Special to Outkick The Coverage from OddsShark.com
Despite losing Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry to the NFL Draft and quarterback Jake Coker to graduation among many other key players, the Alabama Crimson Tide are the 6/1 betting favorite to defend their College Football Playoff national championship in 2017.
Henry’s loss would seem to be the biggest hole to fill for Alabama after the school won its fourth NCAA title in six years with a 45-40 victory against the Clemson Tigers.
However, the Crimson Tide has had a successful history of replacing its leading rusher with another top-rated player under head coach Nick Saban going back to its previous Heisman winner Mark Ingram, who passed the torch to Trent Richardson. Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon later followed, with all of them eventually getting drafted.
Clemson is the 7/1 second choice to win the 2017 national title and will have a couple key offensive pieces back playing in Death Valley.
Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson finished third in Heisman voting behind Henry and Stanford Cardinal running back Christian McCaffrey, but he will return for his junior season as will leading rusher Wayne Gallman, who totaled a school-record 1,527 yards as a sophomore.
Watson and Gallman combined for 2,632 yards and 25 touchdowns on the ground in 2015.
Alabama and Clemson were two of four teams in the final Top 25 rankings to finish with only one loss last season. The Ohio State Buckeyes and Houston Cougars were the others.
Ohio State hopes to get back to the College Football Playoff next season after winning the first-ever CFP Championship Game over the Oregon Ducks in 2015. The Buckeyes are 10/1 to win it behind another Big Ten rival in the Michigan Wolverines, who are listed at 9/1.
The Wolverines figure to be better in head coach Jim Harbaugh’s second year in Ann Arbor, extending his rivalry with Urban Meyer and Ohio State.
The Oklahoma Sooners and Michigan State Spartans rounded out last year’s CFP field, with the former having much better odds to return than the latter. The Sooners are also 10/1 to win the national championship and will have quarterback Baker Mayfield back for another season compared to 25/1 for the Spartans, who lose Connor Cook.
Odds to win the national championship in 2017:
1. Alabama 6/1
2. Clemson 7/1
3. Michigan 9/1
4. Ohio State 10/1
4. Oklahoma 10/1
6. LSU 13/1
6. Tennessee 13/1
6. Baylor 13/1
9. Florida State 16/1
9. Notre Dame 16/1
11. Stanford 20/1
12. Ole Miss 25/1
12. Michigan State 25/1
14. UCLA 30/1
14. Georgia 30/1
14. Auburn 30/1
14. TCU 30/1
18. Washington 40/1
18. Oregon 40/1
20. Oklahoma State 50/1
20. Florida 50/1