SEC Championship Odds: Can LSU Make It Two in A Row?
There is no question that the national champion LSU Tigers were the best team in the conference last season. But what about this upcoming season? LSU is losing someone special in quarterback Joe Burrow and several other key players along with both coordinators.
Will the Tigers be able to reload? Do they have guys ready to step in and step up?
That is a good question. But, to be fair, it is one that can be asked of every team. Yes, LSU is going to have some holes amongst its starting units this season. Everyone else does as well. So, the question isn’t only whether LSU can restock and do it again but whether someone else will.
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SEC Championship Odds: Roll Tide? Geaux Tigers? Gig ‘em?
Prior to LSU winning it all last season, Alabama had won four of the last five SEC titles. The last time anyone else won back-to-back titles was Tennessee in 1997-98. So, LSU will have a chance to do something unique in the SEC this season if they can repeat.
But they are not expected to. Alabama (SEC Odds: -125), as usual, is favored to win the SEC and not just because they usually do. Mac Jones filled in admirably after Tua Tagovailoa went down. However, he may have some stiff competition in Bryce Young. Losing talent like Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs is going to hurt. But this is Alabama we are talking about.
Saban will have guys ready to step up. With a healthy defense, the Crimson Tide are going to be in the mix once again.
As for the reigning champs, LSU (SEC Odds: +300) has the second-best odds to win the SEC, but there are going to be a lot of questions surrounding the Tigers this year. Myles Brennan is expected to take over for Joe Burrow, but how he’ll measure up is a mystery. Not only that, but the architect behind the offense last season, Joe Brady, is now on the Carolina Panthers staff.
The questions do not stop there, of course. LSU will need a new primary receiver and running back. The offensive line lost three starters, the defense will need some new guys to step up, and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda has left town as well (Baylor head coach).
Change is the name of the game for LSU this season. Change for the better? Will they still be a top-notch team? Who knows.
What Other Teams Are Worth a Shot When Looking at the SEC Odds?
Hopes are high for Georgia (+500) once again, even though Kirby Smart will have to rebuild his offense after losing his quarterback, two of his primary running backs, and four of his offensive linemen. They may need their defense, which has nine starters returning to lead the charge while Jamie Newman (QB transfer from Wake Forest) gets adjusted to the SEC.
Florida (+600) will push the Bulldogs for control of the SEC East. Dan Mullen has done wonders with the Gators since taking the job two seasons ago—and will need to work some serious magic again. His offensive line almost returns intact, but it needs to play better. The same can be said for quarterback Kyle Trask. He was a pleasant surprise last season, but teams will be ready for him this year.
If Mullen can fill the holes in his starting lineup and get everyone on the same page, the Gators could be a real threat this season.
The odds take a bit of a jump once you get outside of the top four. Auburn (+1400) has a promising young quarterback in Bo Nix, but will it have an offensive line that can protect him (four starters need to be replaced).
Oddsmakers see some potential in Texas A&M (SEC Odds: +1600) again. But is it because the talent is really there or because the Aggies backed up the armored truck when it hired Jimbo Fisher, and it is high time that money begins to pay off?
Once the conversation moves past the Aggies, the odds get pretty long. Mississippi State and Tennessee are both listed at +10000. The Bulldogs will be entertaining under new head coach Mike Leach, but they may need a season or two to become competitive.
Jeremy Pruitt has done some good work with the Volunteers and has some talent. But ‘good’ work doesn’t win the SEC.
The Rest of the… Well… Rest… and Your Best Bet for the SEC Championship
The odds for Kentucky, Missouri, Ole Miss, and South Carolina come in at +12500. Like Pruitt, Mark Stoops has done some good work at Kentucky. However, it remains to be seen if he can take the next step.
Will Muschamp could be coaching for his job this season. With all the starters he has to replace, he is going to have his work cut out for him. It will be interesting to see what Lane Kiffin can do with Ole Miss in his first year. Can he take down his former boss when Alabama comes to town in October? Maybe…
Bringing up the rear is Vanderbilt (+25000) and Arkansas (+50000). Razorbacks fans will be happy if their team wins an SEC game, let alone the conference. Fans of the Commodores are probably secretly hoping the team loses so they can get rid of Derek Mason.
So—who should you bet on?
No one will ever fault you for putting money on Alabama. While LSU has a lot of holes to fill, Ed Orgeron will have the Tigers ready to compete. If Jeremy Newman can live up to expectations, Georgia has a real shot. The same can be said for Kyle Trask and the Gators as well as Texas A&M and Jimbo Fisher.
If you don’t at least consider Mike Leach’s Bulldogs or Lane Kiffin’s Rebels, you may regret it. When it comes down to it, the SEC is going to be the SEC once again— the toughest conference in college football and super-competitive.