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Clemson early favorite for next college football season

Clemson got clobbered in Monday’s College Football Playoff title game, but sportsbooks give the Tigers the best chance of winning it all next season.

Clemson was the plus-250 favorite at the Westgate on Tuesday afternoon in early odds for next year’s college football champion. Louisiana State, which beat Clemson 42-25 for the title Monday in New Orleans, was the fourth choice at plus 800.

The reason is simple: Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence will return for his junior season, while LSU Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow is a senior who is widely expected to be the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NFL draft.

Ohio State is the second choice at the Westgate at 4-1 after losing to Clemson 29-23 in the Fiesta Bowl in the CFP semifinals. Buckeyes quarterback and Heisman finalist Justin Fields will return for his junior season, but star running back J.K. Dobbins and Heisman finalist pass rusher Chase Young will depart for the NFL.

Alabama, which missed the playoff for the first time in its six-year history, is the the third choice at the Westgate at 5-1. (William Hill, which also had odds posted Tuesday, has the Crimson Tide at 6-1). Coach Nick Saban will turn to Mac Jones as the full-time replacement for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who is headed to the NFL after an injury-riddled junior season.

Georgia is tied with LSU as the fourth choice at the Westgate at 8-1 (10-1 at William Hill). The Bulldogs will have to replace quarterback Jake Fromm, who has also declared for the NFL draft. Jamie Newman, the quarterback at Wake Forest last season, has enrolled at Georgia as a graduate transfer and is expected to replace Fromm.

Oklahoma, the other team to reach this season’s playoff, is 20-1 at the Westgate (12-1 at William Hill) with Heisman finalist senior quarterback Jalen Hurts departing.

UNLV is 10,000-1 to win the playoff at the Westgate under new coach Marcus Arroyo.

Contact Jim Barnes at jbarnes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0277. Follow @JimBarnesLV on Twitter.

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