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Alabama Once Again Favorite to Win SEC Championship

Odds to win the SEC

After an all-SEC national championship game last season, there is little reason to doubt that the conference will be the premier college football powerhouse once again. Of course, the Alabama Crimson Tide find themselves as the favorites at EVEN odds to win the SEC title this season after defeating the Georgia Bulldogs – who own the second-best odds – to claim the national crown.

SEC Betting Favorite: Alabama Crimson Tide

Sure, Alabama watched 12 of its players hear their name called during the NFL draft – but what else is new for Nick Saban. You would be naïve to think that will have any great impact on the Tide this season after Saban and company constantly stack five-star recruits all over the field.

The quarterback competition between Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa is the biggest storyline for outsiders to watch, with plenty of intriguing subplots. Hurts was the presence that guided Alabama to the national title game but he found himself benched for Tagovailoa, who played a ridiculously good half of football to push the team to the pinnacle of the sport. That being said, the biggest issue comes at wide receiver. Bama was not a big passing threat with Hurts at the helm but it was clear Calvin Ridley – now playing on Sundays – will be missed.

Defense is where there is more concern with starters gone from all three levels. Who plays in the secondary is a major question mark after the loss of both their starting safeties and cornerbacks. The raw talent is there and Saban has proven he can take that and form a dynamic nucleus but how long will that take?

At the end of the day, Alabama is going to be Alabama. The Tide have won at least 12 games in eight of the past 10 years. They’ve earned the right to be favorites until proven otherwise.

How Does Georgia Reload?

Georgia was just one half away from being national champions, but a second-half collapse has left more questions than answers. The Bulldogs have talent all over but how does coach Kirby Smart replace the two-headed running back monster of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel? How do you fill the hole left by Roquan Smith’s departure? How can Georgia fill the leadership void with 17 scholarship seniors no longer with the team?

On top of that, there is a low-key quarterback battle despite the excellent play from Jake Fromm last season. Fromm, who was one of the most efficient signal-callers in football in 2017, now has five-star recruit Justin Fields nipping at his heels. Fields was the No. 1 high school recruit in the nation and offers more upside and playmaking ability than Fromm does. For whoever is throwing the ball, finding a new big-bodied target with the departure of Javon Wims will be critical.

Georgia’s dominant passing defense should be in a good spot with the bulk of that unit returning. The Bulldogs ranked eighth in the nation in passing yards allowed, so Smart has little to worry about there. The linebacker unit gives some pause with youngsters expected to start in at least two of the four spots, but it is nothing to be too concerned about.

Personally, I’m not sure what to expect from Georgia. There are plenty of holdovers from last season’s excellent squad but some of the truly elite players are gone. Those holes will not be easy to fill and one needs to wonder how the Bulldogs fare without an elite running game or run stuffer.

Sleeper To Watch: Mizzou Tigers

When Mizzou’s offense was on last season, the Tigers were absolutely unstoppable. During a six-game winning streak to close out the regular season, they averaged 51.3 points per game – never once scoring less than 45. However, when they lost, they averaged a mere 18 ppg.

Quarterback Drew Lock returns for his senior season after pacing the FBS with 44 touchdown passes last season. Top receiver J’Mon Moore might be gone but Lock will be returning both Emanuel Hall and Johnathon Johnson, which should quell any concerns.  

The defense isn’t the sexiest but it will return almost entirely intact from last season. The big boon was getting stud Terry Beckner Jr. to return for his senior season after he proved to be an elite talent on the defensive line.

Mizzou’s schedule is pretty brutal, which is something to be expected in the SEC, but dates against both Georgia and Alabama is terrifying. That being said, if Georgia regresses, the SEC East is suddenly wide open. That’s a mantle that Mizzou can capture and at least make it to the SEC championship game.

2018 SEC College Football Conference Betting Odds
TeamOdds
Alabama Crimson TideEVEN
Georgia Bulldogs+255
Auburn Tigers+700
Mississippi State Bulldogs+1400
Florida Gators+1800
LSU Tigers+2000
Missouri Tigers+3000
South Carolina Gamecocks+3300
Texas A&M Aggies+4000
Tennessee Volunteers+6600
Arkansas Razorbacks+10000
Kentucky Wildcats+10000
Vanderbilt Commodores+15000

Odds as of August 29 at Bovada

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