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2023 College Football National Championship predictions and best bets

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Alabama is the favorite to win the national championship
FILE – Alabama head coach Nick Saban leaves the field after their win against Ohio State in an NCAA College Football Playoff national championship game in Miami Gardens, Fla., Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. Alabama is No. 1 in the college football Preseason Top 25. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

We’re just about two weeks away from the start of the 2022-23 college football season, which, according to Las Vegas odds, could look a lot like the 2022 season. 

In a sport that has historically been dominated by the same few teams, you’ll see familiar faces atop the Vegas sportsbook lists of best odds to win the 2023 national championship.  

With the odds listed above, it makes it clear that Vegas believes there are only four teams with a greater than 5% chance to win the national title: Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, and Clemson. So which one of those schools is the best bet to hoist the trophy and is there a surprise team further down in the odds that could be worth a bet?

Alabama (+180)

It’s no surprise that Alabama has the best odds to win the 2023 College Football National Championship. The Crimson Tide has won five of the last 11 national titles and has missed the College Football Playoff just once. They made the National Championship last year, falling to Georgia 33-18. Alabama will bring back last year’s Heisman winner Bryce Young to lead a team that will be loaded with talent after having the 2nd-ranked recruiting class

It’s hard to bet against Alabama, and even though the odds aren’t tremendous, a $100 bet will win you $180, so there is still some profit in it. 

 

Ohio State (+300)

It’s a bit of a surprise to see Ohio State this high given that they missed the college football playoff last year, but there is no denying the talent on the Buckeyes. The offense was tremendous last year, leading the nation in scoring with 45.7 ppg and in yards per game at 561.5 yards per game. Quarterback and Heisman contender C.J. Stroud is and will be throwing to darkhorse Heisman candidate Jaxon Smith-Njigba, among other talented wideouts. 

The biggest knock against the Buckeyes is their defense. Last year they allowed 246.2 passing yards per game (97th nationally) and a 43.5 percent passing success rate (94th nationally). They also gave up 487 total yards in a 42-27 loss to Michigan at the end of the regular season last year.

Considering we predicted Michigan to win the Big Ten, we would say a bet on Ohio State to win the National Championship would not be the best bet to make. 

 

Georgia (+350)

Georgia is the defending national champion, which makes them a contender to do so again, but there hasn’t been a repeat national championship winner since Alabama in 2011-12. That’s the only repeat champion in the playoff era, which makes it hard to trust Georgia. Then you have to factor in that Georgia had five players drafted in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, which means they are losing a lot of high-end talent. 

They had the third-ranked recruiting class and will undoubtedly be a top-tier team this season, but it’s hard to bet on them to repeat given the factors above. 

 

Clemson (+800)

There is a drop-off from the top three when it comes to betting odds to win the national championship before you get to Clemson. The Tigers had a bad season by their standards last year, failing to make the playoff for the first time since 2015. Their offense was below average and finished 37th and 44th in overall efficiency and explosiveness margin, respectively, last season, which is something they absolutely need to fix in order to have a shot at making the playoffs again.

However, Clemson will have an elite defense and the offense could take a step forward under five-star freshman quarterback Cade Klubnik. Given these are the highest odds Clemson has had in years, throwing a small bet on the Tigers at +800 could be an intriguing bet given that they play in the worst conference of these top teams and have the clearest path to the playoffs.

 

Clemson is a trendy pick to win the national championship
FILE – Clemson running back Kobe Pace (20) greets young fans after an NCAA college football game against South Carolina State on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in Clemson, S.C. Clemson is No. 4 in The Associated Press preseason college football poll, released Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Edward M. Pio Roda, File)

Longshot Picks

USC (+2000)

USC is a trendy pick with Lincoln Riley now at the helm and Caleb Williams as the starting quarterback. The past allure of the Trojans has people continuously waiting to jump back on the bandwagon, so the changes in the offseason have people excited. However, the Pac-12 will be no cakewalk. Utah is a legitimate contender, and Oregon has the firepower to score with anybody. The college football landscape wants USC to be back as a national title contender, but we have yet to see them prove to be worthy of those hopes, which makes it hard to trust them. 

 

Texas A&M (+2500)

The Aggies are another trendy team that has failed to deliver, finishing at 8-4 last year. However, they had the number one recruiting class in the country and have recruited well for years under Jimbo Fisher, so there is plenty of talent on this roster. Their defense finished 3rd nationally in points allowed, 7th in limiting explosive plays, and 8th in defensive efficiency, so it’s a unit that will always keep them in games. If the offense takes a step forward and makes use of all the talent from the recruiting trail, Texas A& could be an intriguing darkhorse. They just need to beat Alabama in Week 5. 

 

Michigan (+5000)

Last is the longest shot team on the list. We predicted Michigan to win the Big Ten and make the college football playoff, which means they have to be in consideration to win a national championship. In our Big Ten preview, we mentioned that “Michigan will return 13 starters from a team that was balanced on both sides of the ball, ranking second in the conference in scoring offense at 35.8 ppg and fourth in scoring defense with 17.4 ppg allowed.”

The Wolverines had a top ten recruiting class last year and could turn to highly-recruited J.J. McCarthy at quarterback in hopes of taking the team to the next level.  At +5000, a small bet on the Wolverines could pay off handsomely since a $100 bet would win you $5,000 if the Wolverines can pull it off. 

For more college football coverage like this national championship article, visit amNY Sports

Could Ohio State win the national championship
FILE – Ohio State head coach Ryan Day hugs quarterback Justin Fields after their win against Clemson in the Sugar Bowl NCAA college football game Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, in New Orleans. Ohio State won 49-28. Ohio State is No. 2 in The Associated Press preseason college football poll, released Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

 

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