2015 Preseason College Football Playoff Odds Are Up, Ohio State Favored to Repeat

The clock is ticking, as we officially rolled under the "four weeks until the season starts" mark for college football on Thursday night. For you diehard college football fans, YES, that was the tremor that you felt in the Force last night. The opening weekend's schedule is dotted with a bunch of directional schools getting beat down by their respective State U's, and a few marquee matchups — A&M-Arizona State, Notre Dame-Texas, Alabama-Wisconsin — that are all on television at the exact same time, because TV executives hate us. 

So the first weekend is far from perfect, and yet it's beautifully perfect because college football will be back in our lives for the subsequent five months. It also means that college football betting will be back in our lives. Over the next few weeks, I'll examine some of the season win totals to unearth some lucrative nuggets for us.

In the meantime, we get started with futures bets on the College Football Playoff and the conference titles, the appetizer in the gambling feast that is College Football 2015. Courtesy of Bovada, here are those odds, with my comments on the teams in BOLD in the section on the FBS Championship odds:

Odds to win the 2015-2016 College Football FBS Championship
(1) Ohio State 11/4
(1) Alabama 7/1

TCU 7/1
(2) Auburn 9/1
USC 16/1
Baylor 20/1
Michigan State 20/1
Notre Dame 20/1
Clemson 22/1
Oregon 22/1
Florida State 25/1
(3) Georgia 28/1
(3) LSU 28/1
(3) Oklahoma 28/1

Stanford 33/1
UCLA 40/1
(4) Arkansas 50/1
(5) Michigan 50/1
Mississippi 50/1
Tennessee 50/1
Texas A&M 50/1
Georgia Tech 75/1
Arizona State 100/1
Florida 100/1
Kansas State 100/1
Mississippi State 100/1
Nebraska 100/1
Oklahoma State 100/1
Penn State 100/1
Texas 100/1
Virginia Tech 100/1
Wisconsin 100/1
Arizona 150/1
(6) Boise State 150/1
(6) Louisville 150/1
Miami 150/1
Missouri 150/1
South Carolina 150/1
BYU 250/1
Utah 250/1
North Carolina 300/1
West Virginia 300/1
Boston College 500/1
California 500/1
UCF 500/1
Cincinnati 500/1
Duke 500/1
Iowa 500/1
Marshall 500/1
Maryland 500/1
Minnesota 500/1
Northwestern 500/1
Oregon State 500/1
Pittsburgh 500/1
Rutgers 500/1
South Florida 500/1
(7) Texas Tech 500/1
(7) Washington 500/1

1. An odds board with Alabama at No. 2 overall, which in Nick Saban's mind is like the Crimson Tide getting saddled with 100/1 odds to win the whole thing. In the Big Ten and with one national title under his belt in Columbus, Urban Meyer is on the cusp of a run that could cement him as the greatest college football coach of the modern era. 

2. How do you define "respect"? You're replacing a senior quarterback, play in the same division as Alabama and you're still 9/1 to win the national championship. Gus Malzahn is a beast. 

3. Three schools at 28/1 with decade-plus tenured head coaches, all of whom enter the season with seats that are a bit toasty. The odds say that one of these three will be in full-on "scalding-hot seat" mode after the season is over. If karma matters, it'll be Les Miles.

4. My kinda-sorta sneaky play at 50/1 is Arkansas. They finished last season on a high note (Bret Bielema would say a "borderline erotic" note) with a shutout of Texas in the Texas Bowl, and they were competitive in every game last season. They're also in the one division where sustaining a loss isn't the end of the world. 

5. Apparently, people are loading up on Michigan bets in the sportsbooks in Vegas. Because people are stupid. 

6. My kinda-sorta-super-duper sneaky plays are Boise State and Louisville at 150/1, betting on these two corollaries for long shots coming in — undefeated team from a weak sister conference (Boise) and system coach who will win or die trying (Louisville). 

7. Remember when Chris Peterson and Kliff Kingsbury were America's darlings as hot coaching candidates? Yeah, not that long ago. Both have teams at 500/1. 

