Sportsbooks are offering a wide-ranging menu of college football future wagers, on everything from the eventual national title winner to who will hoist the Heisman Trophy.
But at least one outlet also is giving customers a chance at "two-way" betting for each team's fortunes. In other words, you can bet on or against a team's potential in the upcoming season.
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Bovada is offering odds on whether clubs will or won't reach the four-team playoff. After scouring the choices, here are my top five recommendations:
Will Florida State make the four-team playoff?
Yes, +140 (risk $100 to win $140)
No, -180 (risk $180 to win $100)
Based on their price, the Seminoles are among the favorites to reach the playoffs, but I think this club has a couple of major concerns. For one, in what rates to be a down year for ACC, I?m not sure its champion is necessarily guaranteed a spot in the postseason. Moreover, I'm not certain the champion will be Florida State.
Quarterback Deondre Francois is great, but the Seminoles lost a ton of offensive weapons, led by Dalvin Cook, and a sometimes-leaky defense remains a concern.
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Will USC make the four-team playoff?
Heisman front-runner Sam Darnold and the Trojans are getting a ton of hype, based mostly on their dynamic run to end last season. But I think this is a relatively cheap price to bet against them making the playoffs. Just one slip-up, against persistent nemesis Stanford in Week 2, or perhaps rival UCLA in the regular-season finale, would likely prevent USC from reaching the Pac-12 title game.
There?s little chance any team other than the champion will receive an invitation. When you factor in the Trojans' notorious reputation or failing to meet high expectations, this presents an easy fade opportunity for the price.
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Will Ohio State make the four-team playoff?
Last season, the Buckeyes reached the playoffs despite missing the Big 10 title game because of their loss to Penn State. Led by senior quarterback J.T. Barrett, I think this team will be improved and has a chance to run the table in the regular season because of a relatively favorable schedule.
Coach Urban Meyer?s club is in a strong position to return to the postseason, and the plus-money overlay in backing them to do so is simply too good of a deal to pass up.
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Will Washington make the four-team playoff?
I believe the Huskies present a favorable, contrasting position from that of USC. They are similarly loaded with talent, with a Heisman candidate of their own in quarterback Jake Browning and powerful running back Myles Gaskin.
They gained invaluable experience by reaching last year's playoffs, and are led by one of the country's top coaches in Chris Petersen. Washington has a favorable schedule that avoids USC, which provided its lone defeat last year, in the regular season. The Pac-12 title game would be the sole opportunity for the Huskies and Trojans to meet.
Will Oklahoma State make the four-team playoff?
Although I'd admittedly like a little better price on the Cowboys, I still think they are a viable underdog to reach the four-team playoff.
Coach Mike Gundy's team should have a lethal offense behind senior quarterback Mason Rudolph, and the Cowboys also made significant strides on defense last season. Rival Oklahoma will be in a transitional phase because of the sudden retirement of Bob Stoops, opening a window for Oklahoma State to claim the Big 12 title. If the Cowboys do so, they will be difficult to keep out of the postseason.