SEC 2017 Season Betting Preview

With college football’s fall camps in full swing, and the season rapidly approaching, we’re breaking down each of the Power 5 conferences, so that you don’t have to keep track of 10 conferences and 129 different D1 football teams. And hopefully, we’ll help you make a few more bucks this year.

Alabama Crimson Tide

Alabama enters the season as the favorite to win the national championship and the SEC. It’s easy to see why, as Nick Saban and company have made the College Football Playoff every year it has existed and have won the SEC each of the past three seasons.

Alabama fell just sort of winning the big one last year despite entering the championship game with a brand new OC and a freshman quarterback at the helm. The progression of Jalen Hurts will be important but the play of Bo Scarbrough at the end of last season means the now-sophomore has some wiggle room. The offensive line needs to replace the right side and the defensive front seven lost plenty of quality players but that’s par for the course for Saban.

The season win total of 10.5 seems high for the Tide but it shouldn’t concern bettors with ’Bama winning at least 11 games in the past six seasons. Again, you’ll be laying plenty of chalk but betting Alabama to make the playoffs seems like easy money.

Alabama 2017 Betting Odds
National Championship SEC Championship Win Total
+240 -150 10.5 (-200/+160)

Florida Gators

Despite winning back-to-back SEC East crowns and finishing with the second-best record in the conference last season, Florida finds itself with a lot of question marks in 2017. Only three starters return on defense and who gets the start at quarterback is anyone’s guess.

Jim McElwain was brought in to revive a struggling offense but Florida has continued to rely on its defense over the past two seasons. Developing a quarterback will be critical and the job will likely go to Malik Zaire. The Notre Dame transfer looked good in limited appearances in South Bend and fits Florida’s offensive scheme but he has a small sample size, to say the least. The biggest issue facing Florida comes in the secondary, as replacing the duo of Teez Tabor and Quincy Wilson isn’t going to be easy.

I can’t help but feel this team goes over the win total of 8.0 set by books. Yes, there are a lot of holes to fill and questions to be answered but the Gators have a favorable schedule that sees them host LSU, Texas A&M and Florida State with road dates against Mizzou and South Carolina. The offense has the tools – Jordan Scarlett and Antonio Callaway – to win games.

Florida 2017 Betting Odds
National Championship SEC Championship Win Total
+3300 +800 8.0 (-165/+135)

LSU Tigers

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. LSU has one of the best running backs in the country, an elite defense but question marks at quarterback. Yes, Ed Orgeron is now the coach but this team is still very much like the LSU we are used to. However, new offensive coordinator Matt Canada has a track record of turning offenses around in a hurry.

What can Canada get out of Danny Etling? The senior quarterback is the only Tigers signal-caller to have experience at the college level but hasn’t looked like a world-beater by any stretch. Luckily, LSU also has Derrius Guice, who has legitimate Heisman Trophy potential. The running back was absolutely phenomenal last season when pressed into action due to injury and he will excel with some more exotic packages from Canada. The linebacking unit needs some patching up but LSU has always produced prolific tacklers, so it shouldn’t be a big concern.

It’s hard to see the Tigers being able to push themselves into the playoffs this season, as they should expect some growing pains offensively and face a brutal schedule. Of course, the team has winnable games but road dates with Florida, Ole Miss, Alabama and Tennessee should temper expectations. The UNDER 9.0 wins might be worth a look for the value.

LSU 2017 Betting Odds
National Championship SEC Championship Win Total
+2500 +500 9.0 (-125/-105)

Auburn Tigers

There is plenty of optimism in Auburn, as a team that finished 8-5 last season looks to have patched up its biggest problem area. With Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham expected to win the job, Auburn’s passing attack should make massive strides after being a train wreck last season.

The Tigers return the dominant backfield duo of Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson to carry the offense. The tandem combined for 2119 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground last season while averaging 5.4 yards per carry. Stidham will have an experienced receiving group to throw to with four of Auburn’s top five pass catchers from last season returning. Finding replacements for Carl Lawson and Montravius Adams on the defensive line will be critical but watch for Marlon Davidson to aid some of those issues.

