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Clemson early favorite to dominate ACC, win national championship

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Brad Edwards previews the 2020 college football season based on FPI rankings, with Clemson and Ohio State standing at the top while Texas and Texas A&M are surprisingly in the top 10. (1:48)

The Clemson Tigers have won five consecutive ACC championships, going 43-2 in conference play during that stretch, and oddsmakers expect the Tigers' ACC dominance to continue this season but aren't convinced that coach Dabo Swinney's squad is the best in the nation.

Caesars Sportsbook has installed Clemson as a giant -600 favorite to win the ACC championship game. The Tigers are the second-largest preseason favorite in a Power 5 conference since 2010, behind only the Clemson team of last season (-650).

Clemson's season-win total opened at 11.5 at Caesars Sportsbook, with the vigorish tilted toward the over, meaning the Tigers are favored to complete a third straight unbeaten regular season. Clemson's win total is the highest in the nation.

With quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne returning -- and a seemingly smoother path through conference play than other contenders -- the Tigers also have emerged as the consensus favorites to win the national championship. At DraftKings' sportsbook, more bets have been placed on Clemson to win the national championship than have been bet on any other team.

Jeff Davis, director of trading for Caesars Sportsbooks, says while Clemson is the favorite, Ohio State and Alabama are higher up in his power ratings.

"We would make both Ohio State and Alabama small favorites over Clemson if they were to play today," Davis said. "Clemson has the shortest odds strictly because of their schedule."

Clemson faces Akron, Notre Dame, The Citadel and South Carolina in nonconference play. Clemson is a touchdown favorite over the Fighting Irish in early point spreads for the Nov. 7 showdown in South Bend, Indiana.

Clemson and Ohio State are the only two odds-on favorites to win their conference title games in the Power 5. The Buckeyes are -140 at Caesars Sportsbook to win the Big Ten championship game, followed by Penn State (+450) and Wisconsin (+550).

Alabama, at +125, is the favorite in the SEC for an 11th straight season. The last time the Crimson Tide were not the preseason favorites in the SEC was 2009, when Florida started as the chalk in Tim Tebow's senior season.

LSU, last year's national champion, opened at +800 to win the SEC, behind four teams at Caesars Sportsbook. Georgia (+350), Florida (+400) and Auburn (+600), along with Alabama, have better odds than LSU.

Oklahoma (+150) is the favorite in the Big 12, and Oregon (+200) is the early favorite in the Pac-12.

Even with uncertainty surrounding the college football season due to the coronavirus pandemic, the college football betting market is taking shape. On Sunday, Las Vegas sportsbook Circa Sports posted odds on 367 different players to win the Heisman Trophy. Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields is the favorite.