Oct 31, 2020; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA;  Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) and Alabama quarterback Mac Jones (10) celebrate a touchdown pass from Jones to Smith at Bryant-Denny Stadium during the second half of Alabama's 41-0 win over Mississippi State. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports

Action split as Alabama moves to 9-point favorite

Alabama climbed to 9-point favorites hours ahead of Monday’s College Football Championship, leading to more split betting action on the title game.

The top-ranked Crimson Tide opened as 7.5-point favorites over No. 3 Ohio State, but had been bet up to 9-point favorites at DraftKings and PointsBet by Monday afternoon.

Alabama is being backed by 52 percent of the spread line bets at DraftKings, with the Crimson Tide also backed by 56 percent of the total bets and 59 percent of the handle with a -315 moneyline. The 75-point Over/Under was being backed with 59 percent of the bets on the Under.

The action has been more split at PointsBet, where director of communications Patrick Eichner told Field Level Media on Monday that more bets have come in on Alabama but more handle on Ohio State.

“Despite the line movement, the book is actually seeing strong two-way action on the spread as of now,” Eichner said in an email. “Will be interesting to see where our liabilities stand closer to kickoff and if the line continues to move.

Alabama quarterback Mac Jones is the favorite to win game MVP honors at +275 by PointsBet, ahead of Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith is third at +500, followed by Crimson Tide running back Najee Harris at +600.

Among DraftKings team props is a 32.5-point Over/Under on Ohio State’s total points, with Alabama’s Over/Under being offered at 41.5.

Coverage of the 2021 CFP championship game at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Gardens, Fla. begins at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. The game can also be live streamed on fuboTV and Hulu.

–Field Level Media

Jan 1, 2021; Arlington, TX, USA;  Alabama Crimson Tide players celebrate the victory against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at the Rose Bowl at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama-Ohio State action rolling in on Crimson Tide

Alabama, but not in a shootout.

That is the overwhelming sentiment among sports bettors less than a week out from the College Football Playoff title game.

The top-ranked Crimson Tide are 7.5-point favorites at DraftKings, where Alabama is being backed by 71 percent of the spread line bet and 76 percent of the handle. However, bettors are leaning toward No. 3 Ohio State’s +325 moneyline, which has attracted 55 percent of the bets compared to Alabama’s 45 percent at -305.

After the teams combined for 80 points in their respective semifinal victories, DraftKings installed the Over/Under at 76 points. The Under is currently being backed by 65 percent of the bets and 68 percent of the handle.

Alabama scored 50-plus points in three consecutive games before being “held” to 31 by Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl. The Crimson Tide raced out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and led 28-7 midway through the third before putting the offense largely on cruise control.

The bigger x-factor is Ohio State, which produced a stunning 49-28 win over No. 2 Clemson in the second semifinal in the Sugar Bowl

Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields threw six touchdown passes against the Tigers. That came after scuffling a bit in a 22-10 win over Northwestern in the Big Ten championship game.

Ohio State has averaged 43.4 points per game this season. But the Buckeyes’ body of work has been limited in a seven-game schedule to date, and they have yet to face a defense as deep and loaded with as much NFL talent as the Crimson Tide’s.

Alabama is also a 7.5-point favorite at PointsBet and BetMGM, where the Over/Under was being offered at 75 and 75.5, respectively, on Tuesday.

–Field Level Media

Jan 1, 2021; Arlington, TX, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) is named offensive MVP against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish following the Rose Bowl at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama opens as touchdown favorite over Ohio State

The country’s only two undefeated teams will square off for the national championship, but the oddsmakers have a clear favorite.

No. 1 Alabama (12-0) opened as a touchdown favorite over No. 3 Ohio State (7-0) for their Jan. 11 matchup in the College Football Playoff final at Miami Gardens, Fla.

As of late Friday night, the Crimson Tide were favored by seven points at both DraftKings and SportsBetting.com and by 7 1/2 points at FanDuel.

The over-under total for the matchup was 75.5 at SportsBetting.com, 76 at DraftKings, 76.5 at FanDuel.

The seven-point spread would be the highest ever for a CFP final in the seven years the current playoff system has been in place. Three previous finals closed with 6.5-point spreads, per VegasInsider.com.

According to SportsBetting.com, the over-under total is the second-largest for a CFP game. Only the 2018-19 semifinal at the Orange Bowl had a higher total, 80.5 points. The under was a winner in that game, barely, as Alabama beat Oklahoma 45-34.

