Super Bowl future wagering is very popular, but in a certain part of the country, the SEC Championship Game is even bigger than the NFL’s main event. With the kickoff to college football fast approaching, we wrap up our look at the Power 5 leagues with a deep dive into the South’s religion. And, after answering the question of whether or not anyone can beat Alabama, check our out previews of the ACC, Big 10, Big XII, and Pac-12. Once you got the lay of the league under your belt, consider our review of the top five sportsbooks, so you’ll know exactly where you’ll want to place your bet.
2017 SEC TITLE FAVORITES
The Crimson Tide won an unusually weak SEC last year. While Alabama went 14-1, dominating Washington before losing to Clemson in the National Championship Game, no other team in the conference finished better than 9-4. The Tide are the only team to have been in the College Football Playoff in each of its three seasons.
Eleven starters are returning for Alabama, including some stud skill position talent. Jalen Hurts (QB), Bo Scarbrough (RB), and Calvin Ridley (WR) are more than enough for any defensive coordinator trying to game plan against them.
The Tide host LSU in November and it would be a shock if they didn’t control their own destiny to the SEC Title Game when they travel to Auburn on the final week of the regular season.
Over 12 seasons, coach Les Miles went 114-34, including 1-1 in National Title Games. Most places will erect a statue for you if you have a resume like that, but in LSU, you’ll get fired. Ed Orgeron, with a career record of 22-29 including his 6-2 mark as the Bayou Bengals interim head coach last year, is the new man in charge. He returns 11 starters and a defense that should be among the nation’s best. As for the offense, expect to see running back Derrius Guice get a lot of work.
A 5-0 start seems very likely against mediocre competition and if the Tigers win at Florida on October 7th, they host Auburn in a huge game the following Saturday. Their trip to Alabama in early November follows a bye week.
Auburn’s most impressive result last year was a season starting loss to Clemson, the eventual National Champ. The Tigers finished with an 8-5 campaign that included wins over LSU and Arkansas and lopsided losses to Texas A&M, Alabama and Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl.
Fifteen starters are back and adding former Baylor quarterback Jarrett Stidham is a major plus. Running backs Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson are dynamic players which out ways the fact that Auburn’s defense is just ok.
Their game at LSU on October 14th is the first of three straight road tests and the team will end the season with three straight at home, capped by a Alabama visit.
Someone will win the SEC East and likely be the sacrificial lamb in the league title game. Not since Florida in 2008 has an Eastern Division team taken the crown. During the eight straight wins by the SEC West, the average margin is 24 points. Georgia profiles as the best in the East with a slim advantage over the Gators. UGA has 17 starters back including virtually the entire defense. Nick Chubb and Sony Michel are a dynamic duo at running back. The Bulldogs do not have to face Alabama or LSU during the regular season.
THE BEST BET
It is impossible based on talent and the recent past to pick anyone from the SEC East. While Auburn should be improved, it’s a big leap to get to the level the Crimson Tide is at. LSU has to play at Alabama, which won’t be easy. Based on 5/8 odds, Alabama has just over a 60-percent chance of winning the league. If they are a 14 to 17 point favorite in the Iron Bowl against Auburn, and then a 21 to 24 point chalk in the SEC Title game, it gives them over an 80-percent chance of winning the league. Remarkably, Alabama laying heavy wood still offers value.