Conference Championship Odds
NCAA Football 2015 Season - Odds to win the AAC Championship Game

Cincinnati 2/1
Memphis 11/5
Houston 9/2
Central Florida 13/2
Navy 8/1
Temple 9/1
East Carolina 10/1
South Florida 66/1
Tulsa 100/1
SMU 200/1
Tulane 200/1
UConn 200/1

COMMENT: I'll be honest, I didn't even know that the AAC was having a title game this season, but now that I count the number of teams —- …9, 10, 11, 12, yep —- they have 12 teams so LET THE PARTY BEGIN! Also, if UConn head coach Bob Diaco doesn't have some underground action on his squad at 200/1, then he's a big phony!

NCAA Football 2015 Season - Odds to win the ACC Championship Game
Clemson 2/1
Florida State 5/2
Georgia Tech 5/1
Louisville 9/1
Virginia Tech 9/1
Miami 12/1
North Carolina 12/1
Pittsburgh 12/1
NC State 20/1
Duke 50/1
Boston College 200/1
Syracuse 200/1
Virginia 200/1
Wake Forest 200/1

COMMENT: Really weird seeing a team other than Florida State atop the ACC odds board, but nearly as weird as two adults named "Dabo" and "Jimbo" holding prominent positions of leadership at their respective universities. 

NCAA Football 2015 Season - Odds to win the Big 12 Championship
TCU 8/5
Baylor 5/2
Oklahoma 5/1
Oklahoma State 7/1
Texas 10/1
Kansas State 12/1
Texas Tech 20/1
West Virginia 20/1
Iowa State 33/1
Kansas 300/1

COMMENT: "One true champion," that was the motto last season. So naturally TCU and Baylor tied and were declared co-champions. Because Big XII...

NCAA Football 2015 Season - Odds to win the Big Ten Championship Game
Ohio State 1/3
Michigan State 15/2
Wisconsin 15/2
Nebraska 10/1
Michigan 16/1
Iowa 25/1
Penn State 25/1
Minnesota 28/1
Northwestern 50/1
Illinois 100/1
Indiana 100/1
Maryland 100/1
Purdue 300/1
Rutgers 300/1

COMMENT: If we feel like the Big Ten championship is essentially going to come down to the Michigan State-Ohio State game (in Columbus), then isn't the equivalent of +750 to win the conference great value for Michigan State? Basically, you're getting them at 7.5 to 1 for that game with a senior quarterback who should be prepared for this big stage.

NCAA Football 2015 Season - Odds to win the Conference USA Championship Game
Marshall 5/4
Louisiana Tech 13/5
Western Kentucky 11/4
Rice 8/1
Middle Tennessee 10/1
UTEP 33/1
FAU 40/1
FIU 50/1
Southern Miss 50/1
North Texas 100/1
Old Dominion 100/1
Charlotte 300/1
UTSA 300/1

COMMENT: With a senior quarterback returning, an out-of-conference schedule that includes Texas and Baylor (good "get us ready for conference play" games), and a 24-9 record in their last 33 games, Rice feels like a live play at 8/1. David Bailiff's teams typically get stronger as the season goes on, too, so if they find their way into the C-USA title game, you feel good about at least a hedge opportunity. 

NCAA Football 2015 Season - Odds to win the Pac 12 Championship Game
USC 2/1
Oregon 12/5
Stanford 7/2
UCLA 7/2
Arizona State 9/1
Arizona 20/1
Utah 33/1
California 40/1
Colorado 200/1
Oregon State 33/1
Washington 200/1
Washington State 200/1

COMMENT: I have no idea what to think in the post-Mariota world in the Pac 12. Am I really only getting +200 to bet on a team coached by Steve Sarkisian?

NCAA Football 2015 Season - Odds to win the SEC Championship
Alabama 2/1
Auburn 11/4
Georgia 11/2
Ole Miss 9/1
Arkansas 10/1
LSU 10/1
Tennessee 12/1
Texas A&M 18/1
Missouri 20/1
Florida 33/1
South Carolina 33/1
Mississippi State 40/1
Kentucky 100/1
Vanderbilt 500/1

NCAA Football 2015 Season - Odds to win the SEC East Division
Georgia 8/5
South Carolina 8/5
Florida 13/4
Missouri 10/1
Tennessee 14/1
Kentucky 50/1
Vanderbilt 50/1

NCAA Football 2015 Season - Odds to win the SEC West Division
Alabama 5/7
Auburn 4/1
LSU 5/1
Ole Miss 9/1
Texas A&M 14/1
Mississippi State 16/1
Arkansas 33/1

COMMENT: So Arkansas is 10/1 to win the conference but 33/1 to win its division? Seems to be a glitch in the matrix. 

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast.

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