Last Updated: 2017-11-10
Hello again, degenerates. The finish line is in sight. We are very close to conference championship weekend, and bowl season, and the playoff. We’re right on the doorstep. To help pass the time while we wait to see “Who’s In?” lets field some more questions about the futures market.
With the Top 4 remaining unchanged in the CFP Rankings, did the Top 4 in the futures market stay the same as well?
Yes and no. The 4 biggest favorites are indeed the 4 playoff teams, but something interesting has happened with Clemson. Basically, all their value went away, and it makes sense because NC State was a formidable opponent capable of derailing the Tigers’ playoff run. I’ve written in this space before about Clemson as a “buy” team the last couple weeks, and in a way, I sort of saw this moment coming. It doesn’t mean I think Clemson is going to win the title again, just that now their price is actually in a range I would consider reasonable. If I hadn’t given out Notre Dame before the season (lockylockerson.com, no really, check it out), and then again on this site forever ago, I still think their odds are pretty good for a team that controls its own destiny. Betting anyone else involves taking a pretty big leap of faith, and I think the odds are now “fair.” If you gave me a hundred dollars and said bet this on a team right now, I’m probably still betting it on Clemson, but not with the haste I once would have. The second hundred would probably be bet on Notre Dame.
Is there a team not currently in the Top 4 who seems to present value?
I can’t believe I have to write these words again, but yet another week goes by and here we are. TCU has value, for about the 9th time in 11 weeks. It’s really just getting annoying at this point, even for me to write it. The team has lost one game, and it was a game they statistically dominated at Iowa State, but ultimately a game they lost due to turnovers in the red zone. The record is spotless besides that, and that includes a win at Oklahoma State. They have 2 hurdles remaining, one of which is this Saturday, and the 2nd might be against the same team, depending on how things play out. If you like TCU plus the points this weekend, betting them at 45/1 is not a terrible idea (nor is betting them to make the playoff, currently +400). Again, those of us holding 100/1+ tickets from before the season just want to get this game over with and know where we stand. The crazy thing to consider here is that TCU has the longest odds of the “realistic” playoff contenders, and yet in the latest CFP rankings, they are 6th, facing the team 1 spot ahead of them. To me, this puts them in a much more destiny-controlling situation than either Washington or Wisconsin, and yet those teams have lower odds due to their schedule. In my mind, that is a mistake.
Is there a realistic “chaos” scenario in which a longshot can actually make the playoff?
The only one I will even entertain in conversation with others involves Auburn. Even then, I don’t know. But if Auburn beats Georgia, and then Alabama, and then Georgia again (and by the way, think about that. They have to beat 2 teams, one of them twice, and those 2 teams have lost a combined 0 games), that sets off a potential domino effect through the remaining games of the season which gets Auburn to the playoff in some situations. The absurdity of that combination of victories actually means their CFP odds should be much, much higher, but because everyone thinks chaos is around the corner, Auburn and TCU’s odds are almost exactly the same. Sometimes, I just don’t know about us humans. The other side of this is, if you are being talked into betting a non-Auburn 2-loss team, you are lighting money on fire and should just PayPal me the money instead. I’ll go buy a sandwich and a beer. You’ll make me happy.
Is there any way Baker Mayfield can lose the Heisman except for an injury?
It’s tough to see a scenario that is likely, but scenarios do exist, of course. The biggest thing about the radical shift in the Heisman market in just 1 week was not that Mayfield played great, and the others did not, but it was that the teams the other contenders played for lost as well. The losses by Penn State (and Barkley), and Ohio State (and Barrett) were just so damaging, because it removed any “big game” stage from their arsenal the rest of the season. Barkley could tear up defenses the next 3 weeks, but those games are on the smallest of stages as of now. Even if Barrett tears up Michigan, everyone’s so down on Michigan that the performance probably just gets him invited to New York to come in 3rd. Meanwhile, Mayfield has the playoff-eliminator against TCU Saturday, then the Big 12 title game possibly, creating more “big stage” moments. Mayfield’s price as of now essentially reflects that opinion.
The path to victory for ANY other contender (and I’m not sure there’s one to like more than the others right now) begins and ends with a TCU victory Saturday in which Mayfield does not play well. TCU’s pass defense makes this a tantalizing if ultimately unlikely possibility. If Mayfield rolls TCU, an argument can be made that the race is then over. If the TCU victory scenario plays out, things then get incredibly murky, because Barkley, Love, Barrett and Mayfield would all have multiple losses. What if Josh Adams rebounds from his injured off night and puts up big numbers? The picture gets cloudy at best, and you would really be able to make a case for a lot of different players at that point.