CFP odds: Despite big point spreads, bettors keep betting Alabama and Clemson

Frank Schwab
·3-min read

If favorites rule in the College Football Playoff semifinals, bettors will be off to a great start in 2021.

There’s a distinct and predictable trend in betting for the CFP games on Friday. Despite lines that look pretty high considering the competition, bettors cant get enough of Alabama and Clemson.

Clemson is a 7.5-point favorite over Ohio State and Alabama is a 20-point favorite over Notre Dame on New Year’s Day (check out Sam Cooper’s picks for both games). Despite the third seed in the field getting more than a touchdown and the fourth seed getting almost three touchdowns, betting has not slowed down on the favorites.

Sportsbooks will be ringing in the new year hoping for some upsets.

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) will lead his team against Ohio State in one of the two CFP semifinal games on New Year's Day. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco, File)
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) will lead his team against Ohio State in one of the two CFP semifinal games on New Year's Day. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco, File)

Alabama, Clemson getting most of the bets

As of Thursday, 70% of the money bet on Alabama-Notre Dame has come in on the Crimson Tide. The amount of bets on Clemson is even greater: 80.8% of the money bet on the other semifinal is on the Tigers to cover.

“Alabama and Clemson are receiving strong support from the public in the College Football Playoff,” BetMGM VP of trading Jason Scott said. “BetMGM will be cheering for an upset in the semifinals, the best outcome would be Notre Dame covering or winning outright.”

The public likes betting big games and usually likes the favorite, so it’s not a big surprise that Clemson and Alabama are getting most of the action. It’s not like it’s undeserved.

Even though Notre Dame and Ohio State are clearly very good, Alabama has been a machine against the spread. Despite being the most dominant program in the sport, Alabama still covered seven spreads in a row this season before Florida covered against them in the SEC championship game. Only one of those spreads in the seven-game streak was less than 21 points.

Clemson has covered three huge spreads in a row since losing to Notre Dame in overtime, a game that star quarterback Trevor Lawrence missed due to COVID-19 protocols.

Clemson and Alabama have been good to bettors, and bettors continue to trust those teams.

Most of money bet on champion is on Alabama

Bettors are invested in Clemson and Alabama, and not just for the semifinals.

The highest percentage of tickets for which team will win the national championship are on Clemson and Alabama. Clemson has 27% of the tickets written in that futures market, and Alabama has 21%. The amount of money on those two teams is even higher: Alabama has 37% of the handle in the CFP championship odds market, and Clemson has 35%. Notre Dame has just 10% and Ohio State is behind the Irish at 8%.

There will be some good payouts if the Crimson Tide win it all. Alabama’s CFP championship odds opened at +450. Those odds all the way down to -155.

In other words, Alabama beating Clemson in the CFP championship game could get bettors off to a very profitable start in 2021.