It's never too early to place your bets on the Iowa Hawkeyes to win the 2011 National Championship.
Go ahead and chuckle, but Iowa's 11-2 record last season, along with their 2010 Orange Bowl Championship provides evidence that the Hawkeyes are legitimate national title contenders this season. The college football betting world supports that theory.
Belmont.com has Iowa at 30 to 1 to win the national title in 2011. The Hawkeyes trail only a dozen other teams, including Big Ten opponent Ohio State (5 to 1).
Some handicappers, like Jimmy Boyd of Locksmith Sports Picks, think Iowa is extremely undervalued at 30 to 1.
"Defense wins championships, and time and time again we see the truth in this statement," Boyd wrote in a recent blog post. "Iowa’s defense is top notch."
Aside from the stout Hawkeye defense, Vegas seems to like Iowa's favorable schedule this season, with Penn State, Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Ohio State all playing in the confines of Kinnick Stadium.
Bodog, the online gaming giant, seems to value Iowa more than most at 20 to 1. Only a handful of schools have better odds on Bodog.
National Sports Advisors, USA's self-proclaimed No. 1 sports handicapping service, has Iowa at +2000. NSA favors Alabama (+400) for the title with Ohio State a close runner-up (+550).
Sportsbook.com has Iowa +3000, same as it does Oklahoma. The Sooners are Prognosticator Phil Steele's No. 1 team on his recently released NCAA preseason polls.
Steele has Iowa at No. 14 in his preseason poll, revised from his earlier No. 6 assessment back in late February.
Las Vegas handicappers point to the Iowa-Ohio State showdown on Nov. 20 as having major National Championship ramifications.
As a reminder to handicappers...that game is played in Iowa City.