Good news everybody… it’s only seven months and 24 days until the start of the next college football season. And while there is still a little bit of time to handicap which teams are the best bets to play in the 2019 College Football Playoff title game, Covers thought it best to strike while the iron is still hot.
The oddsmakers at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas must have had the same idea in mind because they were kind enough to release their odds to win the 2019 college football national championship.
There isn’t much value in picking one of the favorites to win in the preseason and there isn’t much point considering a school playing outside of the Power Five conferences. If College Football Playoff selection committee isn’t going to put an undefeated team from the sixth-best conference in the sport (UCF and AAU), it certainly isn’t going to entertain the idea of inviting, say, Florida Atlantic to the four-team playoff.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of our favorite medium/long shots to lift the crystal football this time next year.
Auburn Tigers +2500
The team that beat both of the participants in the title game returns next season with its starting quarterback and that’s a big deal. Jarrett Stidham was 120 yards shy of breaking Auburn’s single-season record for passing yards and decided to come back for a second season with the War Eagle.
The Tigers will lose their lead running back and SEC Player of the Year Kerryon Johnson, but they’ve been a consistent force on the ground under head coach Gus Malzahn with three top 10 finishes in rushing yards per game.
The 2018 schedule is daunting beginning with a Week 1 showdown against Washington. The Tigers play at Georgia in November and next year’s Iron Bowl is at Alabama.
Miami Hurricanes +2500
Loyal Miami supporters will tell you 2017 wasn’t supposed to be the year the Hurricanes would take off despite their 10-0 start to the campaign. Head coach Mark Richt did all he could to hide starting quarterback Malik Rozier and the thought is the team’s offense will be more potent with N’Kosi Perry taking over under center.
The ‘Canes are expecting big things from running back Travis Homer and wide receiver Ahmmon Richards, but they are losing three of their four starters from a defensive line that helped them finish first in sacks and third in tackles for loss.
Miami will be tested in Week 1 when it plays against LSU at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Texas Longhorns +2500
Baker Mayfield and Mason Rudolph are heading to the pros and, in the process, throwing a wrench in the hierarchy of the Big 12. With Oklahoma and Oklahoma State looking for new quarterbacks to lead their offenses, the door could open for a defensive-minded team.
Texas ranked third in the Big 12 in total points allowed (260) and second in total defense. The Longhorns had the ninth-best recruiting class in 2016 and the 10th-best in 2017 according to ESPN’s class rankings. Those players will be entering their sophomore and junior years as head coach Tom Herman enters his second year in charge of the program.
Texas’ toughest non-conference test comes in Week 3 when the USC Trojans come to town. The Longhorns lost 27-24 at Southern Cal this past season but covered as 17-point underdogs.
South Carolina Gamecocks +20,000
OK, this choice might seem unlikely, but the price is right. The Gamecocks are coming off a win and cover against Michigan in the Outback Bowl and return starting quarterback Jake Bentley along with a number of other key contributors.
South Carolina went 9-4 straight up (7-4-2 ATS) with the 48th-toughest schedule in college football. That's nothing to sneeze at,. Head coach Will Muschamp made a switch at offensive coordinator which should improve on a unit that held the team back in 2017.
Here's a complete list of the Westgate's odds to win the 2019