Auburn’s season will hinge on a three-game stretch in October and November that will see the team travel to LSU, Arkansas and Texas A&M. The talent and experience level is undeniable for the Tigers and they should be in the mix barring injury concerns. A win total at 8.5 seems modest until you realize Auburn has only won nine or more games twice in the past nine seasons.

Auburn 2017 Betting Odds
National Championship SEC Championship Win Total
+2000 +500 8.5 (-160/+130)

Tennessee Volunteers

Last season was a mix of dizzying highs and staggering lows for Tennessee, which ultimately led the team to a slightly disappointing 9-4 record. Butch Jones is in his important fifth year with the Vols and will need to replace a two-year starting quarterback, an all-purpose monster in the backfield and a dominant defensive end. Jones knows it’s time to put up or shut up, which is likely why he made several changes to his coaching staff during the offseason.

Like so many other teams in the SEC, it’s all about the quarterback position. Quinten Dormady has been the primary backup the past two seasons and looks the part of a quarterback but redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano was highly touted out of high school and offers some impressive mobility. Nearly all the skill positions on offense will need to see at least one player make a big leap. The defense was gashed last season to the tune of 218.5 rushing yards per game and will be moving on without several key defensive linemen.

In case you couldn’t tell, I’m not very high on Tennessee this season. Jones had a great recruiting class but there are too many holes. This team will likely go as far as whoever plays QB will take them, which makes them a risky bet ahead of the season.

Tennessee 2017 Betting Odds
National Championship SEC Championship Win Total
+7500 +2000 7.5 (-125/-105)

Georgia Bulldogs

The hype around Georgia is reaching a fever pitch. Running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel stayed in Athens, quarterback Jacob Eason is expected to make strides and coach Kirby Smart enters his second season at the helm. There is a very real chance that the road through the SEC East runs through Athens.

Georgia’s defense will almost certainly be one of the best in the SEC and the country after returning all but one starter from last season. Though the entire defense should be good, keep your eye on DT Trenton Thompson, who paced the team in sacks and tackles for a loss last season. There is talent galore in the offensive backfield with Chubb, Michel and Eason, but deficiencies on the offensive line and receiver position will need to be hidden.

The Bulldogs have had a tendency to disappoint a lot recently but there is no doubt all the pieces are in place for this team to make a run at the SEC title. Georgia’s schedule is pretty cushy, aside from a date at Auburn, and picking up nine or 10 wins seems entirely possible.

Georgia 2017 Betting Odds
National Championship SEC Championship Win Total
+2500 +700 8.5 (-140/+110)

Texas A&M Aggies

Can the Aggies play a full schedule? Each of the past three seasons has seen Texas A&M come out red-hot only to falter in the second half. It’s hard to be very optimistic about 2017 with inexperience at quarterback, reliance on untested players and no Myles Garrett. If Kevin Sumlin can’t crack the 8-5 mark for the third consecutive season, he may be looking for work.

Start with the positives. Christian Kirk is a stud receiver and running back Trayveon Williams looked like a beast in his freshman campaign. Now, on to everything else. Senior Jake Hubenak, redshirt freshman Nick Starkel and true freshman Kellen Mond are in a somewhat heated quarterback competition, both tackle positions will see new starters and receivers not named “Christian Kirk” rarely made a catch last season. Even as Garrett destroyed opposing quarterbacks last season, it didn’t distract from a run defense that couldn’t tackle and allowed 189.6 rushing yards per game.

Playoffs are out of the question. Winning the SEC is out of the question. Bettors really only need to look at the Aggies win total for futures bets. UNDER 7.0 screams like it is the right choice to me but this program always seems to find a way to win at least eight games a season.

Texas A&M 2017 Betting Odds
National Championship SEC Championship Win Total
+15000 +4000 7.0 (-115/-115)

Mississippi State Bulldogs

Mississippi State took a big step back without Dak Prescott under center in 2016 and ultimately ended up with a 6-7 record. The offense returns almost completely intact and Nick Fitzgerald has legit Heisman potential. The defense is a big question mark with new coordinator Todd Grantham bringing his 3-4 defense with him from Louisville.