Only once has a CFP underdog of seven points or more pulled off the upset, per SportsBetting.com. Ohio State will attempt to duplicate its feat from the 2014-15 semifinal at the Sugar Bowl, when it entered a 7.5-point underdog but beat Alabama 42-35.

On Friday, the Crimson Tide cruised past No. 4 Notre Dame 31-14 in the first semifinal, the Rose Bowl held at Arlington, Texas. Alabama quarterback Mac Jones threw for 297 yards and four touchdowns, three of the scores going to DeVonta Smith.

In the nightcap, the Buckeyes blasted No. 2 Clemson 49-28 behind 385 passing yards and six TD tosses from Justin Fields. Chris Olave accounted for 132 yards and two touchdowns on six receptions.

Alabama will be aiming for its third championship in the seven years since the CFP was instituted, having won the title in 2015-16 and 2017-18. Last season, the Crimson Tide failed to make the semifinals for the first time.

Ohio State, a losing semifinalist last season and in 2016-17, is in the final for the first time since 2014-15, when it beat Oregon for the championship.

–Field Level Media

Nov 7, 2020; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (6) celebrates after a touchdown in the second quarter against the Clemson Tigers at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

CFP notebook: Can No. 4 Irish show they belong?

For No. 4 Notre Dame, Friday’s 1 p.m. Eastern semifinal against top-ranked Alabama in the College Football Playoff can’t come soon enough.

Finally, the Fighting Irish (10-1) will get the chance to show that they belong in the playoff, putting the controversy of their selection behind them. But to do that, they’ll have to at least slow down a juggernaut. Alabama (11-0) has averaged 49.7 points a game this season, trampling everything in its path.

And slowing down Alabama means the Irish will have to bring their best in the semifinal, something they have been unable to do in their two previous trips to college football’s biggest stage when they were woefully outclassed.

And this time, they’re nearly underdogs by 19.5 points.

“We hear it,” senior linebacker Drew White said Thursday. “We’re aware of the noise, we call it.”

That noise sounds like 30-3, which was the drubbing Notre Dame absorbed at the hands of Clemson two years ago in its other trip to the CFP semifinals.

The noise also sounds a lot like 42-14, Alabama’s drubbing of Notre Dame in the national championship game at the end of the 2012 season.

And the noise sounds like the howls following Notre Dame’s 34-10 loss to No. 2 Clemson just two weeks ago, when more than a few critics felt No. 5 Texas A&M (8-1), No. 8 Cincinnati (9-0), or even No. 12 Coastal Carolina (11-0) were more deserving of a CFB berth this season than Notre Dame.

“We’re playing for each other,” White said. “We’re not playing for credit to the media or whoever’s thinking we don’t deserve a spot. We’re playing for each other. We want to get to the national championship. We want to win the national championship for our teammates. So that’s really what’s propelling us is that right there.”

A close semifinal game would be a rarity in the six-year history of the CFP, as the 12 previous semifinals have been decided by an average of three touchdowns.

With Elliott out, Streeter on Clemson headset

With Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott missing the game against No. 3 Ohio State with COVID-19 issues, coach Dabo Swinney will have quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter upstairs helping with play calls.

Elliott has worked the headsets calling plays through Swinney since 2011, so this could be a significant adjustment for Clemson, but Streeter is hardly new to the system. He is in his 13th in the program as a player, grad assistant, and assistant coach.

Vanderbilt’s new ‘holistic’ coach

Notre Dame Butkus Award winner Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah credits defensive coordinator Clark Lea as a key to his improvement this season as a “holistic football player.” Lea was hired in December as Vanderbilt head coach, but will still be with Notre Dame through the playoffs.

“He’s been a difference-maker,” the senior linebacker said Thursday. “He’s been a different type of coach. I’ve never had a type of coach like Coach Lea. He doesn’t yell much. He doesn’t complain much.

“All my life I’ve had coaches that had that aggressive nature, that yell, and that has what made me who I am today and I’m appreciative of that. But Coach Lea has a different style. He’s more a technical, analytical type of guy who wants you to understand the philosophies of the world, wants you to understand the philosophies of football.

“And I think that approach has ultimately made me reach this kind of almost holistic football player. I haven’t got there yet, nowhere close. But I think that’s ultimately led me in the right direction with him being a difference-maker for me in every area of my life.”

