Playoff Odds (09/01/15)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
Odds to make the College Football Playoff. Odds courtesy of

The 2015 college football campaign kicks off Thursday. On the cusp of another season we take one last look at the odds to make the second College Football Playoff.

Ohio State, the defending national champion, made history by becoming the first unanimous preseason No. 1 ever in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll. The Buckeyes have been the favorites to repeat and their odds have only gotten stronger, moving from -250 to -350, as the season approached.

The SEC placed eight teams in the AP Top 25. Seven of those teams have odds to make the College Football Playoff. Missouri, the two-time defending SEC East champion, does not have odds to be included in the postseason.

According to the oddsmakers, the most likely playoff includes Ohio State (-350), Alabama (+170), TCU (+170) and Florida State (+250). According to our College Football Preview the most likely playoff will include Ohio State, TCU, Auburn and USC even though the top four in our Power Rankings are Ohio State, Alabama, Baylor and TCU. The reason for this is that Auburn, TCU and USC host Alabama, Baylor and UCLA/Notre Dame respectively. The location of some of the key games this season will directly impact the likely postseason teams.

Seven new teams have odds to make the four-team playoff. Ole Miss (+900) and Arkansas (+1000) have the strongest odds to play past the regular season.

The biggest longshot on the board is Boise State. The Broncos are the only team outside the Power 5 conferences, not including Notre Dame, to have playoff odds.

Will two teams from the same conference be in the College Football Playoff?
  • Yes: +300
  • No: -500

Baylor and TCU both rank in our top four and if the postseason started today they would have a strong argument for inclusion. However, the betting odds suggest it is unlikely one conference will send two teams the playoffs.

Will a two loss team make the College Football Playoff?
  • Yes: +170
  • No: -250

On average, in the last four years, there have been more than five teams ranked in the BCS/Playoff Committee rankings in the final week that had one or fewer losses. That's not to say a two-loss team couldn't get in but recent history and the odds suggest it won't happen.

Odds to make the College Football Playoff

Team Make Playoffs (July) Make Playoffs (September)
Alabama +175 +170
Arizona State Off The Board +1400
Arkansas Off The Board +1000
Auburn +300 +300
Baylor +400 +400
Boise State Off The Board +1600
Clemson +450 +500
Florida State +300 +250
Georgia +400 +400
Georgia Tech Off The Board +1400
LSU +550 +500
Michigan State +550 +500
Ole Miss Off The Board +900
Notre Dame +600 +500
Ohio State -250 -350
Oklahoma +800 +900
Oregon +300 +400
TCU +140 +170
Tennessee Off The Board +1400
UCLA +600 +600
USC +300 +300
Wisconsin Off The Board +1400