All conference championship odds listed are as of 11/03/2021.
We’re entering college football’s craziest month, which makes now a perfect time to go value shopping for strong futures plays in each conference championship race.
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Here’s a quick glimpse at the top contenders (and some dark horses) in each P5 conference.
Current conference championship odds favorite: Pittsburgh +120
Sleeper pick: NC State +400
It’s been bizarro world in the ACC this year—Clemson has one of the worst offenses in the country, Pitt has a legitimate Heisman contender, and Wake Forest is averaging nearly 44 points per game.
But lurking quietly behind the Demon Deacons in the ACC Atlantic race is another unlikely contender in NC State. The Wolfpack’s top 10 scoring defense might be the key to finally breaking Wake on November 13, giving them a clear path to challenge (probably) Pitt for the title in Charlotte.
Current favorite: Ohio State -270
Sleeper pick: Michigan State +1000
The Penn State game aside, Ohio State seems to be operating on a different planet most weeks, and that level of otherworldly talent always makes them difficult to pick against. Before their big finish to the regular season against Michigan State and at Michigan, the East-leading Bucks play what should be two tune-ups against Nebraska and Purdue.
Assuming they continue to roll, it’s anyone’s guess as to who their B1G title game opponent from the West could be. Minnesota currently controls its own destiny, although the Gophers still have coin-flip tilts against Iowa and Wisconsin (two teams also still in the hunt) coming up, making anyone from the West a risky bet at this time.
Current favorite: Oklahoma -250
Sleeper pick: Baylor +350
Somehow-still-undefeated Oklahoma has been teetering on collapse most of the year. Right behind them in the standings is Oklahoma State, who is undoubtedly licking their chops at possibly getting their first Bedlam win in seven years at the end of the month.
But first the Sooners will have to reckon with Baylor on November 13. The Bears have just one conference loss, and boast an offense almost as productive as Oklahoma’s and an even much better defense. There’s a chance they’d have a rematch with Oklahoma in the conference title game, but the Bears could be worth a play if you think the Sooners have been playing on borrowed time.
Current favorite: Oregon -105
Sleeper pick: Washington State +6000
After suffering a rash of injuries in early October, Oregon has been limping along with their Pac-12 North lead and face quite the four-game slate to finish the regular season: at Washington, vs. Washington State (see below), at South division leaders Utah, and home against in-state rivals and surprisingly competent Oregon State. If the Ducks’ current inability to put away lesser-on-paper opponents continues, they may be looking at one to two more losses.
And who to take advantage of all that in the race for the North? Consider Washington State, who celebrated the firing of head coach Nick Rolovich by smacking down a respectable Arizona State team. And unlike Oregon, the Cougs have to survive just three more regular-season games—if they can outlast the Ducks, a winless Arizona team, and rivals Washington, they’ll likely get a rematch with Utah, who they played close in a September loss.
Current favorite: Georgia -165
Sleeper pick: Can Alabama (+135) be a darkhorse?
Even with four regular-season games left, Georgia is through the toughest part of their schedule. If anyone has a prayer of beating them, it might just be…themselves.
Although it looks like anything could happen in this year’s Iron Bowl, a UGA-Bama SEC Championship matchup would be an epic reversal of roles—it’s been UGA that has looked inhuman whereas we have uncharacteristically seen Alabama bleed multiple times this year. But until they prove they can do it (to themselves, their fanbase, and the betting public), Georgia will always have an elephant wearing a crimson sweater on its back to contend with.
For both conference chmpionship odds’ and history’s sake, bet on the Dawgs with caution to win the SEC–however they might be a better National Championship bet since they likely could drop a game and still make the playoff.