COVID has has Changed the Landscape in College Football in 2020
It’s going to be a weird college football season, but at least there will be a season.
That’s the silver lining after two weeks of a will-they-or-won’t-they play conference battle throughout college football. COVID-19 presented a much different situation for student-athletes. In college, players don’t get paid, college football programs aren’t part of a league, and therefore every conference looked at the COVID situation differently.
Seventy-six teams will play this fall, and three of the “Power 5” conferences are on board: the SEC, Big 12, and ACC. The Big Ten and Pac-10 have opted to sit out 2020.
How does that affect college football betting?
College Football Futures and Bowl Game Betting
Odds to win the SEC, Big 12 and ACC conferences are available.
In SEC futures, expect the Alabama Crimson Tide to garner most of the attention. Not only are they an SEC dynasty behind head coach Nick Saban, but oddsmakers have made them -130 favorites to win the title.
The Oklahoma Sooners are -120 favorites to take the Big 12. Not surprising considering the strides their defense made in 2019.
And of course, the Clemson Tigers are -175 to take the ACC. The Tigers made the 2019 National Championship before falling to LSU. But with LSU’s former star quarterback in the NFL, Clemson stands above the rest of college football and will garner most of the attention this year.
Though conference championship odds are available, they aren’t easy to find. However, college football has set their playoff dates:
- National Championship: January 11 in Miami, Florida.
- Semifinal (Rose Bowl): January 1 in Pasadena, California.
- Semifinal (Sugar Bowl): January 1 in New Orleans, Louisville.
When the odds are available, pay per head bookies should expect Clemson, Georgia, Alabama, and Oklahoma in the mix.
NCAA Start Dates and Matchups for Bettors
With all the changes in the 2020 college season, it’s no surprise the programs that decided to play made significant changes to their start date and overall schedule. Some conferences chose to start later, while others decided to play within their conference only.
Here’s a quick summary of what the ACC, Big 12, and SEC have decided for 2020.
ACC: Season Begins September 10, 2020
All 15 schools in the conference will play 10 games and have one non-conference game.
Big 12: Season Begins September 26, 2020
The Big 12 will adopt a 9+1 format, which means nine games and potentially one non-conference game with two bye weeks. All non-conference games must play before September 26.
SEC: Season Begins September 26, 2020
The SEC is playing 10 games as well but staying within its conference only. That could potentially create some competitive spreads and surprise upsets.
Sportsbook Fans Will Follow the AP Top 25 in 2020
Bookies should be mindful of where the AP ranks teams every week as bettors may shift their money to high-ranked teams. For example, if Florida somehow overtakes Georgia and Alabama in the Top 25, expect football handicappers to move bets on who wins the SEC championship regardless of record or performance.
Currently, Big Ten and Pac-10 schools like Ohio State and Oregon are in the Top 25, but that will change once the season begins.
Heisman Trophy Winner Betting
The second most important futures wager in college sports remains available, who will win the Heisman Trophy.
As usual, the quarterback position dominates win betting:
Trevor Lawrence, Clemson Tigers QB: +200
With Clemson at the top of the AP Rankings and the favorite to win the National Championship, it’s no surprise most favor Trevor Lawrence to take home the Heisman. Ever since leading the Tigers to the National Championship in his freshman season, Lawrence has been an NFL star in waiting.
Bookies should set manageable betting limits as massive action will fall on Lawrence.
Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma Sooner QB: +900
Interestingly, Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley hasn’t named a starting QB. However, oddsmakers are so sure it’s Rattler that they’ve made him the second choice to grab the Heisman.
Expect an uptick in Rattler wagers once he’s officially named the starter.
D’Eriq King, Miami Hurricanes QB: +1400
No, his Hurricanes are barely favored to win the ACC much less contend for the National Championship, but D’Eriq King is a dual-threat quarterback that can carry the Canes.
In 2019, a torn meniscus dashed his Heisman hopes. Therefore, expect him to come back with a vengeance, running and throwing all over his ACC opponents.
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