KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s odds to make the College Football Playoff might be better than some think 42 days before the season opener against Georgia Tech.
The gambling website Bovada released the 22 teams most likely to make the four-team College Football Playoff, and Tennessee tied for No. 20 on the list with TCU and Notre Dame.
Bovada gave the Vols 12-to-1 odds to make the playoff and 1/30 that they won’t.
Five SEC teams have better odds to make the playoff.
Alabama has the best odds in the country at 2/5 to make it and 7/4 to miss.
LSU, despite hiring coach Ed Orgeron last November, has the second-best odds in the SEC at 4/1.
Auburn keeps riding the hype around transfer quarterback Jarrett Stidham and has the 10th-best odds in the country at 6/1.
Tennessee’s biggest SEC East rivals, Georgia and Florida, tied at 12th best at 7/1.
Oddsmakers at Bovada must be putting some stock in coach Butch Jones’ ability to maintain a program at a certain level. Tennessee finished the last two seasons ranked in the Top 25 for the first time in a decade.
The Vols will be replacing a lot of talent at key positions, though. Tennessee had six players selected in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Former starting quarterback Josh Dobbs was among them. Dobbs scored a total of 40 touchdowns last season for the Vols and threw for 2,946 yards. The Pittsburg Steelers selected Dobbs with the No. 135 pick.
The same level of quarterback play — if not better — will be crucial for Tennessee to have any chance of making the playoff.
Junior Quinten Dormady and redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano have competed for the starting quarterback job this spring and summer.