This might come as a shock to some readers, but when ESPN Analytics sat down to study the selection committee's tendencies as part of building our brand-new Playoff Predictor, it wasn't really with gambling in mind. There are a whole heck of a lot of folks who want to know how sure their team is to make the playoff, and what those chances look like if their team wins three straight, and exactly how likely its intradivision rival is to win the conference -- all without the prospect of winning some money in the end.
But the Playoff Predictor is an objective prediction system, so it's always worth noting how it differs from the betting market -- another prediction system. What you do with that information is up to you, but, again, our model wasn't built with beating Vegas in mind. It was designed to get inside the heads of committee members to know which teams they'll pick before even they do. It's like "Minority Report," for sports. At this moment, the Playoff Predictor thinks there are two teams with a better shot to win the national championship than they are being given credit for in Vegas.
(All lines courtesy of the Westgate Las Vegas Sportsbook)