Roses in the Lone Star State

Although the Alabama-Notre Dame game is being played in Arlington, Texas, it’s still being called the Rose Bowl. The game was moved from California to AT&T Stadium because COVID-19 protocols in California banned fans — including family and friends — from attending.

Only 3,000 fans will be permitted to attend the Sugar and Rose Bowls, primarily family and friends of the teams.

–Field Level Media

Dec 19, 2020; Charlotte, NC, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) runs for a touchdown in the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Favored Clemson where the money is vs. Ohio State

Second-ranked Clemson is being backed by the overwhelming amount of betting action despite entering Friday’s College Football Playoff semifinal as more than a touchdown favorite over No. 3 Ohio State.

The Tigers are 7.5-point favorites, with 66 percent of the bets at DraftKings and 76 percent at FanDuel backing Clemson. The action is even more skewed on the moneyline, with Clemson backed by 76 percent of the bets at DraftKings (-295) and 79 percent at FanDuel (-280).

The Sugar Bowl will be a rematch between Clemson (10-1) and Ohio State (6-0), which suffered a 29-23 loss to the Tigers in last year’s CFP semifinals.

“If we’re playing Ohio State, it’s a playoff,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “Or it was a BCS bowl, back in 2013 in the Orange Bowl. We don’t have them on our regular schedule anytime in the near future, so you know it is a big, big postseason game when you play those guys.”

Plenty of offensive fireworks are expected in Friday’s second semifinal, with both sportsbooks setting the Over/Under at 66.5 points. The Over is being backed by 82 percent of the bets and 64 percent of the handle at DraftKings and 81 and 85 percent, respectfully, at FanDuel.

The No. 3 Buckeyes will try to establish the run using Trey Sermon, who gained a school and FBS conference championship game-record 331 yards during a 22-10 win over Northwestern in the Big Ten title game.

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw for 322 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 90 yards and a score to down the Fighting Irish 34-10 to win the ACC championship Saturday.

He got support from running back Travis Etienne (124 yards and a TD on 10 carries).

Those two were lethal vs. the Buckeyes last season. Lawrence had 259 passing yards and a touchdown, plus 107 yards and a score on the ground while Etienne had 134 all-purpose yards and three TDs.

“I think (Lawrence) and Etienne are two of the most dynamic players in college football, and probably in the history of college football,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said.

–Field Level Media

Oct 31, 2020; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA;  Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) and Alabama quarterback Mac Jones (10) celebrate a touchdown pass from Jones to Smith at Bryant-Denny Stadium during the second half of Alabama's 41-0 win over Mississippi State. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports

Alabama historic favorite in expected shootout vs. Notre Dame

The biggest favorite in College Football Playoff history is understandably being backed by the vast majority of bettors, but can Notre Dame put up a fight against No. 1 Alabama in Friday’s first semifinal?

That’s where bettors are more split ahead of the New Year’s Day clash.

The Crimson Tide are nearly three-touchdown favorites over the Fighting Irish at most sportsbooks, easily breaking the previous record held by Alabama as a 14.5-point favorite over Oklahoma in 2018-19.

While the Crimson Tide are being backed by 80 percent off the moneyline bets at DraftKings (-1115), the Fighting Irish have been backed by 56 percent of the spread bets. Of the total money bet, 64 percent has been on Alabama on the spread line and 56 percent on the spread.

The line had moved to 20 points at FanDuel, where 79 percent of the moneyline bets (Alabama -1000) and 65 percent of the spread line bets have backed the Crimson Tide.

The Rose Bowl, moved from Pasadena to the Dallas area due to California’s COVID-19 protocols, is a huge mismatch on paper.

The Over/Under has been set at 65.5 points, with the action backing the Over at more than 80 percent at both sportsbooks.

The Crimson Tide have topped 50 points in each of their past three games. The Fighting Irish (10-1) don’t want to get into a shootout, but they did top 40 points six times this season.

Notre Dame, which ranks 14th in scoring defense (18.6 points per game), was superb early in the season by limiting five of the first six opponents to 13 or fewer points. But it sprung many leaks down the stretch by allowing more than 30 in three of the past five games, including a 34-10 whipping at the hands of Clemson in the ACC title game.

“We’ve been humbled about the way we play,” said Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, “and this team has always come back with a resilience and an edge about them, and they will against Alabama.”

The Crimson Tide (11-0) topped 50 six times and averaged 49.7 points — second-best nationally — while being led by a trio of big-time performers.

