Notre Dame and Michigan are very popular bets to make the College Football Playoff

Notre Dame needs to replace a lot of key players from last year’s College Football Playoff team. But bettors like their chances to get back to the playoff.

The Fighting Irish are +700 at BetMGM to be one of the four playoff teams at the end of the 2021 season and nearly 25% of playoff wagers are on the Irish to make the semifinals again. Notre Dame, a team that returns just nine starters, is far and away the most-bet team. Georgia (+160) is second with 13.5% of tickets while Iowa State (+450) is third at 12.3% of wagers.

Big money isn’t on Georgia or Iowa State either. Combined, bets on those two teams make up just 13% of the handle — the total money wagered. Notre Dame’s handle is 27.2%.

That’s second to Michigan. Big-money bettors really like Michigan’s chances of making the playoff. Or perhaps they’re just tantalized by the big odds available. Just 6.1% of tickets are on the Wolverines, but those wagers make up nearly a third — 32.6% — of the total handle. Michigan is at +2000 to make the playoff.

The Wolverines’ odds to make the playoff are worse than Cincinnati (+1100), North Carolina (+1000) and Arizona State (+1000). They are also the same as Ole Miss and Auburn, two SEC teams who may not even finish in the top three of their division.

Fellow Big Ten teams Ohio State (-275), Wisconsin (+800), Penn State (+1300), and Iowa (+1500) have better odds to make the playoff than Michigan. Indiana is also at +2000 to win the national title.

Outside of Notre Dame and Michigan, there aren’t any other teams who have more than 7.3% of the handle at BetMGM. Cincinnati is the fourth-most bet team at 8.2% but those wagers make up just 3.7% of the handle.

Low odds for the consensus top three

A big reason there aren’t that many popular bets outside of Notre Dame and Michigan is because of the low odds of the consensus top three teams in the country. Clemson is a staggering -1000 to make the playoff again while Alabama is at -350 to make the playoff. Ohio State has the third-lowest odds while Oklahoma is fourth at -225.

If you like Georgia’s chances of making the playoff, you might find some value there. The Bulldogs are the No. 5 favorite at +160, the top team on the board providing a better than even return. Iowa State is sixth while Texas A&M (+500), Oregon (+600), USC (+600) and Washington (+600) round out the top 10.

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