All college football national championship futures odds at the time of this writing are courtesy of BetOnline.com.
Washington Huskies (+2000)
The current college football futures odds on Washington winning this upcoming season’s national championship are extremely attractive and presents a plethora of preseason betting value. The Huskies return 17 starters from last year’s 10-3 team. As a matter of fact, Washington has gone a combined 22-5 the past 2 seasons under head coach Chris Peterson, and that included a spot in the 2016 College Football Playoffs.
Washington returns 9 starters from a defense that allowed 16 points or less in 9 of 13 games a season ago. Nevertheless, their key to a potential national championship run will mainly rest on the shoulders of 4th year starting quarterback Jake Browning. When Washington won the PAC-12 championship and reached the College Football Playoffs 2 seasons ago, Browning was nothing short of spectacular. During that 2016 campaign, Browning threw for 3430 yards while tossing 43 touchdown passes and was intercepted only 9 times in 391 attempts. Besides his career high 68.5% completion rate in 2017, Browning’s numbers dipped substantially last year. I expect the seasoned signal caller to bounce back with an outstanding 2018 season.
If indeed Browning returns to his 2016 form, and Washington’s defense lives up to their high expectations, the Huskies will be a formidable force. They will be tested right out of the gate when opening up against Auburn in Atlanta on 9/1. They do get Stanford at home and USC isn’t on their regular season slate. I like the Washington Huskies for one of my 2018 college football national championship futures picks.
Wisconsin Badgers (+2500)
Paul Chryst will enter his 4th season as head coach at Wisconsin. All the Badgers have done in his first 3 years is go a combined 34-7. Wisconsin went a perfect 12-0 during their 2017 regular season schedule and then had their national championship hopes come crashing down during a 27-21 defeat to Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game. Despite being snubbed by the College Football Playoff Committee, Wisconsin showed its character during a 34-24 Orange Bowl win over Miami.
Wisconsin will return 9 players on the offensive side of the ball including leading rusher and 2018 Heisman Trophy candidate Jonathan Taylor. The 214-pound junior running back rushed for an eye popping 1977 yards in 2017. Additionally, last year’s starting quarterback Alex Hornibrook is also back. The 6’4 junior threw for 2644 yards and 25 touchdowns in 2017.
There are some questions marks on the Badgers defense with just 4 starters returning. However, they do return preseason 1st team All American linebacker T.J. Edwards from a stop unit that allowed 17 points or less during 11 of their 14 games.
Barring something unforeseen, Wisconsin will be a double-digit favorite in all 7 of their 2018 home games. They do face a killer road schedule in which they face Iowa, Michigan, Northwestern, Penn State, and Purdue. On a positive note, Ohio State isn’t on their regular season agenda.
I’m predicting an 11-1 regular season and then a win over Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game. Unlike last year, 12-1 will be good enough for them to be invited into the 4-team College Football Playoff field, and then anything can happen from there. At betting odds of 25-1, Wisconsin will be one of my preseason college football national championship picks.