DeVonta Smith has the opportunity to be first receiver to win the Heisman Trophy since Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991. He has 98 receptions for 1,511 yards and 17 touchdowns. During the 52-46 win over Florida in the SEC title game, Smith (3,620 yards) passed Amari Cooper (3,463 from 2012-14) as Alabama’s all-time leader in receiving yardage.

Quarterback Mac Jones also is in the Heisman mix and has thrown for 3,739 yards and 32 touchdowns against four interceptions. Najee Harris has rushed for 1,262 yards and 24 touchdowns and also has three receiving scores.

“We’ve certainly been very productive on offense,” Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said. “This has been an unusual year for a lot of teams but I think our players have stayed focus on the right things amid a lot of abnormal things.”

The offensive fireworks aren’t just limited to the current season. Alabama has scored 35 or more points in a major-college record 24 consecutive games since losing to Clemson 44-16 in the CFP title game to end the 2018 season.

The Crimson Tide are 22-2 during the stretch but Saban isn’t interested in hearing about how the semifinal matchup with Notre Dame is going to be some type of easy stroll in the park.

“I know they have a really good team,” Saban said on ESPN. “I know they have a really good quarterback. They have a tough defense. They have some skill guys who can make plays.

“You don’t win 10 games in a season without having really good players.”

Quarterback Ian Book has a 30-4 record as a starter for the Irish. He has passed for 2,601 yards and 15 touchdowns with only two interceptions in 314 attempts.

The winner of this game will face either No. 2 Clemson or No. 3 Ohio State in the national championship game.

–Field Level Media

Nov 28, 2020; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA;  Alabama running back Najee Harris (22) stiff arms Auburn linebacker Owen Pappoe (0) at Bryant-Denny Stadium in the Iron Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser via USA TODAY Sports

No changes atop CFP rankings

There was no change atop the College Football Playoff rankings on Tuesday, with Alabama taking the top spot followed by Notre Dame, Clemson and Ohio State.

The ratings were dominated by the Southeastern Conference, which placed four teams in the top eight.

Alabama (8-0), Notre Dame (9-0) and Ohio State (4-0) are all undefeated. Clemson’s lone loss came in double overtime at Notre Dame in a game in which the Tigers (8-1) didn’t have Heisman hopeful quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who was held out due to COVID-19. Lawrence returned this past Saturday and threw for 403 yards and two touchdowns in a 52-17 victory over Pittsburgh.

Notre Dame has clinched a spot in the ACC championship game. Clemson, with a win over Virginia Tech (4-5) on Saturday, will face the Irish in the Dec. 19 game and their postponed game against Florida State will not be made up.

Texas A&M (6-1) is fifth, a spot ahead of Florida (7-1), which lost to the Aggies. Georgia (6-2) remains as the highest two-loss team, coming in at No. 8 despite double-digit losses to Alabama and Florida.

Cincinnati (8-0) remained at No. 7. The Bearcats’ game against Temple was postponed last Saturday. The American Athletic Conference-leaders will conclude their regular season Dec. 12, when Cincinnati travels to play No. 24 Tulsa (5-1). Tulsa faces Navy on Saturday, while Cincinnati is on a bye week.

The biggest difference from the initial rankings was Iowa State (7-2) being ranked ninth — four spots higher than last week after a three-point win at then-No. 17 Texas, which fell out of the rankings. Northwestern (5-1), which was ranked No. 8 last week, fell six spots to No. 14 after losing to Michigan State, 29-20, Saturday.

The CFP selection committee is slated to release its rankings on Dec. 8 and Dec. 15 before announcing the final selections Dec. 20. Conference championship games and other matchups are set for Dec. 18 and Dec. 19. The CFP semifinals will be held in the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, with the winners advancing to play in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Jan. 11.

A week after debuting at No. 14, BYU, which is 9-0 as an independent, moved up a spot after destroying North Alabama, 66-14. The Cougars, who are ranked No. 8 in the AP poll and have outscored the opposition 494-139 this season, conclude the regular season against San Diego State on Dec. 12.

BYU was set to play six teams from Power 5 schools this season, but dates against Utah, Michigan State, Arizona State, Minnesota, Missouri and Stanford were cancelled because the Pac-12, Big Ten and SEC went to league-only schedules due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two undefeated Group of 5 teams — No. 18 Coastal Carolina (9-0) and No. 21 Marshall (7-0)– are ranked behind BYU, which is also behind three two-loss teams: Georgia, No. 11 Oklahoma (6-2) and No. 9 Iowa State (7-2).

