Here’s why one oddsmaker gives Michigan better 2018-2019 College Football Playoff title odds than Penn State


Offshore gambling website Bovada was one of a few shops to release 2018-2019 College Football Playoff title odds either directly before or immediately after Alabama won the 2017-2018 crown on Monday night.

The Crimson Tide were logically the favorite, and power programs like Clemson, Georgia, and Ohio State filled in right behind them.

That the above quartet came ahead of James Franklin’s Penn State Nittany Lions was hardly a surprise, and to those that follow the markets and historical betting trends, it was not shocking to see Michigan (9-to-1) listed ahead of the Lions (11-to-1), either.

Many blue and white supporters reacted the opposite way, though, as they were quick to point out that Jim Harbaugh’s tenure is not exactly off to a roaring start in Ann Arbor while Franklin has already led the Lions to two New Year’s Six bowls (wand one win), a Big Ten title, and back-to-back better conference finishes than the Wolverines.

All of that is beside the point when projecting the future, though. Noting what Penn State loses (Saquon Barkley, DaeSean Hamilton, Mike Gesicki, Marcus Allen, Jason Cabinda, Joe Moorhead, etc.) and what Michigan has coming back (nine starters on defense and eight on offense, plus perhaps immediate eligibility for Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson) pales in comparison to the bookmaker’s goal of limiting liability (meaning, what needs to be paid out) and spreading out the betting public’s money evenly so that the bookmaker earns a profit in the end. It’s not to say those things aren’t a factor, but rather to point out that it’s more is at work besides returners, departures, past success, schedule set-up, and so on. 

Asked on Tuesday why the Wolverines sit ahead of the Lions despite a handful of way-too-early top-25s placing PSU ahead of Michigan, SportsBook Manager Kevin Bradley explained it like this:

“It’s never an exact science putting up odds for next season the day after the Championship has been decided, but the simple answer here is they are probably on par but Michigan has a very large public betting following and from my experience we will end up getting bet on them more than PSU.  So it’s a bit of bookmaker bias here.”

Translation: It will likely cost more to bookmakers if Michigan wins the title than if Penn State does, and so the lower the odds, the lower the payout when all is said and done. Keep that in mind as conference odds are announced and win totals are projected leading up to the 2018 season.

Here’s Bovada’s full odds rundown courtesy of it and Props PR:

Odds to Win the 2019 CFP National Championship

Alabama                       11/4

Clemson                       6/1

Georgia                        15/2

Ohio State                    15/2

Michigan                       9/1

Penn State                    11/1

Oklahoma                     18/1

Auburn                          20/1

Texas                           20/1

Miami Florida                22/1

Wisconsin                     22/1

LSU                              25/1

Michigan State              25/1

Washington                   28/1

Florida State                 33/1

Notre Dame                  33/1

Stanford                       33/1

Texas A&M                   33/1

USC                             33/1

Virginia Tech                 33/1

West Virginia                 33/1

Florida                          50/1

Oregon                         50/1

TCU                              50/1

UCLA                            75/1

Arizona                         100/1

Boise State                   100/1

Kansas State                100/1

Mississippi State           100/1

Missouri                        100/1

NC State                       100/1

Oklahoma State            100/1

Central Florida               100/1

Utah                             100/1

Wake Forest                 100/1

Iowa                             150/1

Nebraska                      150/1

Northwestern                 150/1

South Carolina              150/1

Washington State          150/1

Memphis                       250/1

Minnesota                     250/1

Purdue                          250/1

Syracuse                      250/1

Tennessee                    250/1

Arizona State                500/1

Arkansas                      500/1 

Baylor                           500/1

Boston College             500/1 

BYU                             500/1

California                      500/1 

Duke                            500/1

Florida Atlantic              500/1 

Fresno State                 500/1 

Georgia Tech                500/1 

Houston U                    500/1 

Illinois                           500/1 

Indiana                          500/1 

Kansas                         500/1 

Kentucky                      500/1 

Maryland                       500/1 

Nevada                         500/1 

North Carolina               500/1 

Mississippi                   500/1 

Oregon State                500/1 

Pittsburgh                     500/1 

Rutgers                         500/1 

San Diego State            500/1 

South Florida                500/1 

Texas Tech                   500/1 

UNLV                            500/1 

Utah State                     500/1 

Vanderbilt                     500/1 

Virginia                         500/1

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