than Alabama (+700) and Georgia (+800).
There’s good reason for oddsmakers to favor those five teams over the rest of the nation. Alabama and Clemson have won four of the six titles in the College Football Playoff era, with LSU and Ohio State accounting for the other two. Georgia has only made the playoff once – losing the 2018 title game to Alabama in overtime – but the Bulldogs have proven themselves to be a perennial contender.
Oklahoma has also made the playoffs four times, but has never won a semifinal game, a record that has earned the Sooners less respect with the oddsmakers. Other former playoff participants are also getting less respect, with FanDuel offering long odds on Oregon (+8000), Florida State (+10000), Washington (+10000), and Michigan State (+15000) making championship runs.