Ohio State is the Big Ten’s highest-ranked team, followed by No. 14 Northwestern (5-1), which is on course to oppose the Buckeyes in the Big Ten championship game. The Big Ten has five teams in the rankings, as No. 12 Indiana (5-1, lost to Ohio State), No. 16 Wisconsin (2-1) and No. 19 Iowa (4-2) also made it.

Miami (7-1), which was blown out by Clemson 42-17 earlier this season, remained at No. 10. North Carolina (6-3) rose two spots to No. 17 after losing at home to Notre Dame last week, giving the ACC three ranked teams.

The Big 12 has three teams in the CFP rankings — Oklahoma, Iowa State and No. 15 Oklahoma State (6-2).

The Pac-12, the last FBS conference to open the season, is represented by No. 20 USC (3-0), No. 22 Washington (3-0) and No. 23 Oregon (3-1).

Louisiana (8-1) entered at No. 25, while Auburn (5-3) dropped out from No. 22 after losing at No. 1 Alabama.

–Field Level Media

Oct 31, 2020; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA;  Alabama quarterback Mac Jones (10) throws a pass at Bryant-Denny Stadium during the second half of Alabama's 41-0 win over Mississippi State. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports

Alabama, Notre Dame, Clemson, Ohio State top CFP rankings

Alabama was ranked atop the initial College Football Playoff rankings on Tuesday, followed by Notre Dame, Clemson and Ohio State.

The ratings were dominated by the Southeastern Conference, which placed four teams in the top 10.

Alabama (7-0), Notre Dame (8-0) and Ohio State (4-0) are all undefeated. Clemson’s lone loss came in double overtime at Notre Dame in a game in which the Tigers (7-1) didn’t have Heisman hopeful quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who was held out due to COVID-19.

Texas A&M (5-1) is fifth, a spot ahead of Florida (6-1), which lost to the Aggies. Georgia (5-2) is the highest two-loss team, coming in at No. 9 despite double-digit losses to Alabama and Florida.

BYU, which is 9-0 as an independent, debuted at No. 14, though the Cougars are No. 8 in both the AP and coaches polls this week. BYU was set to play six teams from Power 5 schools this season, but dates against Utah, Michigan State, Arizona State, Minnesota, Missouri and Stanford were cancelled because the Pac-12, Big Ten and SEC went to league-only schedules due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

BYU changed its schedule and has won all but one of its games by 17 points or more and has outscored opponents 428-125 this season.

CFP selection committee chair Gary Barta, Iowa’s athletic director, said on ESPN that when the group reviewed BYU, the Cougars’ weak strength of schedule “came into play.”

The CFP selection committee is slated to release its rankings Dec. 1, Dec. 8 and Dec. 15 before announcing the final selections Dec. 20. Conference championship games and other matchups are set for Dec. 18 and Dec. 19. The CFP semifinals will be held in the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, with the winners advancing to play in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Jan. 11.

Cincinnati (8-0) came in at No. 7. The American Athletic Conference-leading Bearcats have their biggest regular-season remaining test on Dec. 12, when they travel to play Tulsa (5-1), which debuted at No. 25.

Two undefeated Group of 5 teams — No. 20 Coastal Carolina (8-0) and No. 21 Marshall (7-0)– are ranked behind BYU.

BYU is behind three two-loss teams: Georgia, No. 11 Oklahoma (6-2) and No. 13 Iowa State (6-2).

Ohio State is the Big Ten’s highest-ranked team, followed by No. 8 Northwestern (5-0), which is on course to oppose the Buckeyes in the Big Ten championship game. The Big Ten and SEC each have five teams in the rankings, as No. 12 Indiana (4-1, lost to Ohio State), No. 16 Wisconsin (2-1) and No. 24 Iowa (3-2) also made it. The SEC’s Auburn (5-2) is No. 22.

Miami (7-1), which was blown out by Clemson 42-17, is ranked No. 10. North Carolina (6-2) is No. 19 heading into its huge game against visiting Notre Dame on Friday, giving the ACC three ranked teams.

The Big 12 has four teams in the CFP rankings — Oklahoma, Iowa State, No. 17 Texas (5-2) and No. 23 Oklahoma State (5-2).

The Pac-12, the last FBS conference to open the season, is represented by No. 15 Oregon (3-0) and No. 18 USC (3-0).

