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What are the odds Georgia wins a national title?

Entering their respective seasons, Georgia’s (L to R) 2004 (+800), 2008 (+800), and 2012 (+1,600) teams were determined to have the best odds to win the national title of the Bulldogs’ 16 squads from 2002 to 2017.
Entering their respective seasons, Georgia’s (L to R) 2004 (+800), 2008 (+800), and 2012 (+1,600) teams were determined to have the best odds to win the national title of the Bulldogs’ 16 squads from 2002 to 2017.

What are, and have been, the odds of Georgia winning a national championship?

By Patrick Garbin—Twitter @PatrickGarbin

The Future: A couple of days ago, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook released its updated odds to win the national championship this season. Notably, Georgia was a 25-to-1 favorite or +2,500 (bet $100 to win $2,500), which is somewhat significant considering just four months ago when the title odds were first released the day of the national championship game, the Bulldogs were at +4,000.

Including the Westgate, the Bovada, Sports Interaction, and, I considered four top sportbooks and their current odds to win the title this season. Fourteen teams unanimously ranked in the top 20 at the four sportbooks in regard to best/lowest odds. Below are the top dozen teams according to their average odds at the sportbooks. Also, since I noticed a considerable amount of variation from book to book for some teams’ set of odds, I included the standard deviation, or SD, of their four values:

AVG. Odds to Win the 2017-18 National Championship
Team AVG. Odds  SD of the Four Sportbooks’ Odds

1) Alabama



2) Ohio State



3) Southern California



4) Florida State



5) Oklahoma



6) Michigan



7) Penn State



8) LSU



9) Louisville



10) Clemson



11) Georgia



12) Auburn



The Difference: Besides the Westgate, the Bovada also publicized its opening title odds in January. I took the average of both sportbooks’ odds in January and compared it to their most recent to see which odds of the 14 unanimous teams had increased, and decreased, the most over the last four months (and, notably, look whose odds to win the championship have diminished the most):

Most Substantial Decrease/Increase in Nat’l Title Odds Since January
Top Decrease in Odds Decrease Since January Top Increase in Odds Increase Since January

1) Georgia


1) Louisville


2) Auburn


2) LSU


3) Penn State


3) Oklahoma


4) Washington


4) Clemson


5) Ohio State


5) Michigan


*According to the Westgate and Bovada in January, the odds for Georgia winning the 2017-18 national title were +4000 and +3300, respectively, or an average of +3650. Since then, the Bulldogs' odds have decreased or gotten better with a current average of +2250, or a decrease since January of -1400.

The Past: Evidently, odds to win the national title are readily available beginning with the 2002 season. I considered the 38 teams prior to this year which were given odds to win the championship for at least 10 seasons during the 15-year span (By the way, odds were determined for 17 teams for all 15 seasons, 2002-2016—a list which includes South Carolina, but not Alabama, and Oregon State, but not Southern California.).

Below are the top-10 teams with the best average annual odds to win the national title (for the years odds were determined for each team), and how many—if any—championships each team actually captured during the time period. Interestingly, although Georgia, which annually averaged a sixth-best 1-to-28 (rounded) to win the national championship, and never did so, the top team as far as average annual odds came up empty handed, as well:

AVG. Annual Odds to Win the National Championship from 2002-2016
Team Avg. Odds No. of Seasons (of 15) Odds Determined  No. of Nat’l Titles (2002-2016)

1) Oklahoma




2) Ohio State




3) Southern California




4) LSU




5) Florida State




6) Georgia




7) Florida




8) Alabama




9) Texas




10) Michigan




The Payoff: Finally, for the nine different teams to win at least one national championship from 2002-2016, what if $100 was placed on each of those teams for each season odds were determined for their title chances? Well, for Southern California (minus-$900), Texas (minus-$700), and Clemson (minus-$700), you would have actually lost money despite each of those teams winning a championship. For Florida (+$100) and Florida State (+$100), you would have barely been in the black. Yet, for Alabama (+$1,750), LSU (+$3,300), Auburn (+$3,500), and top-earner Ohio State (+$4,500), you would have enjoyed a significant payoff.