For the third time in the last five years, Alabama kicks off the season as the consensus favorite to win the national championship in Las Vegas.
The Crimson Tide are 5-2 at the Westgate SuperBook, just ahead of Ohio State at 3-1. USC, at 7-1, and Florida State, at 8-1, round out the top tier of favorites.
Alabama enters the season having been favored in 97 of its past 98 games. The Crimson Tide were 1-point road underdogs against Georgia in October 2015, ending their streak of 72 consecutive games as the favorite. They won that game 38-10.
Barring significant developments, Nick Saban’s team will be favored in at least every regular-season game this year. The top-ranked Tide are 7-point favorites over Florida State in Saturday’s Chick-Fil-A Kickoff game in Atlanta.
In the offseason, more money was bet on Alabama to win the national championship than was wagered on any other team at the majority of books. Twenty percent of the money bet on sportsbook William Hill’s odds to win the national championship is on the Crimson Tide.
Southern California and Michigan, however, have attracted more bets than Alabama at several books. In fact, there have been more national championship bets on Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines than any other team at the Westgate, where Michigan is 15-1. The Trojans are No. 1 in bets at William Hill.
While the betting public has gravitated toward USC and Michigan, reigning champion Clemson has seen minimal support. After opening at 20-1, the Tigers have seen their national championship odds drift to 35-1, due to a lack of action.
Approximately four times as much money has been bet on Penn State as has been bet on Clemson at the Westgate. Oklahoma State, Florida and Georgia are among 13 teams that have garnered more bets than Clemson at sportsbook operator CG Technology.
“I have like no money on [Clemson]. It’s unbelievable,” said Chris Andrews, sportsbook director at South Point casino. “I still think they’re going to be pretty good. I’ve jacked up their odds, certainly looking for a bet.”
USC sophomore quarterback Sam Darnold is the consensus favorite to win the Heisman Trophy at 4-1. Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, at 7-1, and Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, at 8-1, are among the top tier of Heisman contenders.