Most of the buzz in the college football futures market revolves around who will make the College Football Playoff. Bettors are always trying to find an undervalued long shot that could sneak its way in.
Now that two-way odds are popping up more frequently, I think there's actually more value on who will be left out. With only four spots available and two teams - Clemson and Alabama - expected to make it, you can fade a lot of programs.
We'll take stances on both sides, with the five best bets to make or miss the postseason.
The Fighting Irish had a solid year en route to a playoff berth last season. They also lucked out in both their scheduling and competition. Notre Dame got Michigan and Stanford at home, played against Syracuse's backup quarterback, and somehow caught Navy, Florida State, USC, and Virginia Tech all on down years. Also, they only played four true road games. Not to discredit an undefeated season, but a lot went right for the Fighting Irish.
Notre Dame doesn't have a ton of room for error to make the postseason, given it doesn't have a conference championship game. The program likely needs another undefeated season in 2019 to return, and I think that's a reach.
With road games at Georgia, Michigan, and Stanford, as well as contests against Virginia Tech and USC, there are two, possibly three losses on that schedule for a team replacing a ton of last year's production. I want nothing to do with the Fighting Irish this year.
LSU has arguably the highest ceiling of any non-Alabama team in the SEC.
The Tigers made one of the most underrated hires this winter when they brought in wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator Joe Brady. Brady, who spent the last two seasons as an offensive assistant with the New Orleans Saints, might be the key ingredient for LSU to blossom offensively. A fast-tempo, RPO-based scheme should be a perfect system for quarterback Joe Burrow to thrive in.
Defensively, it'll be business as usual. LSU's secondary features one of the top overall players in the country in safety Grant Delpit, as well as five-star cornerback Derek Stingley Jr.
If you're taking a shot on any team in the SEC not named Alabama, this is it.
Here's one you'd have to pony up some coin on. But overall, this is a tragic number on the Gators, who might be the fourth-best team in their own conference.
Perhaps it was the blowout win over a deflated Michigan team in the Peach Bowl last season, or just your typical Florida hype, but head coach Dan Mullen and Co. are garnering an awful lot of attention. I just don't see it.
The Gators won a couple of one-score games last season, bullied a Wolverines team fresh off a blowout loss to Ohio State, and also beat a sub-.500 Florida State team. This season, Florida plays LSU, Missouri, and South Carolina on the road, draws Auburn and Georgia at home, and gets two tough ACC games against Florida State and Miami. I don't think the Gators will conjure up the magic to make a run.
I wouldn't mind looking at 20-1 on a Big Ten team nobody's really talking about. Ohio State and Michigan still pace the conference, and the entire nation seems high on Nebraska. There's no love for the Badgers, who return the best offensive player in the conference in running back Jonathan Taylor and got seemingly better when quarterback Alex Hornibrook transferred to FSU.
Conference play will be tough for Wisconsin this year, with road dates against Ohio State, Nebraska, and Minnesota. But in sizing up the Big Ten as a whole, Wisconsin starts to look more and more attractive at this number.
The Pac-12 could be another good fade as it attempts to break a two-year playoff drought. While Utah, Oregon, and Washington will duke it out atop the conference, the Huskies are the team I'm lowest on this season.
A program that relies so heavily on defensive production has to replace a lot of it. Washington lost defensive backs Byron Murphy and Taylor Rapp, as well as linebacker and defensive captain Ben Burr-Kirven, to the draft. Overall, the Huskies will be the least-experienced defensive team in the country.
There certainly could be a team out of the conference to win 11 games and make a case for a bid. I don't think Washington's that team.
Alex Kolodziej is a betting writer for theScore. He's a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 12 years. He can quote every line from "Rounders" and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AlexKoIodziej.