When Alabama lost to LSU a few weeks ago, it felt like we were going to have a rare season where Alabama wasn’t included in the college football playoff equation. Alabama has managed the CFP in seven out of eight seasons since its inception. However, a two-loss team had never made the playoffs under the current system, and the fact that Alabama had no chance of winning a conference championship made the idea that they would be first all the more unlikely.
However, with the regular season on the books, here we are ahead of the conference championship weekend and the idea of Alabama sneaking into the playoffs doesn’t sound completely crazy anymore. In fact, a bettor believes that the dream is alive and well.
Big bet on Alabama
After determining that Alabama would not participate in the SEC championship game, the odds makers took the odds for Alabama to win the national championship off the board. It seemed like they didn’t have a realistic way to get there, so the odds makers didn’t care.
However, after a string of results muddied the waters over the past two weeks, BetMGM brought Alabama back on the table on Sunday. Alabama was 25-to-1 to win the national championship. Immediately, a weather shot in New Jersey.
The bettor bet $5,000 on Alabama to win it all. If Alabama makes it, the bet pays out $125,000. Obviously, the odds suggest Alabama has a long way to go to get in. However, if they do get in, they have the potential to become dangerous. They have arguably the best coach in college football history and the defending Heisman champion at quarterback.
How does Alabama get in?
As we sit here on Monday, the playoff picture looks pretty straightforward. Georgia will step in, probably even if it loses to LSU in the SEC championship game. However, this is not a problem for most as Georgia are favorites with 17 points. Michigan is in a similar position after its big win over Ohio State. The Wolverines are 16.5-point favorites against Purdue in the Big Ten championship game.
TCU is where you can start questioning things. The Horned Frogs are just 2.5-point favorites over Kansas State in the Big 12 championship game. Will TCU still come in if they lose the game? Most people think they should, but conferences like the Big 12 will always have their suspicions.
USC is in an even more precarious position than TCU. The Trojans are 3-point favorites over Utah in the Pac 12 championship game. You have to win the game to get in. Of course, Utah is responsible for USC’s only loss to this point.
If Georgia, Michigan, TCU and USC all win their conference championship games, there is no hope for Alabama. When one or two of them lose, especially TCU or USC, suddenly the door opens.
It will be interesting to see if Ohio State or Alabama are ranked higher by the committee on Tuesday. Ohio State has only one loss, but it was a blowout loss at home. Alabama has two losses, but both came out in the final seconds. If Alabama is fifth on Tuesday and USC loses to Utah, suddenly Alabama could step in. Even if Alabama is sixth and both USC and TCU lose, there will be real conversation.
A lot has gone right for Alabama in the past few weeks. Clemson picked up a second loss and so did Tennessee. The Tide needs a few more things to run properly this week. In many power rankings and models, they are the second or third best team in the country.
We’re talking a 25-to-1 long shot here, so the odds are obviously not good. It remains to be seen whether this $5,000 bet on Alabama was a stroke of genius or a complete waste of money. We’ll find out within a week.
Current national championship odds
Here are BetMGM’s current odds on which team will win the College Football Playoff National Championship:
Ohio State (13 to 1)