Oddsmakers' College Football Top 4
It's already Week 9 of the college football season and soon enough, a playoff committee will be ranking its top four.
As of right now, which four teams do oddsmakers favor the most to win the national championship? Here are one sportsbook's top 4.
1. Alabama Crimson Tide
Not surprisingly, Nick Saban's program is atop the list of teams that could win the national championship this season. According to oddsmakers from online sports book Bovada.lv, the Crimson Tide is a 5/6 favorite to win it all this season. Junior running back Damien Harris has been a beast this season. He's averaging 8.6 yards per carry, which ranks No. 6 in the FBS and more than half of his runs have gone for 5-plus yards according to ESPN.com. Harris is the only running back in the top-30 of rushing yards with fewer than 100 carries. He's rushed for 10-plus yards 17 times out of 91 attempts and scored a touchdown on 12 percent of his carries, which is incredible.
2. Ohio State
Despite having lost a game this season (unlike Big Ten foe Penn State, which remains undefeated), the Buckeyes have the next-best odds behind Alabama to win this year's national championship. Ohio State is 9/2 to win it all this season, although Urban Meyer's team could watch their playoff hopes evaporate with a loss this Saturday to Penn State, which is next on our list. One reason OSU has gotten hot since its Week 2 loss to Oklahoma is quarterback J.T. Barrett. The redshirt senior completed 27-of-33 passes for 325 yards and five touchdowns while rushing for 48 yards and two additional scores in Week 7's 56-14 win over Nebraska. Barrett has now accounted for at least three touchdowns in every game this season and a stellar 25 total scores in seven games.
3. Penn State
In terms of the national championship odds,the Nittany Lions could find themselves ranked behind Alabama this time next week. That's because Penn State will have an opportunity to beat Ohio State on Saturday and leap-frog the Buckeyes in the eyes of oddsmakers. Penn State is currently 7/1 to win the national championship. The Nittany Lions have one of the nation's best players in running back Saquon Barkley, who put on a show last Saturday versus Michigan. Barkley ran for 108 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries, plus caught three passes for 53 yards and another score in the Nittany Lions' 42-13 demolishing of Michigan. Penn State is currently a 6.5-point underdog at Ohio State this Saturday.
4. Clemson Tigers
Despite losing two weeks ago to Syracuse, Clemson remains in the top 4 to win the national championship. (The Tigers and Georgia actually have the same odds at 10/1, respectively.) The big question heading into this week's matchup with Georgia Tech is the health status of junior quarterback Kelly Bryant, who was knocked out of Clemson's loss to Syracuse two weeks ago. Bryant has been cleared to play against the Yellow Jackets after going through concussion protocol. Already with a loss on its resume, Clemson can ill-afford to lose another game the rest of the way. As of this writing, 68% of public bettors are backing Georgia Tech in Saturday's matchup.