If this team is going to be even remotely successful, it will be up to Fitzgerald. He has little in terms of help in the offensive skills department and the offensive line, which wasn’t all that great anyway, is losing three starters. The switch to a more aggressive 3-4 alignment should be helped by several LB/DL hybrids on the roster.

5.5 wins seems low for a team that has won at least six games in seven of Dan Mullen’s eight seasons as coach. Looking at the schedule, Mississippi State should realistically have five wins already chalked up, which means they would just need one more W in their other seven to go OVER.

Mississippi State 2017 Betting Odds
National Championship SEC Championship Win Total
+50000 +7500 5.5 (-155/+125)

South Carolina Gamecocks

Will Muschamp certainly turned lemons into lemonade last season by taking a roster devoid of many talents and molding it into a 6-7 team. Low expectations made the season look like a success but the Gamecocks couldn’t score on offense and the defense couldn’t pressure opposing quarterbacks.

Jake Bentley looks like a legit starting quarterback, maybe the first time Muschamp has ever had that. Deebo Samuel is an intriguing option as a multi-talented receiver but there isn’t much else in skills positions. Or maybe there is; it was hard to tell with a brutal offensive line. Despite recording just 21 sacks last season, the pass rush might get worse without Darius English.

South Carolina is good enough to beat the teams they should and hang around a few games against tougher competition. However, there aren’t a ton of games in 2017 that the Gamecocks “should” win.

South Carolina 2017 Betting Odds
National Championship SEC Championship Win Total
+50000 +10000 5.5 (-140/+110)

Vanderbilt Commodores

If there is any dark horse in the SEC that could tease a shocking run, it is Vanderbilt. Vandy is returning almost all of its starters on both sides of the ball, including stud running back Ralph Webb, and pulled off a couple of big upsets at the end of last season.

The entirety of the offensive skill positions returns, which could be a boon for quarterback Kyle Shurmur, who looked to be improving in the final month of the season last year. The bend-don’t-break defense was one of the best in the red zone last season but will be without All-SEC Zach Cunningham.

As hopeful as I am for Vandy this season, making progress in the SEC isn’t going to come easy. The win total is set at 6.0, which honestly seems about right. Looking at the schedule, I tentatively give Vandy five wins but they are capable of a couple of upsets or duds.

Vanderbilt 2017 Betting Odds
National Championship SEC Championship Win Total
Not Listed +20000 6.0 (+135/-165)

Ole Miss Rebels

Ole Miss finds itself directionless after Hugh Freeze chose to resign instead of being fired following his escort service fiasco. The Rebels are coming off their worst season since 2011. On top of the recent struggles on the field, the Rebels are facing a self-imposed bowl ban following a cavalcade of allegations by the NCAA. With more than a few distractions in Oxford, one has to wonder how Ole Miss will perform this season.

Expect the Rebels to chuck the ball a lot on offense with superstar recruit Shea Patterson under center and new offensive coordinator Phil Longo’s love of airing it out. The O-line and the receiving unit is largely intact and Ole Miss will likely rely on that once again. On defense, it is almost impossible for this team to get worse.​

*Since the departure of Hugh Freeze, books have removed odds for Ole Miss.

Ole MiSS 2017 Betting Odds
National Championship SEC Championship Win Total
No Longer Listed No Longer Listed No Longer Listed

Mizzou Tigers

Mizzou’s offense made huge strides last season, averaging 31.4 ppg compared to 13.6 in 2016. The uptempo spread offense adapted well with the young talent on Mizzou. However, the defense was honestly one of the worst in all of football.

Quarterback Drew Lock, receiver J’Mon Moore and running back Damarea Crockett should form a formidable offensive trio that opposing defenses will struggle with. In terms of Mizzou’s defense, I was taught from a young age that if I didn’t have anything good to say, to not say anything at all.

I’d just avoid the Tigers from a futures perspective. They won’t play defense but they should be able to win a few shootouts throughout the season. That being said, expect them to be a good OVER team.

Mizzou 2017 Betting Odds
National Championship SEC Championship Win Total
+50000 +20000 6.5 (+120/-150)