SEC Betting Preview: 5 Over/Under and Conference Winner Bets to Make
The best conference in college football, the SEC, has been dominated by one team recently: Alabama
Texas A&M was hot on their heels having beaten all of their other opponents but dropped the game in Tuscaloosa to finish with one loss. Florida edged out Georgia only to be demolished by the Tide in the SEC Championship.
Other teams got close, but Alabama proved too strong.
The Crimson Tide are coming into this season without many of their offensive stars from last season, however; quarterback Mac Jones, running back Najee Harris, and wide receivers Jaylen Waddle and Heisman winner DeVonta Smith were all drafted in the first round.
It says a lot about Nick Saban’s program that the Crimson Tide are still an overwhelming favorite to win the best conference in the country despite losing so much talent in this year’s draft.
Will they go on to earn their sixth SEC crown in eight years?
Here are the odds, via FanDuel Sportsbook, to win the SEC for each team as well as their over/under total for this upcoming season:
While Alabama is the obvious favorite behind five-star freshman quarterback Bryce Young on offense and three preseason all-SEC first team linebackers (Will Anderson, Christian Harris, and Henry To’o To’o) on defense, their schedule is somewhat difficult with road games against Florida, Texas A&M, and Auburn plus a neutral-site game against Miami.
The Crimson Tide will probably be favored in all of their games and make up a decently sized portion of the all-SEC team at the end of the year, but it’s not worth betting on them to win the SEC at the current price, so we’ll look elsewhere for our best futures bet.
Georgia brings back quarterback J.T. Daniels and seven other returning starters on offense, and they avoided potential West division opponents on their schedule in Alabama, Texas A&M, and LSU. Their most difficult game is at a neutral site against Clemson to open their season.
The Bulldogs arguably have the best defensive line in the conference behind preseason All-American Jordan Davis, who is a top NFL prospect at his position, as well. However, their odds are also too short, which means neither of the most likely teams to win the SEC are particularly valuable bets even though both the Tide and the Bulldogs are the most likely teams to advance to the SEC Championship.
Texas A&M has the third-best odds to win the conference and present the most value in a futures perspective. The Aggies are one of three West division teams to be ranked in the preseason poll (Alabama and LSU being the others), and they have a much easier schedule than both the Tide and the Tigers.
Texas A&M doesn’t have to play either Florida or Georgia, and they get to play Alabama at home. While the Aggies have turnover at the quarterback position with Kellen Mond being drafted to the NFL, they return all of their skill position players, including running back Isaiah Spiller and tight end Jalen Wydermyer, both of whom were all-SEC teamers last year and were named preseason all-SEC teamers this summer.
While Jimbo Fisher hasn’t named a starting quarterback yet for this season, the depth and talent of the backs and receivers around whomever wins the job will be enough to compete with the best teams in the country.
Coach O's Tigers are coming off a 5-5 season in which they were upset by Mississippi State and Missouri in two of their first three games. LSU was a double-digit favorite in each of those contests.
The Tigers rallied down the stretch with wins at Florida and against Ole Miss. While they're returning 18 starters, they have a brutal five-game stretch in their schedule during which they play Auburn, at Kentucky, Florida, at Ole Miss, and at Alabama.
Once again, the Tigers will have one of the best defenses in the country led by Derek Stingley, who continues the tradition of LSU employing one of the best defensive backs in college football. However, LSU simply does not have the offensive firepower to win games consistently against the top contenders in the SEC, so they'll likely have difficulty getting to eight wins to match their betting total.
Auburn sits deeper down the odds list, and they have a slim chance to win the SEC with one of the most difficult schedules in the country. The Tigers have road games at Penn State, LSU, and Texas A&M and drew Georgia as an opponent from the East division.
There’s value on betting under 7.5 wins for Auburn because they’ll likely be underdogs in all four of the aforementioned games as well as against Alabama. Ole Miss can’t be overlooked either under second-year coach Lane Kiffin.
Though Auburn is a talented team, they come into the season with all new starters at wide receiver, giving Bo Nix limited options in the passing game.
The Tigers simply don’t have the personnel to keep up with all of the offensive juggernauts on their schedule, so under 7.5 wins is the play here.
Arkansas is still rebuilding their program under second-year coach Sam Pittman, and they're probably going to finish last in the West division with one of the most difficult schedules in the country. The Razorbacks could still surprise and finish with over 5.5 wins, though.
They have three winnable games against Group of Five teams, and they also face SEC opponents Auburn, Mississippi State, and Missouri at home (the Missouri game will be played in Little Rock).
Arkansas also returns 19 starters from last year's team that was an underdog in all 10 of their games and won 3.
The Razorbacks have a talented receiver group led by Treylon Burks, who finished fifth in the conference last season in receiving yards. If Burks and the offense can consistently move the chains, their defense (led by preseason all-SEC second teamers Grant Morgan at linebacker and Jalen Catalon at safety) should keep them in enough games to go over their win total.
South Carolina's win total presents some value as well. The Gamecocks will likely be favored in all three of their Group of Five games under first year head coach Shane Beamer. The rest of their schedule is difficult, especially because their other non-conference opponent is Clemson, but Vanderbilt and Tennessee are winnable games for them.
South Carolina doesn’t have the same level of talent as programs such as Georgia and Florida, yet they return productive running back Kevin Harris and most of their offensive line.
An opponent such as Kentucky is certainly better on paper than South Carolina, but new starters on the interior defensive line could give the Wildcats trouble against Harris and company. An upset like that would likely put them above four wins, so bettors would be wise to consider the over.