Buy or Sell Top 2022 College Football Playoff Contenders | Launderer’s report
0 out of 5
Brynn Anderson/Associated Press
Mid-May is the quietest time on the college football calendar. Spring practice is over, fall camp is months away and all we have to do is imagine the season ahead.
However, predicting the national champion is still on the mind.
When the 2022 College Football Playoffs end, will Georgia have finished a straight run? Will one of the states of Alabama, Clemson or Ohio have regained the throne? Does a small group candidate—maybe Texas A&M, USC or Utah—met its best scenario?
Based on DraftKings odds (accurate as of May 16), we are buying or selling the top 15 title contenders in 2022.
1 out of 5
Barry Reeger/Associated Press
Florida Alligators (+6000)
The question for Florida is simple: can you sail in Georgia? Last year, rival Dawgs crushed the Gators 34-7 en route to a national championship. As is the case with most coaching hires, the arrival of Billy Napier brought a wave of optimism. But predicting a CFP trip—much less a title—in its first season would be incredibly bold.
Penn State Nittany Lions (+6000)
Longtime quarterback Sean Clifford is back for a sixth year at Penn State, which started 5-0 last season before finishing 7-6. The Nittany Lions’ main concern is the offensive line, given they ranked 117th in yards per carry in 2021. On paper, it’s hard to get worse. In reality, there’s no guarantee of improvement, especially since Penn State shares a division with Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State and goes to Auburn.
LSU Tigers (+5500)
The schedule is nasty for LSU next season. During conference play, the Tigers travel to Auburn, Florida and Texas A&M. Although they host Alabama, location doesn’t matter much with a 1-9 regular season mark against Nick Saban’s team over the past decade. Nine wins would be a good year for Brian Kelly in his LSU debut.
Oregon Ducks (+5500)
Yes, the Ducks open the season with a not-so-neutral site matchup with Georgia in Atlanta. Lose there, and their margin for error is slim. Nonetheless, a large majority of Oregon’s toughest expected games—BYU, UCLA, Washington and Utah—are in Eugene. The offensive line and linebacker units should also be among the best in the Pac-12. The QB situation is reason enough to sell, but you could imagine a path to the CFP for the Ducks.
2 out of 5
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Wisconsin Badgers (+5000)
Until proven otherwise, Wisconsin will be considered a consistently competitive team that is prone to a few slumps offensively. This perception can change, but it largely depends on the passing game. Graham Mertz averaged just 6.9 yards per attempt last season, and Chimere Dike is the only returning player to have at least 100 receiving yards in 2021.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (+4500)
Similar to Oregon, Notre Dame is gearing up for an extremely tough opener at Ohio State. The good news for the Fighting Irish is that the rest of the schedule is quite manageable after this trip to Columbus. If Tyler Buchner or Drew Pyne impress at QB, the defensive-minded Irish can enter a November roster that includes Clemson (home) and USC (away) on the edge of the CFP picture.
Utah Utes (+4500)
The defending Pac-12 champions have lost several key pieces, but Cam Rising and Tavion Thomas make for a dynamic QB-WR combination. They will be the base of the Utes roster, which starts 2022 in Florida but otherwise has a few winnable games-but The State of San Diego is not to be taken lightly—before the level of competition increases in October.
3 out of 5
AJ Mast/Associated Press
Michigan Wolverines (+4000)
Be prepared for UM to have a perpetual QB scenario, eespecially since a limited shoulder injury JJ McCarthy in spring. McCarthy, a 5 stars prospect in 2021, will push to replace Cade McNamara, the starter of last season’s Big Ten champion team. Not only do the Wolverines start the season with four favorable home games, they only travel four times in 2022. Iowa and Ohio State will be tough trips, but Michigan has another big opportunity ahead of them. .
Oklahoma Sooners (+3500)
Besides the UCF transfer Dillon Gabriel to QB, Oklahoma has questions about virtually every unit. Despite—and 2022 being Brent Venables’ first season in Norman—the Sooners remain the Big 12 favorite. When an annual conference favorite has those odds, it’s worth considering.
USC Trojans (+3000)
The best time to jump on the bandwagon is probably before the start of the season. USC alternates home and road competition with Rice, Stanford, Fresno State, Oregon State and Arizona State to start 2022, so there’s a path to 5- 0. However, Trojans are an untested group that relies heavily on transfers. Everything that fits perfectly into the first season of Lincoln Riley will be a huge challenge.
Texas A&M Aggies (+2800)
Texas A&M beat Alabama last season and was promoted to quarterback with LSU transfer Max Johnson. Of course, the defensive line must be reorganized. Yes, the Aggies lost their best running back and wide receiver. But this initial combination more the highest-rated recruiting class in history and home-schooling schedule give Texas A&M an intriguing outlook in 2022.
4 out of 5
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press
Clemson Tigers (+1200)
Fittingly, Clemson is safely ahead of the previous group but noticeably behind the top three.
Although the Tigers did not win the ACC in 2021—ending a six-year streak—they are still league favorites. The main reason for this is that Clemson should have one of the best defenses in the country, mainly because of an absurdly stacked D-line.
On the other hand, Clemson has a lot to prove offensively after the unit ranked 103rd nationally in yards per game and 82nd in points per game last season. A marked advance, especially for quarterback DJ Uiagalelei, must occur as the offense also shifts from longtime caller Tony Elliott to Brandon Streeter.
Clemson just needs to navigate back-to-back games at Wake Forest (Sept. 24) and at home at North Carolina State (Oct. 1). Do that, and the Tigers will feature to join the CFP discussion.
5 out of 5
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Ohio State Buckeyes (+450)
If the Buckeyes win the national title, it will likely mean their defense has made substantial improvements under freshman coordinator Jim Knowles. However, the strength of this lineup clearly lies in quarterback CJ Stroud, running back TreVeyon Henderson and receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Good luck finding a better QB-RB-WR trio.
Georgia Bulldogs (+340)
Considering what Georgia lost to the NFL, a new championship would be hard won. Other than Alabama, however, no program has recruited at such a high level as UGA, which means the Dawgs have the talent to make another run. As if that weren’t enough, Kirby Smart’s 58-10 record over the past half-decade should help.
Alabama Crimson Tide (+200)
Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Bryce Young and Heisman Trophy-winning Will Anderson Jr. are probably the two best players in the country. Alabama has reached the college football playoffs seven times in its eight-year history. Let’s not think too much about this.
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