New College Football Playoff Format Having Massive Impact on Ohio State Championship Odds

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Jul 5, 2024 12:00 AM
In the wake of the new college football playoff format, the betting odds for Ohio State to win the National Championship are shifting.

The revamped college football playoff format is officially set to be implemented for the upcoming season. And believe it or not, the betting odds for the new college football playoff are already undergoing massive changes.

This shift is most evident in the Ohio State football betting odds. The Buckeyes opened as runner-up favorites to win it all—buoyed by an influx of sports betting in Ohio. Their standing as top option has not changed…per se. They remain at the apex of the field. 

However, the Ohio State odds to win the 2025 national championship have moved significantly. After opening at +550, the Buckeyes are now +420 to win their first national title since 2014—which also happened to be the year that the first college football playoff debuted.

Is this movement on Ohio State’s betting lines purely a coincidence? If not, what is it about the new college football playoff rules that is driving so much change? And are there any other NCAAF betting odds being noticeably impacted by the altered bracket?

Explaining How the New College Football Playoff Format Works

Many have been clamoring for college football playoff expansion over the past few years. This season, they’re going to get it. They will also be getting some conference realignment to boot. As of July 1, all but two Pac-12 teams will be leaving for other conferences

So what does the new college football playoff format look like? And how will it work? Let’s run through the most important points below:

  • Twelve teams will now make the college football playoff, up from the previous model of four.
  • The field will feature the five highest-ranked conference champions, all of whom receive automatic bids. The next seven highest-ranked teams will also be granted a spot in the college football playoff.
  • Each of the top-four teams will receive a first-round bye and therefore automatically appear in the quarterfinals.
  • Matchups in the first round will unfold as follows:
    • No. 5 vs. No. 12
    • No. 6 vs. No. 11
    • No. 7 vs. No. 10
    • No. 8 vs. No. 9

The six bowl games on New Year’s will take place in the quarterfinal round. The semifinals will be played in “bowls on a rotating basis while the national championship host site is determined through bids by prospective” venues, according to the official NCAA website.

The New NCAA Football Playoff will Increase the Variance in National Championship Candidacies

There is plenty to take away from this new setup. Perhaps most importantly, the expansion is set up so that more wild card contenders have a chance to emerge as college football national champions

Under the previous format, in which only four teams made it, a consensus powerhouse was always the last squad standing. That may no longer be the case moving forward. 

Indeed, the college football playoff isn’t structured to have a true Cinderella story. A top-12-ranked team will always win the title

But this revamped bracket increases the chances we see dark horse winners (i.e. a national champion that doesn’t have a top-seven ranking or better).

Ohio State Sees Biggest Jump in College Football Playoff Betting Odds

Given how much more open the college football playoffs will be, you’d expect to see the public gravitate away from the heaviest favorites. But that hasn’t exactly happened.

As we mentioned above, Ohio State went from a +550 to a +420 to win the national championship. What’s more, their odds to make the college football playoff went from a -550 to a -750. That’s the largest shift among all NCAAF teams.

The factors at play for the latter aren’t particularly complicated. Because the playoff field is wider, the truly elite teams such as Georgia, Oregon, Texas and Ohio State have a greater margin for error. In theory, they can fail to meet expectations and still make the college football playoff. That wasn’t as likely to happen under the previous format.

This jump in Ohio State’s college football championship odds is tougher to reconcile. The expanded field also makes it more likely that any given team loses, even the very best, because they have to play out more games. But most of the top online sportsbooks in the United States have actually seen more action being funneled towards OSU. 

Take the Shift in College Football Betting Odds with a Grain of Salt

Of course, Ohio State isn’t the only team to see their college football playoff odds materially impacted. Colorado, for instance, suffered the biggest drop in college football playoff betting lines, according to Legal Sports Report. 

Naturally, we’d like to figure out the why of it all. And yet, this movement may not be worth spending that much brain power. In reality, this could all come down to the time of year.

Think about it: The 2024 college football season kicks off on August 24. At this writing, we’re officially into the month of July. That means college football betting is officially closer to the front of fans’ minds. It works the same way with betting on the NFL. The amount of action always exponentially increases in the month-and-a-half prior to the start of the regular season. 

Granted, this doesn’t explain the entire shift in betting lines for college football. The new playoff format has to be at least somewhat responsible. Fans may have known they were going into effect for a while. But as the season inches closer, and as the Pac-12 realignment was set, it reopens the door for interest and curiosity. Those two things invariably lead to increases in betting. And increases in betting—well, they tend to result in what we see here: more drastic than normal changes to odds on the college football playoff, not just for Ohio State, but for NCAAF teams at large.

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Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan first began writing about sports back in 2011. At the time, his expertise lied in the NBA and NFL. More than one decade, that remains the case. But he's also expanded his catalog to include extensive knowledge and analysis on the NHL, MLB, tennis, NASCAR, college ba...

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