SEC Championship odds just dropped, and today we’re going to take a look at best bets, worst bets, and a wild card, whose long odds just might be worth a few bucks.
Texas A&M +1200
Ole Miss +4000
South Carolina +10000
Mississippi State +12500
Favored, but should they be?
Despite an exodus of talent in 2022, everyone figured the ‘Dawgs would be hell on wheels again — if for no reason, the offense and interior alone. That was a prescient prediction, as it happens. The offense would finish as the most efficient in the nation, and the lines dominated teams on both sides of the ball. When you couple a solid defensive scheme
Kirby stole from Alabama, and Monken’s eclectic offense that doesn’t ask too much from the quarterbacks besides distributing to mismatch nightmares, and a punishing deep ground game, and another Sisters of the Poor schedule in a trash division, well you have yourself a national title contender.
However, this year there is a lot of pressure on the ‘Dawgs, and some difficult-to-replicate factors no longer weigh in their favor: The team has now lost 37 players to the portal and the NFL in two seasons, including 10 defensive starters from the team Alabama faced just 17 months ago. UGA lost one of the best offensive minds in the game to the NFL, as well as their DC, in the space of 13 months. The Dawgs lost a 25-year-old Super Senior QB with three years of starts under his belt. And, UGA has now turned over 60% of its offensive line. The talent will be stockpiled, and Searcy for sure is better at his job than anyone in the country, but a new QB, a new front seven, a thin offensive line (for now), Road Kirby’s continuous near-misses, and a bit of a tougher conference schedule that sees more heavy lifting done away from Athens is a big, big hurdle to overcome.
They’ll be in Atlanta — no one else in the East is close to them yet. But I doubt they get there undefeated. Still, if I’m a betting man, given the state of the SEC, this is the most talented and stable program left remaining, with the best intact coaching staff. They won’t be a buzzsaw in 2023, but UGA is going to leave the Mercedes Dome with the crown.
Sure, -110 isn’t a great moneymaker, but it is practically free money: Take Georgia.
You are a madman if you throw money anywhere near the LSU Tigers. As expected, Brian Kelly did come in and turn that program around, but it was a 7-5 team of transfers wearing the skinsuit of a 9-win team. It helps when the rest of the West is staggering around, coaching itself out of wins, or enacting palace coups against their own staff.
This year, that road will be a bit tougher for the Whos. For a start, they have to leave Baton Rouge for tougher games — Alabama included; both of the ‘Sip teams; that FSU season opener in Tallahassee is a loss (not relevant to the SEC, but it will be funny to watch); and that trip to CoMo is some Admiral Ackbar shit. Mizzou has been very tough at home under Drink.
The home schedule isn’t a lot easier: much improved Ole Miss and Auburn teams, Aggie, and Gata. I don’t see them running the home slate without a loss, nor of them getting out of the SEC portion of the road schedule without at least two losses. That is especially true with a quarterback who can’t throw, a roster that appears to be based on year-to-year transfers working out, and opposing defensive coordinators not being able to stop QB runs in the final 51 seconds of a game when everyone on earth knows it’s coming.
It’s just +450 — pretty favorable odds, but you’ll throw money away if you take this one. LSU is closer to 8-4 than it is 11-1, 10-2 and division champs.
You could write many of these same things about Tennessee, a team that has both issues of roster depletion and a tougher road. And, at +1400, the Vols are a similar terrible bet.
Best Dark Horse
Texas A&M +1200. Now this is a decent bet.
Aggie has talent — lord knows, as much as they spend, they ought to. And they have some roster stability now, after kicking out some headcases. But, most importantly, they finally have an offense. If Jimbo lets Bobby Petrino cook, these clowns become an instant contender, with outstanding offensive talent already in the cupboard.
Jimbo Fisher has always been the biggest impediment to Jimbo Fisher’s progression as a coach. For a decade, he’s relied on being the bagman and out-talenting teams. That doesn’t work so well in the SEC. Though it will get you close, you still need talent on the sideline. A&M’s pair of coordinators + talent may now be the best in the SEC. It certainly is in West. I’d not be surprised at all to see A&M win the division. Finally.
The schedule is also as forgiving as you can expect for the SEC: Rival Arkansas on a neutral field, hosting ‘Bama / Barn. There are two dicey road trips to Baton Rouge and Knoxville, but none of this is insurmountable.
Like Georgia, I don’t think they pull in there unscathed, but I do think they get to Atlanta at last. And in investment terms, Aggie is greatly undervalued as a 12:1 second-tier underdog. Throw a few bucks at this one. It’s worth it.
What about Alabama?
This isn’t about fandom, it’s about money. My ducats. My greenbacks. My eddies. That paper. And I am not seeing anything from this team that suggests they are special, much less that they ought to have the second-narrowest odds on the board to win the whole shebang.
Search your heart. You know it to be true.
The defense should be very formidable, even with a new scheme. But there are five QBs, four of whom couldn’t win a starting job, and one of whom sucked against an easier schedule. Now, pair that with a new offensive coach who has not proven he’s anything other than JAG, paired with a scheme that will almost certainly keep it closer to the LOS and bunched — the same error BOB made abnegating space for playmakers; the one that drove you nuts. Did I mention those major questions on the interior of both lines.
There are just too many issues to overlook if you’re putting your money down. And you can practically guarantee that one or more of these turds in the punch bowl will cost Alabama one or more times this season too — and probably will keep them from Atlanta, much less winning the SEC. Bad bet, even at just +240. I wouldn’t bet this even if you were paying.
Based on investment only, who’s your favorite to win the SEC
This poll is closed
Other: I am a hopeless dreamer