Is there value beyond top three?

There’s little room for dark horses in college football, where only one of the last seven champions entered the year with longer than +700 odds. Even so, it’s a historically bad year to be a long shot.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone to see Alabama (+190), Ohio State (+320), and Georgia (+350) priced as the overwhelming favorites at BetMGM to win the 2022 College Football Playoff. The shocking part is how little oddsmakers think of the rest of the field. Clemson (+1200) is the only other team dealing shorter than +2000, and only eight teams in the entire market are shorter than a +5000 long shot.

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As FiveThirtyEight’s Josh Planos broke down last week, we’ve never seen as top-heavy of a field as we have ahead of this season, particularly for the front-runner Crimson Tide. And while that doesn’t bode well for the rest of college football’s chances of cracking into the top tier, it does leave juicy prices on the rest of the field should chaos strike. And let’s be real: this is college football. Chaos will strike.

With that said, here are the current title odds for the 2022 college football season (+10000 or shorter), as well as three teams to target outside of the top-heavy trio:

Odds to win 2022 College Football Playoff (via BetMGM)

Alabama +190
Ohio State +320
Georgia +350
Clemson +1200
USC +2000
Texas A&M +2500
Notre Dame +4000
Texas +4000
Michigan +5000
Oklahoma +5000
Oregon +5000
Utah +5000
LSU +6600
Miami +6600
Arkansas +8000
Baylor +8000
Oklahoma State +8000
Penn State +8000
Wake Forest +8000
Wisconsin +8000
Arizona State +10000
Florida +10000
Mississippi +10000
Tennessee +10000
UCLA +10000
Washington +10000

Best bets, long shots to win College Football Playoff

Texas A&M (+2500)

The top three teams are clearly in a tier of their own, but Texas A&M has the talent to compete with the big boys after landing their best recruiting class of all time by 247Sports rankings.

Jimbo Fisher.
Jimbo Fisher during a Texas A&M game last season.
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This team showed its title ceiling last year, when it knocked off Alabama in early October and won eight games despite losing starting quarterback Haynes King in Week 2. He’s back to finish the job in 2022, flanked by dynamic rusher Devon Achane and one of the top defenses in the conference.

Playing in the loaded SEC is a double-edged sword for the Aggies, who will have a chance to build their playoff resume while trying to avoid landmines along the way. Still, this team is simply too talented to ignore as a +2500 long shot in what feels like a make-or-break year for the program.

Texas Longhorns (+4000)

Is Texas back? The answer, as is the case every year, is “probably not.” But this is still a great price for a team that lost five games last year by one possession and has among the highest ceilings in the country.

Quinn Ewers.
Quinn Ewers throws a pass in the Texas spring game.
Getty Images

Former top recruit Quinn Ewers – who nearly beat out current Heisman favorite CJ Stroud for the starting job at Ohio State last year – leads an offense stacked with skill-position stars, namely Heisman dark-horse running back Bijan Robinson and Xavier Worthy. This offensive line should be much improved thanks to a stellar 2022 class, and the defense can only get better after a historically bad 2021 campaign.

We’ll see what the Longhorns are made of on Sept. 10, when Alabama takes a rare non-conference road trip to Austin in a game that could spring-board Texas’ title chances. If this team loses that game, the dream is likely dead. If it wins? This price will be long gone.

Betting on Sports?

Utah Utes (+5000)

It’s been six years since the Pac-12 sent a team to the College Football Playoff, which has only happened twice since the four-team format was adopted in 2014. Could this be the year that finally changes?

Cameron Rising.
Cameron Rising runs with the ball.
Getty Images

The conference has three legitimate contenders in USC, Oregon, and Utah, though the former two enter 2022 with new head coaches and starting quarterbacks. The Utes, by comparison, return 17 starters – including all-conference quarterback Cameron Rising and running back Tavion Thomas – from a group that won the Pac 12 last year and gave Ohio State everything it could handle in a thrilling Rose Bowl.

Kyle Whittingham’s group was likely one win away from making the 2019 playoff before getting tripped up in the conference title game. This team might be even better than that one, making Utah a compelling play at long odds.

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