College Football Playoff to Expand to 12 Teams, Expanding Betting Options
The College Football Playoff is set to finally be expanded. According to ESPN, the College Football Playoff’s board of managers unanimously voted on Friday to expand the CFP to 12 teams in 2026. However, the change could be implemented as soon as 2024 with the board pushing the sport’s commissioners to start it as soon as 2024.
"This is a historic and exciting day for college football," Mark Keenum, the president of Mississippi State and chairman of the CFP Board of Managers said. "More teams, more participation and more excitement are good for our fans, alumni, and student-athletes. I'm grateful to my colleagues on the board for their thoughtful approach to this issue and for their resolve to get expansion across the goal line and for the extensive work of the Management Committee that made this decision possible."
How the Expanded College Football Playoff Affects Bettors
Under the current format, there are just three CFP games with the two semifinals and the championship. The new 12-team tourney will give bettors more opportunities to bet on marquee college football games.
With the 12-team bracket, the four highest ranked conference champions will earn seeds No. 1 through No. 4 and receive a first-round bye. Seeds No. 5 through No. 12 will play each other in the first round on either the second or third weekend in December.
There will be four first-round matchups, before the quarterfinals and semifinals which will take place on a rotating basis. The championship game will remain at a neutral site. This new format will include a total of 11 games, giving bettors eight more chances to bet on the CFP.
The expanded format also brings more teams into play when it comes to future betting. Sportsbooks typically allow future props on whether a team will make the CFP, so expect odds on the top programs such as Alabama, Georgia and Ohio State to shorten in the future with more spots becoming available in the playoffs.
Longshots will also see shorter odds with the expansion, but it could make it easier to hit on a team 20/1 or longer with 12 teams now making it.
It’s also possible sportsbooks could see a slight boost in handle during December with the marquee playoff games.
The CFP is sure to draw betting interest with the increased level of hype, and compared to the other eight teams taking part in some bowl game that's essentially a glorified exhibition, they’ll now compete on a bigger stage, which should bring in more bets on those games, leading to higher handles across the country.
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