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Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, Clemson favorites to make CFP

Alabama and Ohio State are -280 co-favorites at Caesars Sportsbook to make the College Football Playoff this season.

On the flip side, the Crimson Tide and Buckeyes are +225 to miss the playoff at Caesars, which posted yes/no odds on 17 teams to make the CFP.

Defending national champion Georgia is the only other team favored to make the CFP at -120. No is -110.

Alabama is the +180 favorite to win the national title, followed by Ohio State at 3-1 and Georgia at +425.

“The lack of action on Georgia to win the title compared to Alabama and Ohio State shaped their odds to make the playoff,” Caesars lead college football trader Joseph Feazel said. “That’s why you’re seeing Georgia at a much lower price for this than those two. That -120 on ‘yes’ definitely stands out compared to Alabama and Ohio State both at -280. I expect to see some ‘yes’ action on Georgia in the next few weeks.”

Alabama has reached seven of the first eight CFPs. Ohio State has made four and Georgia two.

Clemson had reached six straight CFPs before missing last season’s playoff. The Tigers are the +150 fourth pick to return to the CFP and the 10-1 fourth choice to win the national title.

“Clemson wasn’t getting anything for national title or conference,” Feazel said. “But they’ve been getting more and more lately.”

Pac-12 contenders

A Pac-12 team hasn’t made the CFP since Washington in 2017. Utah is a 4-1 shot to make the playoff (no is -550), and Southern California is +425 (no is -600).

The Utes and Trojans are +210 co-favorites at Caesars to win the Pac-12 title game. But USC has much lower odds to win the national title, at 22-1, than 40-1 long shot Utah.

“Bettors have definitely been betting USC to win the national title, and it hasn’t been nearly the same level for Utah,” Feazel said. “But when it comes to who’s going to win the Pac-12, we took a stand with Utah compared to the rest of the market because we think Utah is the better team.

“Utah also hosts USC this season, and USC has the toughest nonconference schedule since they play Notre Dame.”

Four other teams have odds of less than 10-1 to make the CFP — Michigan (5-1), Oklahoma (5-1), Texas (+650) and Texas A&M (+650).

Wisconsin is 10-1, and Notre Dame is 11-1. Oregon, North Carolina State and Miami (Florida) are 12-1, and Oklahoma State and Louisiana State are 14-1.

“Our bettors in Louisiana have really been pounding LSU futures,” Feazel said. “LSU is one of our biggest liabilities for the national title, same with (LSU quarterback) Myles Brennan for the Heisman. So I’d expect a lot of action on that ‘yes’ for LSU.

“I think N.C. State will get some action, too, on ‘yes,’ just with the expectations surrounding them. Miami could, too.”

William Hill contest returns

The William Hill College Pick’em football contest has returned. The guaranteed cash prizes have been reduced from $1 million to $500,000. Last year, the book had to pay $548,000 to cover an overlay after the $1,000-entry contest drew 452 entrants.

The entry fee is $1,000 for the contest, in which entrants select eight college football games against the spread for 10 weeks. Each player can have up to five entries.

The contest runs from Sept. 10 to Nov. 12. The top 10 places are paid, with first place winning 50 percent of the prize pool.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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