If there’s ever a college football season that an “outsider” team can win the national title, then it might be this year. Many top programs look beatable, which could open the door for a dark horse team to make a run. Read this to get our favorite outsider bets on a potential 2022 NCAAF champion.
Before we go any further, let’s take a hard look at the current title odds, as set by the most popular college football betting sites. These are the programs most favored to win the College Football Playoff at years end:
Since the CFP was first introduced, the same few programs have dominated the playoff picture year in and year out — Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, and Ohio State. To no one’s surprise, all four are atop the aforementioned NCAAF title odds. None of our picks to follow will be on these teams. Remember, we’re picking outsider teams only, and we’re doing so because, well, the powerhouses aren’t looking completely unbeatable like usual.
Let’s start with the reigning champions, Georgia. They had to overcome a 13-point deficit last weekend to beat Missouri. The week before, the Dawgs “only” beat Kent State by 17 points. Georgia is 5-0, sure, but none of these performances are wowing anyone, including their coach Kirby Smart.
Alabama suffered a scare last weekend when Bryce Young appeared to injure his shoulder. He is day-to-day this week with a matchup against Texas A&M looming. Maybe it’s not a serious issue yet, but it could become one if he takes a few more hits. Nick Saban’s team can contend no matter who’s under center, but a Heisman winner like Young puts them over the top, so keeping him at 100 percent is incredibly important.
Clemson is 5-0 but needed double overtime to beat Wake Forrest two weeks ago. Signal caller DJ Uiagalelei is much improved from a year ago. However, until he faces stiff competition, the jury is still out whether he can compete for a national title like his predecessors, Trevor Lawrence and Deshaun Watson.
Of the four powerhouses, the one taking care of business the most so far is Ohio State. This high/octane offense has picked up where they left off a year ago, as they’ve now put up at least 44 points in four straight games. C.J. Stroud’s Vegas odds to win the Heisman remain sky-high.
Alright, enough about the “Big Four” let’s turn our attention to under-the-radar bets in the sport. We’ll cover that in the section below.
Best Darkhorse Bets To Win 2023 College Football National Title
You don’t want to overdo it with dark horse bets on the 2023 college football champion. You can guarantee that at least two, probably three, powerhouse teams will get bids to the College Football Playoff. That’s because one spot is a virtual lock for whoever wins the ACC, Big 10, and SEC (where all four powerhouse teams fall into). We think there’s room for two outsider bets and these programs are the ones we’re eyeing with our money:
The Lincoln Riley Kool-Aid tastes great here, doesn’t it? Riley has been a miracle man for the Trojans in Year One, which warrants a look here.
Playing in the Pac-12 is a double-edged sword for USC. On the one hand, they have a clear path to the CFP that doesn’t involve beating another top-5-caliber team (Ohio State has to contend with Michigan and Bama-Georgia are in the usual power-grab situation). No formidable opponent exists for the Trojans (we think Utah is overrated), but at the same time, they have zero margins for error too. Even one season loss could ruin their CFP resume in that so-so conference.
Still, we love USC in this spot. We knew Riley could spark the offense, but even the defensive improvements for the Trojans have been big.
USC Trojansto win the 2023 NCAAF national championship
The Vols have been the surprise team of the NCAA season so far. They are 4-0 behind a high-powered offense averaging 48.5 points per game and racked up more than 415 yards in total offense in all four games this year. Could Tennessee keep this up?
They’ll be tested mightily in the SEC. Alabama and Georgia remain on the season schedule — the former at home and the latter on the road. The game against the Dawgs is the must-win game that could potentially decide the SEC East. But given Georgia’s play so far, it’s not unreasonable to think the Vols can play spoilers. If so, Tennessee’scurrent +6000 betting line would be a steal.
Tennessee Volsto win the 2023 NCAAF national championship
The days of going to Las Vegas to make sports bets are long gone. With the Internet, you have sportsbooks at your fingertips — all hours of the day and across the country. Hit one of the bookies below to lock in your 2023 NCAAF futures bets. Multiple payment methods are supported on these sites. Therefore, you can go from reading this sentence to wagering in minutes. Start your betting journey by hitting the “play now” button below!
Eric has had a deep love for sports since the age of 10. This love has driven him to choose a career in sports journalism, where he covered different sporting events, from high school games to professional leagues, over the course of several years. Today, Eric channels his sports passion into betting and when not sharing his betting expertise here, you can find him at a sportsbook.