2021 College football futures: Best bets, picks & predictions
Week 1 of the college football season has arrived, and before the games kick off, it’s time to preview the best 2021 college football futures to make at BetRivers.com. Although Alabama is the heavy favorite to win the National Championship, thanks to 56% of the handle and 55% of the bets, there are several futures worth a look given the value each bet represents.
Longtime college sports writer Rob Dauster, the co-founder of The Field of 68 and The Field of 12 Network is here to provide his picks and predictions on some of the more tantalizing 2021 college football futures bets.
2021 COLLEGE FOOTBALL FUTURES:
OKLAHOMA NATIONAL TITLE (+600)
The way I see it, there are four teams at the top of the college football pyramid this season: Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma. Alabama is starting a new quarterback, Bryce Young, as Mac Jones has moved on to the Patriots. Clemson is starting a new quarterback, as D.J. Uiagalelei is taking over for No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence. Ohio State has a new starter, as C.J. Stroud beat out the field for the right to try and replace Justin Fields.
They are the only member of that group to bring back their superstar under center. Spencer Rattler is a monster. His numbers speak for themselves. He finished last season with 3,031 yards and 28 touchdowns with his arm to go along with 160 yards and another six touchdowns with his legs. And if that’s not enough to get you to buy in, the Sooners bring back a ton of talent at their skill positions while adding Kennedy Brooks — a 1,000-yard rusher that opted out of last season — and Eric Gray — a transfer that Tennessee that had more than 1,000 total yards and six touchdowns last season.
Throw in the fact that the Sooners finished last season ranked sixth in Defensive Havoc — a metric that, essentially, determines how much trouble a defensive unit causes — and I love the Sooners this year, especially considering they’re priced as the fourth-best team in the land.
National Championship Odds: Alabama (+330), Clemson (+350), Ohio State (+450), Oklahoma (+600), Georgia (+700), Iowa State (+4000), Texas A&M (+4000), Florida (+5000), LSU (+5000), Notre Dame (+8000), North Carolina (+8000), Penn State (+8000), Wisconsin (+8000), Oregon (+8000), Miami (+8000)
But I get it if you’re off Oklahoma. They’ve yet to prove themselves in the Playoffs, so if you don’t like Oklahoma at that number …
SPENCER RATTLER HEISMAN (+550)
… you can just fire at Rattler to win the Heisman.
The formula to winning the most famous trophy in college football is simple: Be a quarterback, put up crazy numbers, play on a team that’s going to be really, really good and win a lot of games. Oklahoma’s probably going to win the Big 12. They’re probably going to make the college football playoff. Rattler’s probably going to better the numbers he put up last season, which would be good enough to get him into the Heisman mix.
He may be the odds-on favorite, but I still think there’s value here.
There are two other dart-throws that I like for value when it comes to winning the Heisman:
- DESMOND RIDDER (+3300): Ridder plays for a Cincinnati team that I think has a sneaky chance to make a run at the Playoffs. The Bearcats should roll over the AAC this year, and they also get dates at Indiana and at Notre Dame, two top 15 teams. Ridder’s a four-year starter that has averaged 2,300 yards and 19 touchdowns as a passer, and is coming off of a year where he put up 592 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground. More on Cincinnati below …
- BREECE HALL (+4000): I know this is going against my QB theory, but I like Breece Hall to be the guy if Iowa State can somehow win the Big 12 and get into the Playoff. The Cyclones are built on their ground game, and Hall is the anchor. He’s coming off of a sophomore season where he put up 1,752 total yards and 23 total touchdowns, including a 136-yard, two-touchdown performance in a win over Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl.
Heisman Trophy Odds: Spencer Rattler (+550), D.J. Uiagalelei (+600), Bryce Young (+800), C.J. Stroud (+1000), JT Daniels (+1200), Sam Howell (+1700), Bijan Robinson (+2000), Matt Corral (+2000), D’Eriq King (+2000), Kedon Slovis (+2500), Emory Jones (+3300), Brock Purdy (+3300), Desmond Ridder (+3300), Casey Thompson (+4000), Breece Hall (+4000)
GEORGIA TO MAKE THE PLAYOFF (+135)
If there has been one thing that has held Georgia back in the last half-decade, it’s been what they’ve been able to produce on the offensive side of the ball. Enter J.T. Daniels, a transfer from USC that has morphed into being a Heisman contender as a junior with the Bulldogs. How about this for a stat: Daniels started four games last season. He threw for an average of 308 yards in those four games, including a pair of 300-yard performances and 299 yards he put up in a 35-point win at then-No. 25 Missouri. In five years under Kirby Smart, quarterbacks not named J.T. combined for four 300-yard passing games.
He’s the difference-maker and part of the reason Georgia is the overwhelming favorite to win the SEC East (-400). Now, the concern here is that Ohio State, Clemson and Oklahoma are all loaded, and Alabama is Alabama. Georgia could very well end up being the odd man out of a four-team playoff, but I do think that it’s important to note here that Georgia gets Clemson on a neutral field in the season-opener. Win that, lose the SEC title to Alabama and there is a strong argument to put the Bulldogs in the field over the Tigers.
There are multiple ways for Georgia to earn a spot, and they now have a quarterback that can carry them there.
CINCINNATI TO MAKE THE PLAYOFF (+1000)
I think it’s worth tossing a few dollars down on Cincinnati to make a cinderella appearance in the Playoffs. They should roll through the American, and with dates against Indiana and Notre Dame, they have chances to land the big wins they need to get the CFB Selection Committee to look past the five families of college football. They’re going to need a couple breaks to go their way — like, for example, Georgia losing to Clemson but winning the SEC, Iowa State winning the Big 12, etc. — but given the inexperience at quarterback for some of the biggest programs, it’s a gamble I do think has some value.