This article is part of our College Football Fantasy Five series.
As we enter the summer, it's a perfect time to take a look at some college football futures and identify some early value plays before people buy their college football magazines and place their wagers. Over the next few weeks, I'll touch on conference championships, the Heisman and some over/under win totals. First and foremost, we'll delve in to my favorite plays and non-plays for the College Football Playoff and National Championship for the 2021-22 season.
For these early betting articles, I'm going to utilize a similar format where I mention my fades (bets to avoid), value plays (decent longshot bets) and favorite play (where I would place my money right now). Odds are subject to change over time.
5.) Ohio State (+500 or 5/1 to Win 2022 Championship)
The Buckeyes are the third team on the board after Alabama (+300) and Clemson (+350) which is kind of insane when you consider that they haven't even determined a starting QB for the upcoming season yet. Of course they are loaded with talent as they always are, yet it would be nice to see significant reps from C.J. Stroud, Jack Miller or Kyle McCord before investing some serious cash capital. If the extremely talented and experienced Justin Fields couldn't win the big game last season, it would be quite the surprise to see Ohio State get it done this year.
4.) Notre Dame (+4000 or 40/1 to Win 2022 Championship)
There's only one reason that the Fighting Irish are tied for ninth on the board in betting odds and that's because they are one of the most popular teams on the market. I do recognize that Notre Dame is coming off two College Football Playoff trips in the last three seasons, however you also need to consider they received a nod in 2020 with a 10-2 record while winning the ACC in a unusual year. They are returning just two starters on the offensive side of the ball and are turning to Wisconsin transfer Jack Coan at QB. I absolutely love weapons in RB Kyren Williams and TE Michael Mayer, but that won't be enough to be one of the best teams in the nation. It's also worth noting that they will be working in a new defensive coordinator in Marcus Freeman from Cincinnati.
Honorable Mention; Alabama (+300 or 3/1 to Win 2022 Championship)
Clemson (+350 or 7/2 to Win 2022 Championship)
Couldn't pull the trigger on either of these as fades as they have accounted for five of the seven national championships during the CFP-era.
3.) Iowa State (+4000 or 40/1 to Win 2022 Championship)
*Highly Recommend Bet to Make College Football Playoff
At the very least, the Cyclones will be one of the most experienced teams in all of college football with 19 of their 22 starters returning. These returnees are highlighted by RB Breece Hall who is perhaps the best at his position and QB Brock Purdy who will be looking to elevate his NFL Draft profile. They also have great complimentary pieces in TE Charlie Kolar, WR Xavier Hutchinson and a beastly offensive line. Moreover, they are a Big 12 team who can actually play defense. Oklahoma (+700 or 7/1) will be their major hurdle in the Big 12 Conference and yet I feel weirdly comfortable with their chances because head coach Matt Campbell is the real deal.
2.) Indiana (+10000 or 100/1 to Win 2022 Championship)
Here's my longshot recommendation as I felt I needed to get something on the board that would really pay off. I would sprinkle a little money here and some more significant money on the Hoosiers to make the Playoff. They return 17 starters on a team that is extremely fun to watch and root for. They defeated Penn State, Michigan & Michigan State last season and I don't think it's out of the question that they are better than those teams again. This will hinge on QB Michael Penix being healthy after returning from an ACL injury. If Ohio State does struggle at QB at all, Indiana could be the team that surprisingly sneaks in the playoff from the Big 10.
1.) Georgia (+800 or 8/1 to Win 2022 Championship)
The Bulldogs are my favorite to win the 2022 National Championship and it's just a bonus that they are the fifth most likely team according to Vegas. Naysayers will point to the last three years for reasons why they won't do it this year, but they were right there in the 2018 national championship game against Alabama, the 2019 LSU team was a buzz-saw and the 2020 year will always be an outlier for most teams. Georgia pretty much rolls back the exact same offense led by offensive coordinator Todd Monken with QB JT Daniels, four legitimate running backs, and a young and talented WR group. While they did lose WR George Pickens to a torn ACL, LSU transfer Arik Gilbert just committed to the team in early June. The defense is always great in Athens, but this could be the year that the offense shines and that's the reason I think it gets the team over the top. It's time for Kirby Smart to get that championship he's been trending towards.