Let's Set Odds: How Many Teams will the College Football Playoff Eventually Have?

The College Football Playoff has decided not to expand until their contract expires at the end of 2026.
The College Football Playoff has decided not to expand until their contract expires at the end of 2026. / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The College Football Playoff is standing pat for the next four years.

After discussions of possible expansion before the contract runs out after the 2025 season, the committee decided that a field of four remains the best option moving forward.

Bill Hancock, the CFP's Executive Director, shared his perspective in a recently released statement.

“Even though the outcome did not lead to a recommendation for an early expansion before the end of the current 12-year contract, the discussions have been helpful and informative.

I am sure they will serve as a useful guide for the Board of Managers and for the Management Committee as we determine what the Playoff will look like beginning in the 2026-2027 season.”

The race for the final few spots in the Playoff was as competitive as ever during the 2021 season. One-loss Notre Dame ended up falling outside the top 4 due to their head-to-head loss against undefeated Cincinnati. Ohio State, Baylor, Ole Miss and Mississippi State all made compelling cases for possible inclusion as well, but fell short to teams with better records in one-loss teams in Alabama, Michigan and Georgia.

With just four more seasons left to play in the original contract, let's set odds on how many teams we might see in the CFP when the next contract is signed.

Note that these odds are not available at WynnBET Sportsbook, but plenty of opportunities for the upcoming college football season will be coming shortly!

Odds for How Many Teams will Be in the New College Football Playoff Contract

  • 4 (+125)
  • 6 (+150)
  • 8 (+200)
  • Other (+400)

4 Teams in the Next College Football Playoff Contract (+125)

After much deliberation, the CFB committee decided to go against the number one item that dictates these decisions: money!

More teams equals more revenue generated for each program and the NCAA, and Bill Hancock and their committee decided to stand pat with their current format for four more seasons; a lifetime in college athletics!

I make "4" the favorite based on the unwillingness to change while the sport has never been popular, as well as the likely need for the NCAA to try and re-coup more profits that are appropriately going into the hands of more of the athletes generating the revenue for the universities.

6 Teams in the Next College Football Playoff Contract (+150)

A six-team playoff would make plenty of sense from an opportunity standpoint. One way to do this would be for every winner of a power five conference getting in, with the last spot going to the "best of the rest" program like a Cincinnati from the 2021 season. This way, there is ensured of fair representation, and also puts more of an emphasis on winning your conference.

Is it entirely fair? Not quite. In this scenario, it would have been Alabama representing the SEC because they won the SEC Title game against Georgia. However, the Bulldogs entered the game undefeated; knowing a loss to Alabama would still get them into the CFP, making the title game less of a priority. If instead, the committee made it the best six teams in the country without considering who won the conference, we're right back to where we started with the four-team playoff.

8 Teams in the Next College Football Playoff Contract (+200)

Perhaps this offers too much value in the hypothetical betting market, but if the committee is already reserved on expanding outside of four, I have a hard time believing they'd have interest in doubling the number the first go-round.

A transition from four to six makes sense from the committee's perspective because they can add all the talking points they want about "fairness" to the smaller schools, while also prioritizing the Power 5 conferences as well.

Personally, I'm an advocate of an 8-team playoff purely from a fan perspective. Here's how the top 8 teams could have potentially lined up:

No 1. Alabama vs. No. 8 Ole Miss
No 2. Michigan vs. No. 7 Baylor
No 3. Georgia vs. No 6. Ohio State
No 4. Cincinnati vs. No. 5. Notre Dame

There's also a scenario in which the top four teams get a bye, leaving the 5-8 seeds to have to play one additional game to make the championship. That might be an easier ask for only half of the teams teams to potentially 15 games in a college season, but if the money talks, and the players are able to truly benefit from the opportunity, perhaps it's a different story.

Follow all of Ben Heisler's betting picks in real-time HERE!