–Field Level Media

Nov 14, 2020; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Ian Book (12) throws the ball during warms ups before a game against the Boston College Eagles at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Undefeated Notre Dame remains CFP long shot

Notre Dame remained No. 2 in the Associated Press Top 25 on Sunday, but the Irish remain long shots to reach the College Football Playoff.

The Alabama Crimson Tide (7-0) are the unanimous No. 1 team in the nation, and are the +170 national title favorites by PointsBet, similar to most sportsbooks.

However, Clemson (7-1) is being offered at +250 along with No. 3 Ohio State (4-0), despite the Tigers’ lone loss coming against Notre Dame. Clemson played that game without star quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who has not played since Oct. 24.

Lawrence missed two games due to a positive COVID-19 test and the Tigers had Saturday’s game against Florida State postponed due to COVID-19 concerns. Clemson still remains on track to play in the ACC title game, where the Tigers would be favored against Notre Dame.

The ACC championship game is scheduled to be played in Charlotte on Dec. 19, with the top two teams by winning percentage qualifying. Notre Dame has regular-season games remaining against No. 25 North Carolina, one-win Syracuse and 4-3 Wake Forest.

No. 6 Florida (6-1) is being offered at +900 to claim the final CFP spot by PointsBet, well ahead of Notre Dame at +1600.

Northwestern (5-0) moved to No. 11 in the AP Top 25 and the Wildcats’ title odds have shortened to +5000 by PointsBet.

The College Football Playoff selection committee will release its first rankings of the season on Tuesday, and they could create a shift in teams’ path to the final four.

In a memo issued by the committee on Sunday, it said it will not penalize a team for playing fewer games than another team as it determines its rankings of the nation’s top teams.

That’s good news for Big Ten and Pac-12 teams, who started the season later than teams from the ACC, Big 12 and SEC.

Oregon moved to No. 9 with the Ducks being 3-0 in the Pac-12’s late start to the season. Oregon and Washington are currently being offered at +25000 by PointsBet, with conference rival Southern Cal at +20000. The Trojans are 3-0 thanks to a pair of nail-biting victories.

Pac-12 teams have only seven games to prove their case to the CFP committee after the conference began its season earlier this month.

The CFP semifinal games are scheduled to be played Jan. 1 in the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl. Miami is set to play host to the title game on Jan. 11.

–Field Level Media

Oct 24, 2020; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields (1) and teammates celebrate the 52-17 win following the game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State pulls even with Clemson in CFP odds

The Clemson Tigers remain in a precarious position with quarterback Trevor Lawrence sidelined for at least one more game following his positive COVID-19 test.

The Tigers (7-0) escaped Boston College’s upset bid on Saturday but now must face fourth-ranked Notre Dame (6-0) minus their Heisman Trophy hopeful.

Clemson saw its grip on the No. 1 spot in the AP Top 25 poll shrink to two points this week, and oddsmakers are equally skittish on the Tigers’ College Football Playoff aspirations.

Overwhelming favorites just a week ago, Clemson is now being offered at +200 along with the Ohio State Buckeyes at several sportsbooks, including PointsBet. The two were also being offered at +200 by SportsBetting.com, although Clemson was bet down to +150 by Monday while Ohio State’s odds had lengthened to +260, behind the Alabama Crimson Tide (+200).

Alabama was being offered at +250 by PointsBet. The only other school listed at less than +1600 was Texas A&M (+900).

Notre Dame was being offered at +3000 by PointsBet and +4000 by SportsBetting.com, where the Fighting Irish were 6-point home underdogs for Saturday’s marquee game.

Heisman Trophy odds were off the board at both books. The heavy favorite before his positive test, Lawrence is now third at DraftKings at +400, behind Alabama quarterback Mac Jones (+125) and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields (+150).

Lawrence remained the -105 Heisman favorite at FanDuel after the news of his positive test broke, but those odds had lengthened to +200 by Monday. Fields and Jones are now the co-betting favorites at +150.

CFP winner odds (SportsBetting.com)
Clemson +150
Alabama +200
Ohio State +260
Georgia +1200
Florida +2000
Notre Dame +4000
Texas A&M +5000
Wisconsin +6600
Oregon +8000
Oklahoma State +10000
USC +10000
Oklahoma +10000
BYU +10000
Cincinnati +10000
Kansas State +10000
Indian +10000
Michigan +12500
Miami (Fla.) +15000
Texas +15000
Washington +15000
Auburn +15000
Iowa +15000
Memphis +15000
Iowa State +15000

–Field Level Media